Eighty-one Days of Joy

It seems like only yesterday that I was eagerly awaiting delivery of our season tickets that would signify our troop readiness to PLAYCON 5. I remember fondly carefully opening that package and seeing the booklet that contained tickets for each home game of the 2007 season. I reverently turned each page admiring the artwork and tried to imagine what each game would be like. At that time September 23 seemed like an eternity away. So many things could occur over the course of 81 home games and I held in my hand the keys to those dreams. Each of those tickets was special and represented a chance to be a part of history. You never know what may occur when you enter through the turnstiles. This may be the night you witness a perfect game or an unassisted triple play. It may be a night where a rookie makes his big league debut or it may be a farewell game to a player you have followed his whole career. This ticket booklet held all the hopes and dreams of the 2007 baseball season that would play out at Chase Field and these 81 pieces of paper guaranteed I would be able to be a part of that.

As the season unfolded, so did my ticket book. Before each game I would retrieve the booklet and carefully remove a ticket placing it in the pocket of my seat cushion before leaving for the game. For the first few games the level of excitement overcame everything. It was the beginning of a new season; one filled with a lot of hope. As the season wore on the tickets continued to be removed. There were special games like April 9 for the home opener against the Cincinnati Reds. There was the return of Randy Johnson on April 24 against the Padres. Dakota celebrated his birthday at the ballpark with his dad on April 27 as we watched the Diamondbacks beat the Giants. We could never forget May 8 when Eric Byrnes and Tony Clark launched monster home runs against the Phillies. I celebrated my 26th wedding anniversary with Trina while watching the Diamondbacks play the Devil Rays and Tiffany celebrated her birthday at Chase Field with a game against the Orioles. I shared games with my oldest daughter Ashley when she returned home to visit. Our family was in attendance for each of the bobble head games and has the nodding player figurines displayed prominently in our house (despite the objections by Trina). We have suffered in each defeat and rejoiced in each victory.

Today I reached for the ticket books as I have done for the past six months. I opened the cover to find one remaining ticket. It looked so lonely there all by itself. It represented one last dream. One last opportunity to potentially see history made. One last time to share the game I love with one of my children. It was with a mixture of feelings that I removed that last ticket. On one hand it represented the last home game of the season. The last time I would watch this team in person during the regular season. The last time until next April that I would see these players play in the regular season. On the other hand this ticket represented the joy of going to a baseball game. The joy of sharing my love of the game with the ones I love. The joy of watching the unknown become known. The joy of being a part of the last crowd at Chase Field for this regular season; adding my voice to thousands of others to cheer on this team that has given us the priceless memories from the 2007 season.

I slid the tickets into the pocket of my seat cushion and walked towards the door for the final time this season. It has been a magical time; one that I wish would never end. Hopefully there will be more baseball this season. Hopefully the hard work the team has given will be rewarded with a berth to the play-offs. If not I will be content with the memories I have gotten from the past 81 games.

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