One of the great things about Father’s Day is that it happens right in the middle of the baseball season. And this year not only are the Diamondbacks playing but they are playing at Chase Field. So when Trina and the kids asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate I thought it was one of those rhetorical questions. From the looks on their faces, I think the kids thought Trina was kidding too when she asked. Maybe this was one of those tests that they give you to determine your level of sanity. I believe that if I would have answered in any way other than “go to Chase Field and watch the Diamondbacks”, I probably would have been committed to some sort of home for the helplessly insane (I think some people call that Tropicana Field). So it was pretty much settled that I would like to go to a game. Straws were drawn to determine who would have to accompany me. Seriously, can you believe that? I have come to the conclusion that it is not that they are not baseball fans. Quite the contrary, each of them loves the game. I think the issue is that they have to go to the game with their dad. There is not a whole lot more humbling than to hear your kids try to talk each other into someone else going to the game with dad. I’m not exactly sure what I did to deserve that; ok maybe I do know but I promised not to write about it.
Sundays at Chase Field are typically designated as kid’s day meaning that most of the activities and all of the stadium giveaways are focused on kids 12 and younger. I’ve written at length about how unfair this is and I have lodged numerous complaints as we entered the stadium when they would not give me one of the cool giveaways. Oh hey wait, do you think that might be part of the reason why the kids don’t want to be seen at the game with me? Naaaa…
At today’s game the giveaway is not one oriented to kids. Instead the Diamondbacks are giving out Diamondbacks neckties to the first 5,000 fathers through the gate. I probably should start by saying that I think I have an allergy to neckties or pretty much any formal attire. To me dressing up means that I have to wear socks with my jeans and polo shirt. I can’t tell you how many discussions Trina and I have had about whether Levis are an appropriate way to dress for church. Perhaps a Diamondbacks tie would help me to change my mind and begin dressing in a way that the family would actually allow me to sit on the same bench as them when we attend church. Like many Diamondbacks fans I wondered how the team would determine which guests were fathers and which were guys without kids. A call down to the Diamondbacks validated my worst fears. The team was leaving it up to the individual ticket takers to determine who was a father. Yeah that can’t be good. I needed to make sure I had the proper documentation to show my fatherhood if I were going to ensure that I would get one of these ties.
I gathered what information I thought would best show my qualifications as a father. There was our wedding picture showing Trina and I. [Note to self: NEVER comment how old your wife looks now versus what she looked on her wedding day!] I collected pictures from the hospital when each child was born. I also took one of the kids birth certificates just in case anyone questioned whether the boy with me was my son or just some kid I rented for the day. Finally I took Dakota. I figured having an actual child would definitely increase my chances. Besides, he lost the straw thing so his sisters were off the hook.
We went down to Chase Field arriving just as the doors to the stadium were opened. There were quite a few people standing outside and I wondered how many of them were here to see the Roger Clyne concert. As we reached the turnstile I had all of my documentation in hand just in case there was a question of my father qualifications. Instead I walked through the gate and was immediately handed a tie in a really cool box. Wow, that was easy. Dakota was following behind me and he too entered the stadium gate. He held his hand out for a giveaway but was told that today’s prize was only for fathers. “What? But today is Sunday and Sunday is always kid’s day” was Dakota’s reply. The keeper of the ties again explained that only fathers were able to get the giveaway today. Dakota stood there in shock being denied a hand out on a Sunday. He put on his best sad puppy dog look and smiled asking nicely but again he was denied. Dakota took another approach and tried to explain that he really was a father. There was a pet fish at home that looked up to him as a father. There were also his qualifications of caring for several bobble heads which he thought of as his children. Again his arguments fell on deaf ears and ultimately he walked away from the gate empty handed. That has to be the ultimate Father’s Day gift for me. After all this time of Dakota holding me hostage for the various kid giveaways; the shoe was finally on the other foot. I am not normally a vindictive person but I have to admit that this felt pretty sweet. But my joy and gloating was very short lived. After asking him how it felt to know what I go through every other Sunday game Dakota simply stated, “But dad, you are old and won’t be alive much longer and when you are gone I get all the Diamondbacks stuff anyways.” Well that’s a pretty sobering thought. I hope in my decrepit state I am able to get down the steps to reach our seats without some assistance. I’d hate to fall and break a hip or something. I think my mother’s curse has come true. When I was growing up she always used to threaten me saying, “Someday you’ll get married and have kids. I hope you get a boy that acts just like you, it would serve you right.” Now I see that curse is alive and well in a 10-year old boy.