As I puked on the sidewalk in front of my neighborhood theater, I realized I had come to the end of a life stage of “Going to the Game.” It didn’t bother me a whole lot, and I was happy to leave it behind. I didn’t know what the next stage was, I only knew it would involve the Yankees.
Today on The Chad News Bears, “The Life Stages of Going to the Game.” We all know the first stage, we did it as kids. We got taken to the game by our family or friends. Maybe we played baseball, maybe we didn’t, but we all knew that excitement of “Going to the Game.”
I did that as a kid too, but I grew up in tiny fishing villages a million miles away from Major League Baseball. My games were all local. I knew all the players. They were friends of my Dad’s. The Yankees lived on television. New York may as well have been on another planet.
After the “Childhood Stage” comes the “Party Stage.” Now, “Going to the Game” is —WOOOOOOO! Sorry, going to the game — NOMAR, YOU SUCK! Uh, where was I? Oh yeah, we were going to the game to— Hey Beer Guy! Two here! Ooooh, Molson Canadian! I like that imported stuff!
Now, see, I didn’t get to see a live MLB game until I was 24-years-old. So I kinda had to do some catching up on the “Childhood Stage” of “Going to the Game.” Maybe you remember how big Yankee Stadium seemed, or whichever ballpark you visited. It was magic, it really was.
So while everyone else my age was in full blown “Party Stage”, there was me, sitting there with a goofy grin and wide eyes full of wonder. I sure didn’t come off as cool, but I didn’t care. I had waited all my life to sit in Yankee Stadium, and I was going to soak it all up.
Then I left New York, and ended up in Toronto, and I hit the “Party Stage” hard. My buddies and I would hit the sauce by 11 am, earlier if it was a day game. Everything was WOOOOOOO and YANKEES and general douchebaggery.
And the day came that I drove the porcelain bus. I ralphed. I chundered. I did the liquid laugh. I did the technicolor yawn. Right in front of everyone too. People still razz me about it. Instead of “Party Stage”, I found myself in “Get the Hell Home and Go to Bed Stage.” Not nearly as fun.
So, yeah, those days were fun, but they are behind me. The game is for family now. My wife, my Dad, my in-laws, my close friends. I might visit “Party Stage” again briefly if I’m “Going to the Game” with the guys, but now there’s only one guy I want to go with.
Liam will make his first trip to Yankee Stadium this summer. He’s just old enough now that he can form memories, and I want to give him some great ones. Maybe he won’t like baseball once he’s older, and that’s okay. Right now he’s young enough to think that everything his mother and I do is awesome, and that’s good enough.
That’s why I call this the “Family Stage.” You don’t need kids to enjoy it, or parents, or even family. Friends do just fine. You’re old enough to carry a “been there, done that” attitude, and that’s enough. “Going to the Game” gives you a warm glow, like sunlight on a cornfield.
Yeah, I know, schmaltzy as hell, but bite me, it’s true alright?
I’m happy I had the stages I did, even if my “Childhood Stage” happened later in life. I get to make up for it by giving my boy his own “Childhood Stage”, and that’s even better. Liam’s family has already tricked him out with a ton of Yankees gear, so he will fit right in.
A new season, a new stage, the Circle of Life.
HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA SOWHENYA MAMABEEESABABAY!
Great, now I have the Lion King stuck in my head.