If you want to create memories with your kids, finding a common interest is key. Many of the memories created with my dad involved sports. One thing we did consistently, from as far back as I can remember, was spend days at the ballpark. It was fun and always left us excited about doing it again. Now I am looking forward to repeating it with my kids.
It doesn’t matter if your common interest is a day at the ballpark or something else. Any day, any tradition, any time spent with your kids can be memorable and beneficial to your relationship. Below are some of the things I remember from our days at the ballpark and why. Use the list below to make your day fun and very memorable for you and your kids.
1. Go to batting practice.
We liked to get to the games early to watch batting practice. Batting practice was a time we’d look for our favorite players, try to get close enough to get a good picture, or even an autograph. In order to do so, we had to be there really early. Even though baseball games were long and we knew we’d be there for a while, this was important to us. During your day, do and experience everything you possibly can.
2. Smell and eat the hot dogs.
I am no longer a hot dog eater, and I am certain those hot dogs were not the healthiest or best tasting. However, I remember always wanting them and enjoying each bite. Breaking bread and enjoying a meal together seems to bring people together. During your day with your kids, find a food or drink to enjoy together.
3. Root for your team.
The games are fun. But they are more fun when you have a team to root for, and someone rooting with you. Being on the same team and hoping for a certain outcome with your dad brings you closer. Knowing he is happy when you are happy, and sad when you are sad, helps you relate better. During your day with your kids, set a goal and work together to reach it.
4. Make time to talk.
Baseball is a slow game. This left plenty of time to talk and for my dad to point out various things happening in the game and around the ballpark. If I didn’t understand a play, he would take time to explain it. As I got older, I was able to point things out to him. During your day with your kids, make conversation and teaching important.
5. Enjoy the 7th inning stretch.
Most ballparks play the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning. It is a baseball tradition in itself. It served as that final break prior to the last few innings of the game when it got most exciting if the game was close. You knew it was coming, and you knew it signaled the game was coming to a close soon. During your day, take a break and look to finish with a bang.
6. Get player autographs.
Getting an autograph is a big deal. My dad always did everything he could to give us the opportunity to meet the players and get their autographs. No matter how unlikely it seemed, he would wait, and wait, and wait. He showed us that he was willing to go the extra mile for us. During your day with your kids, go the extra mile.
7. Try to catch foul balls.
Baseball may be the only sport that several fans get to go home with a game ball. We would bring our baseball gloves in hopes of catching a foul ball. The thought of taking a “piece” of the game home with me was exciting. Before your day, create excitement and anticipation of it being a great experience.
8. Take home souvenirs.
The team hat. The official jersey. The small wooden bat. All of those things added to the fun. And they served as a reminder of our day at the ballpark. When I wore or played with those souvenirs we got, it brought those feelings, sounds, tastes, and smells back to me. My dad still has a model of Crosley Field (Cincinnati Reds stadium) as a reminder of the games he went to with his dad. During your day, remember to keep something to remind you of the fun you had together.
9. Replay the game at home.
Of course, when we got home we wanted to replay all the plays we witnessed at the ballpark. We’d replay the home run we saw, the great catch, and even the mascot doing something funny. After your day is over, make sure you reflect on the time spent together.
10. Agree to do it again.
We enjoyed each and every moment of our day at the ballpark. We took home souvenirs, we looked forward to replaying exciting plays, we got excited every time a foul ball was hit anywhere remotely near our seats. It was all great. So great, in fact, that we always looked forward to doing it again the next time. Agree to have your day over and over again.
Huddle Up Question
“What is one thing we’ve done together that you’d really like to do again and again and again?”