Tomorrow is the most eagerly anticipated day of my dad’s year—Opening Day for the Winston-Salem Dash. When you’re approaching the century mark (2-1/2 years away), widowed, and have difficulty seeing, hearing, and getting around, most of the best things in life are in the past. Minor league baseball, however, in our beautiful local ballpark, still holds Dad’s interest and gets him charged up.
Making a Commitment
Almost two years ago, on a whim, I told my dad I would take him to all 70 Winston-Salem Dash home baseball games in 2018. I had a theoretical idea of the challenges involved—the physical demands on Dad and the scheduling demands on me. Keeping up with both work and baseball for five months was every bit the stretch I had expected. The rewards, though, were far greater than I had imagined:
I spent a lot more time with Dad than during the off-season. Baseball games last longer than the typical dinner together at home!
Dad and I spent most of our time engaged and talking cause we had current action on the field to discuss. This connection is precious to me!
I actually came to appreciate baseball by learning enough about the game to commentate for Dad (his low vision keeps him from following what is happening on the field).
Full disclosure—Dad only made it to 69 of the 70 games. He chose to miss one game because it conflicted with a Glenn Miller Orchestra concert. I missed a few of the 69 games due to work conflicts. Fortunately my partner Ron made sure Dad got to those games in good company.
This year, an informed commitment
On the eve of Opening Day 2019, I have a much better feel for the magnitude of this commitment. I understand what it will take to free up enough time to take Dad to the ball park. And with Dad a year older and visibly frailer, the logistics will be a more complex puzzle to put together. Maybe he won’t be able to make it through more than a couple of innings each game this season—who knows? Maybe he won’t be able to hear or understand my commentary this year…and we won’t have plays and players to talk over. We’ll see soon. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity to spend another 70 Winston-Salem Dash games with my dad for anything, come what may.
Dad and I are both committed to a 70 game baseball streak this year. I know I can count on him to do his part and Ron will back me up to help me do mine. For us, watching baseball together is a powerful way to demonstrate love.
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