7.23.2013

Me, Mini-Me and the Reds

Usually the hum of living - work, playing with our daughter, relaxing, yard work, streaming Netflix late at night, putting food on the table - keeps me happy and pushing forward to the next day.

Other times, the reality of how fast life is going hits me hard. I might still feel like the fresh-faced 9-year-old taking in a game at Riverfront Stadium in the summer of '78; then I get a notice that some old classmates are meeting in my hometown for a 27-year class reunion. Yeah, 27. Odd, huh?

Wasn't it just a few months ago when I watched the Big Red Machine take on the Dodgers in a twi-night doubleheader - with Bench, Morgan, Rose, the Daveys (Concepcion and Lopes), Garvey, Penguin and others holding court?

Not according to the face in my mirror. Not mine, I have a life-size present-day Cesar Geronimo photo taped on the wall opposite my mirror.
Thankfully, my daughter, six years old next week, helps keep me feeling young (when she's not making me feel much older than my 44 years, 11 months with the piggy back rides, "bucking bronco" game and ongoing shoulder carrying requests).

She likes to tease me about my baseball cards but she's taken an interest in my collection and baseball in general. Because of this, last September for one of our Daddy-Daughter weekends we left my wife behind and headed to Cincinnati for my daughter's first game - a battle with the old rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

My wife scheduled it weeks in advance and I thought maybe, just maybe, it would be a playoff clincher. Well, the Reds clinched the night before, thus many starters were rested for the game we saw. But Votto played and we saw Homer Bailey's (startbeforehis) no-hitter!!! (What, not as interesting? Well, I like to think that my daughter brought him some good luck.)

We sat several rows behind home plate - splurging on a section that has a private bathroom area and where waiters come and take your order. I wanted her to have a great view of the action too.

The Reds lost but it didn't diminish the experience and the fun she had. She really enjoyed actually watching the game (almost as much as the popcorn and cotton candy). Speaking of which, I was up for Dad of the year feeding my daughter cotton candy at about midnight. In my defense, the game had been scheduled for 1 p.m. until ESPN two weeks before chose it as their Sunday night Game of the Week.

More recently, on Father's Day last month, my daughter and I stole away for another Daddy-Daughter adventure. More hotel pool time and another Reds game - a win against the Brewers this time. More popcorn and cotton candy too, naturally.

We walked away with a giveaway Reds gym bag (for me) and a Rosie Reds doll for mini-me. It joins the Brandon Phillips doll she desperately wanted (and, of course, received) at the game last fall.

Ah, she's delightfully quirky.

The reality I know is that while I think she enjoys the game and ambiance, she's quite possibly already indulging me a bit as I share my passion. She sees what makes me smile and wants to talk to me about it and be a part of it. That's a pretty great feeling for a Dad.

One day, I hope she holds dear the memories (many still to come) at the ballpark with dear ol' Dad.

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