BEHIND THE PLATE: Sisters experience first pro game together
Her eyes wondered with amazement.
Never in her short, 9-month life had she seen something so spectacular, so extraordinary. This man-made architecture towered over the freeway as it welcomed thousands to the entertainers’ 49th performance of the year. People were decked out in green and yellow with a few dressing to the extreme to show off their undying passion and love for this group of nobodies that is starting bring relevancy back to the East Bay. This was no water circus with funny, bright costumes and dolphins or an animated adventure about overcoming adversity and conquering challenges.
This was the real thing and the wonderment bestowed on her eyes elevated the specialness and uniqueness of watching these kinds of performances. They are experiences worth cherishing forever.
We took her older sister, Kyra, to her first professional baseball game during Opening Weekend after the Giants won their first World Series since moving to California. Add a change of scenery two years later and no battle with colic or reflux, and 2013 presented itself as the opportune time to take Arabella to her first game.
With the Athletics continuing their surprising summer run last year, the family, including my father, a.k.a. Granddad, visited the Coliseum for the time together. It was a bunch of firsts for everyone involved from Arabella’s first professional game to Kyra’s first A’s game to the first time my wife and I saw a game in Oakland for the first time.
Nothing could replace the memory from two years when we took Kyra to her first game, along with Grandad and Uncle Dave. The Giants’ stadium is breathtaking and energetic that now houses a world champion. The team is exciting to watch with all the homegrown talent but off to the other side of the bay is a team the country is starting to pay attention to like it did 10 years ago when Oakland broke the AL winning streak at 20 games.
To adults, the Coliseum is run-down, in need of upgrades and could do with a demolition and relocation of the two teams it features. But to these two little girls, with Kyra approaching the 4-year mark, this nearly 50-year-old stadium has the same effect as the Roman Coliseum on adults.
It’s memorizing, daunting, exciting, full of history. It’s everything you would expect it to be and then some more. Their star-gazed eyes were full of awe as we sat in the value deck behind home plate and as soon as the stadium music chimed in, their ears tuned in even more.
The loud cheering and excitement caught their attention after the Angels miscommunicated in the outfield on two different occasions to allow the A’s to come back from a five-run deficit. From the vendor shouting out for lemonades to the music cueing everyone to start clapping to a certain rhythm, Arabella and Kyra were hooked, loving their first game together as sisters while watching America’s favorite pastime and their daddy’s favorite sport. Arabella sat with her Granddad for about half of the game as she rekindled memories from when he took his family to Candlestick.
The experience of these girls and their first game together with their parents and Granddad can never be duplicated. Of course, it can be repeated but it’s memories like these first encounters that make parenting worth every second of changing those awful diapers, dealing with the countless temper-tantrums and conquering the many teething battles.
My father made it his duty to treat his kids at least one game during the season when we were in high school. My first game came when I was 3 and the two of us watched the Cubbies play the Giants at Candlestick, while my brother experienced his first when he was 5. My sister wasn’t interested but the whole family saw the Giants clinch the West in 1997.
Although some summers made it difficult, his willingness to experience these moments with his family made me look forward to treating my girls with the same devotion and love. And he was able to experience it again, both times with his grandchildren as we cheered for our childhood teams.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.