I can’t think of baseball, but especially the L.A. Dodgers, without thinking of my grandfather (or as we called him, Papa). He passed away 17 years ago as of late last night (April Fool’s Day), although the paperwork says April 2. Anyway, no need to digress into that story. The point is that I used to be a huge baseball fan. My first memories of baseball were going to Dodger games with my grandparents as a young child. Although I don’t follow sports as much as I used to it’s still a great memory for me.
Yesterday, Opening Day for MLB (which happen to be my initials too), I was working from home so I had Sammy. When I got up yesterday morning I didn’t really think anything of April 1st being the anniversary of my Papa’s passing or Opening Day. I started seeing a few people post on Facebook that the game between the Giants and Dodgers was starting so I decided to turn it on and see if I got into it or not.
Turns out I kind of did. Not into it like a rowdy sports fanatic, instead more like someone that enjoyed having it on in the background. As the game progressed I could remember being in that stadium hundreds of times over the decades. I could remember how I felt as a little kid walking through there and everything seemed so big. I could remember the smell of Dodger dogs and peanuts. I could remember the echo down the long corridors and the excitement that a young boy feels at a place like that.
As those memories came flooding back I thought more about Papa. There was not sadness necessarily; the feelings were more just content thoughts of a really cool life I had with him. Those thoughts then turned to Sammy. I imagined being in a room with only Papa, Sammy, and myself…it made me smile thinking how Papa would be with Sammy.
Baseball, even though I don’t love it like I used to, still gives me a thrill because of the memories. I remember those baseball games with Papa and I know there will be a day when I get to take Sammy to his first baseball game. I imagine I will get a little teary eyed. Those moments with Papa at those many baseball games filled me up. They were happy times. My eyes as big as they could be and I know Papa would just sit and watch me and how I reacted to the noise, the game, the smells, and the rest of that environment.
I’m going to have that with Sammy. It’s one of those amazing full circle life moments. If I’m lucky, one day I will have that with Sammy’s kids. To be able to carry on the legacy of what those moments meant and give those moments to another child…words cannot express. I am finding that this is what life is about.
I thought the car I drove or the house I lived in mattered…it doesn’t. Even though I was on a path of understanding this prior to Sammy arriving in this world, he certainly has been a catalyst for wanting deeper understanding. It’s funny how many things have come full circle in the short time Sammy has been here. I want to do better and I hope to be able to give this little dude some of those amazing memories. I hope one day he sits down and can write about those times…those memories…and how much they meant to him. If I do my job right…he will.