Last June, the family and I flew to Washington D.C. with the in-laws for about a week. My father-in-law wanted to see the WWII Memorial and the trip was a birthday present given to him by his three daughters about four years ago.
Prior to us arriving in D.C., I had checked the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles' schedules to see if there was going to be a home game I could take my daughters to. I am one of those fathers that feels spending time with your kids goes a long way. Who knows, they may not be so reluctant to change my diaper some day.
A ball game is a good way for them to have stories to tell later in life. Another way to bond. It is not something my father and I did when I was younger but what the hell. I have no plans to be like my father. But that is another saga in and of itself.
I was born and raised in Atlanta. I am still a Braves fan. I was a fan well before the 90's. Just my luck. The Braves were going to be playing the Orioles for a three game weekend series while we were in D.C. My plan was to rent a car and take the girls to the Saturday night game. I lived in D.C. for three years and had never been to an Orioles game. This should be fun. I like baseball and they like the cotton candy, peanuts, hot dogs, dippin' dots and cold beer.
Come Saturday, we had already been in D.C. for four days. We had walked all over the place. Went to many a museums. Accidentally met Congressman Putnam from Florida. That's another story. Had a private tour of the Capital. There was one thing that kept happening on a daily basis while we were out and about. My cell phone would fall off of my shorts pocket. I would wear the plaid shorts with no belt to hook the clip to so I had to clip the phone to my pocket. Well the slightest bump would cause the phone to fall off and on to the ground or where ever gravity decided to take the thing. This would usually happen as I was going up or down stairs or escalators. Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce. Both my girls would tell me, "Daddy you need to put your phone in your pocket before you lose or break it." Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I am your daddy. I know what I am doing. They both just laughed as if they were some kind of clairvoyants.
Back to the game. We took the Metro to Reagan Airport to get the rental car. All was well. I tried to get us to the stadium based on memory. When I say memory, it was from looking at Mapquest on the computer two weeks ago. No GPS system in the car. But hey I am Daddy. I know where I am doing. I factored in an additional hours time just as a "getting lost" cushion. I drove north on the interstate and then took the wrong exit. Well I knew it was the wrong exit only after I got on it. I played it off as showing the girls where I used to live. "Daddy. You used to live in an embassy." Why yes I did. Well back on the right highway.
Getting to the stadium turned out to be very easy. Baltimore/Washington Parkway north til it ended at the stadium. Membership Privileges got me an upfront parking spot. Bought cheap tix at the gate. Front row of the upperdeck along the third base line. Cheap tickets mean more money available for the little ones to buy food to occupy their time while I watch the game. Yippy.
Not a bad view from the picture I provided.During the game, there was a young couple to our left that had put their camera on the wall just below the railing. Now what do you think happened. The camera demon somehow caused the camera to fall over the edge. Me and the girls look over and see this rather bad-ass looking bald guy rubbing his head as if he had just been hit by a falling object. This object just happened to be the couple's camera. The girl is leaning over and yelling sorry and offering to buy the guy a beer or name her first born after him. The security lady is recovering her camera and calming the guy down. I tell the girls, while laughing, that that is the reason you don't put stuff on the wall. I see the security lady give back the camera to the girl and give her a stern talking to. Can you see where this story is going since it was my girls that wanted me to tell it.
The eighth inning has arrived and the Braves are getting clobbered. Time to leave and beat the....weather. We start to walk up the stairs and what happens. My cell phone, that is not in my pocket, bumps the hand rail and falls off my shorts. It was just like the movies when it all happens in slow motion. My phone starts bouncing down the stairs. Now my daughters are right behind me kind of providing a human shield for my phone. You would think my phone was Moses and my girls were the Red Sea because they just moved right out of the way and watched gravity play havoc with my phone. Bounce. Bounce. Phone separates from holder. Bounce. Phone and battery separate. Bounce. Battery goes over the wall and down below. Oh crap. I could have sworn the ball players were actually watching my phone fall as well. A big ooooh from the crowd.
I run down to the wall and look over to see where my phone landed. There is this bald guy rubbing his head and looking up at me. The same bald guy that already caught a camera with his head.We catch each others eyes and he is not too happy. Great. Whose laughing now. I yell down using the same lines that the girl used earlier. The same security lady was holding my battery and looking up at me. I yell down at the guy that it was an accident. Someone else in the crowd says, "Yeah. It wasn't like you threw your phone down there. Well you didn't did you."
I grab the girls and tell them that I need to go get the battery for my phone. They are both just laughing and saying told you daddy to put your phone in your pocket. I had a crisis on my hand at the moment and was in no laughing mood. I thought I may have to fight some dude for my battery or worst yet....Morgan and Morgan. They were both also saying they needed to go to the bathroom real bad. Now all that laughing will make you pee in your pants. I told them to hold it because I needed to get the battery. While I was going down a level, the security lady was coming up a level. We eventually crossed paths. She gave me my battery. I told her the story which she started to believe until she caught site of both my girls laughing. Now who is getting the stern talking to. Great again.
The girls could not understand the seriousness of the situation. They enjoyed seeing their father, as they called it, panicking. I told them I was not panicking. I was trying to avoid a bad situation. Now if I were at the game with the fellas that would be different. I would have already had 3-6 beers in me and probably would not have known the phone went over the ledge. Needless to say we made it out of there unharmed. The girls were able to go to the bathroom and my phone worked.
I have since got a new phone with a better clip but we have not been to another ball game. And when we do, I will put my phone in my pocket just for them. I enjoy hearing the girls tell this story. Each time it gets better and better. Funnier and funnier. The phone falls from higher and higher. I don't mind being the brunt of their funny stories. At least I am part of a good story they can tell.