My mom loves baseball. Being a Southern California girl, her favorite team is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mine too.
I’ve been to dozens of games since I was a teenager. My husband, two daughters, and I do our best to make Dodger games an annual summer tradition.
But Mom had never been. Until the past couple of years, I didn’t even know how much she wanted to go. She’d say, “The only time I’ve ever been to Dodger Stadium was years ago to see the Pope!” But never for baseball.
So… this past March for her 83rd birthday, my husband Alex and I surprised her with Dodger tickets. To top it off, our daughters gave her a Dodger T-shirt to wear for the occasion. To say she was thrilled is an understatement. She couldn’t stop smiling. She beamed. I loved how she expressed how she felt: “I feel so ALIVE!”
We couldn’t wait to take her.
The big day was 5/27, Memorial Day. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets. Game time: 5:10pm.
We picked Mom up and she was all dolled up for the game, complete with her new Dodger shirt, Dodger cap, jeans, and tennis shoes. Her excitement was infectious. It was like taking a kid to Disneyland for the first time. The wonder, magic, and surprise of it all.
My 90-year-old dad follows baseball too, but he preferred to stay home and watch the game on TV. He bought himself a big bag of Dodger peanuts and planned to make hot dogs, “all in the comfort of my own home.”
After not-too-bad LA traffic, we arrived. As we walked into the stadium, planes in formation roared by, in honor of Memorial Day. Mom was in awe of the huge crowd, the enormous stadium.
Our seats were field level, just past first base. Mom couldn’t believe that the players she followed on TV were right there. So close! Her favorite, Clayton Kershaw, was the starting pitcher. She was excited to see her other favs, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger.
There’s something about being at a baseball game. The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the energy, the enthusiasm. The cheering, clapping. The smell of hot dogs, pop corn, peanuts, and beer. Watching replays on the enormous Jumbotron. Being part of “the wave.” Standing for the seventh-inning stretch, singing “God Bless America” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
We were hoping for a good game, but never thought we’d get a GREAT game. With more than thirty hits, it was super exciting from start to finish. And yes, the Dodgers won, 9-5.
Mom talked about the game the whole way home. The next day, she told me she was so “amped-up,” she had a really hard time falling asleep.
It felt amazing that Alex and I were able to give her that feeling, that experience. We helped her check something off her bucket list.
I didn’t think about this at the time — but honestly, I got to check it off my bucket list.