There’s this guy named Jacob who is riding his bike across the US and back to all 30 MLB stadiums to raise money and awareness for hearing loss and kids who need cochlear implants. Jacob lost his hearing when he was 9 and has a cochlear implant. (Read all about Jacob and donate to his cause.) Jacob was riding through St. Louis and going to a Cardinals game – the same Cardinals that are so near and dear to my heart. If you haven’t met me, I’m a major Cardinals fan. So, we bought tickets in the Jacob’s Ride section. All three schools for the deaf in the area sold tickets to raise money. We had a group of 300. It was going to be our first family trip to the ballpark. We had high, high dreams. Lofty aspirations of our first family ballgame.
We decided that since we were going to be wearing the Jacob’s Ride t-shirts, we would all wear Cardinals hats. The only problem was that Anna didn’t have a Cardinals hat. So, we ventured out to find her one. A purple one, in fact, per her request. Oddly enough, we actually found one. She actually gasped when she saw it in the store. I figured it was a no-brainer that she would wear it during the game. Wrong. She took it off as soon as we got to the stadium. Figures.
We got there early because Jacob was going to be meeting fans before the pre-game ceremony and we wanted to meet him.
Turns out that Jacob was meeting people outside the stadium and we were already inside. A minor detail that wasn’t passed along. So, we opted to head down to the field to watch batting practice and possibly get a ball. The ball didn’t happen, but some adorable pictures that are currently being printed for framing did.
Anna knew we had peanuts in our bag, so she was repeatedly asking for them. Instead, we headed up to find some food for dinner. We ended up running into some friends and shared a table for dinner. After dinner, we made our way up to the seats. It was really neat to see all the different kids and families that have been affected by hearing loss. Luke has no clue that his ears are any different at this point, but it’s nice for him to be around other kids with fancy ears.
Even though we had eaten dinner, the kids immediately wanted snacks once we got to our seats. Isn’t that always the case? We had told Anna about cotton candy (fatal error on our part), so she insisted on a huge bag. Luke opted for Cracker Jacks. The two methodically ate their snacks and were quiet. I thought, maybe we can handle this. And then I thought, what’s going to happen when the snacks run out? Over my dead body was I shelling out more money for treats that night. Ballpark food has gotten absurd.
Eventually the inevitable happened and the snacks were gone. They started getting a little squirly – walking between the seats and talking to the people around us. We did our best to entertain them. At that point, I had no clue what was going on with the game. I would look up and realize that the score had changed. It was the most oblivious I’ve ever been at a Cardinals game.
The natives were getting really restless at this point. For a time perspective – it was the bottom of the third. Anna was playing with a friend in front of us and she had a partially filled bottle of water. She hit the bottle in just the right spot that the water came shooting out and sprayed the 3 rows in front of us. Now, it’s always embarrassing when something like that happens. But, when the crowd you are with is full of people wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants (that usually can’t get wet) it makes you want to fall through a hole on the spot. Several moms turned around and gave me their best eat shit look. I profusely apologized and disciplined Anna, but they weren’t happy. One even made the ‘that’s not cool’ comment. I was mortified. They kept looking back to get in more glaring stares. Because I couldn’t fall through my chair and die, we opted to go walk around a little bit. We weren’t making any friends by sitting there…
We ended up at the Build-A-Bear inside the stadium. We decided to get a Fredbird (the Cardinals mascot) to commemorate our first family trip to the stadium. After we made it through that hotbox with Fredbird in hand, the kids were starting to lose their minds. Anna was upset about something and was claiming that her arm hurt. She was in full on hysterics. Luke was happy, but insisted on not holding my hand. That won’t fly in a huge crowd of people. So, we opted to head to the car. The only issue was that we were on the exact opposite side of the stadium from our car. Stadiums aren’t exactly tiny. We started hoofing it, and walked and walked and walked. I felt like a pack mule with all the bags and crap I was hauling. Plus, my grip was so tight on Luke’s hand that my fingers were going numb. Fourteen years three gallons of tears later, we made it to the parking garage. We opted to jump on the elevator to get to our level. A nice older couple (read: been there, done that) was on there with us. They took one look at us and started laughing. Clearly our frustration from our failed attempt at a family trip to the ballpark was all over our faces. We reeked of defeat.
We ended up driving home and putting the kids to bed. Alex and I watched the remainder of the game (and it ended up being a REALLY good game) from our living room. Maybe next time will be better…