I took my kids to a minor league baseball game tonight for the first time.
We enjoyed ourselves — ball park food, kids zone with a bounce house prior to the start of the game, and the Star Spangled Banner.
Ain’t that America?
It was just what we needed after feeling sad this week.
Once the game started the kids were fairly interested, but mostly in looking over the railing onto the field and giving me a heart attack should a foul ball come flying our way. I took a sip of my beer and tried to relax.
They were entertained until the end of the fifth inning when I knew it was time to pack it in and head home. On our way out of the stadium, I noticed a car driving on the field in between innings that was promoting some big giveaway.
As I pointed out the car to the kids, who were immediately interested, we stopped on the walkway and crouched down behind some seats in front of the concession stands that were directly behind home plate.
Then suddenly, and I mean suddenly, a man on the back of the car shot a t-shirt into the crowd through one of those big guns that catapults giveaways into the crowd. Not only that, but the t-shirt was headed right for us.
I didn’t know what to do.
I have never, ever caught anything at a sporting event (and I have been to many), won anything, or been chosen for anything in my life and here I was about to make history.
I freaked out.
And then I got a huge adrenaline rush when I realized the shirt was about to hit me right in the face.
I held out my hands all crazily to make the catch.
And I missed.
The t-shirt dropped to the ground.
That shirt was mine, and I wanted to give it to my son who whooped loudly when he realized we had a chance.
I had to act fast.
And just as I bent down and laid my hands on the shirt by my feet, about to claim victory, two more hands went in for the prize.
It quickly became a tug-of-war between me and I don’t know who else.
Then I looked up at I-don’t-know-who-else to size him up – I pegged him for about 10 years old, dark hair, baseball cap, glasses, glove-on-hand.
I looked at him.
He looked at me.
And then do you know what?
I almost growled at him. I am not even kidding. I almost growled.
That shirt was mine, no questions asked, and he was about to interfere with my victory.
Then suddenly, and just as suddenly as I saw the t-shirt catapulting through the air toward me, I let go. I gave in.
I mean, I kind of had to.
Here I am a 35 year-old mom for god’s sake in a tug-of-war match with a kid at a minor league baseball game.
With the t-shirt safely in his glove, he disappeared into the sea of people behind us and it was over.
That was, until I met a nice couple to my right who saw the whole thing go down. Let’s call the nice couple, Bob and Mary. I have no idea what their names were, but let’s go with Bob and Mary.
Mary said, “Wow, that shirt was all yours and he took it from you.”
I said, “I know! I mean I wanted that shirt for my kid, but I felt like I had to let go because the thief was a kid.”
She said, “I don’t know if I would have had that self-control.”
Bob contributed, “All my life growing up I took my baseball glove to baseball games, and I always went home empty-handed. You shouldn’t be going home empty-handed tonight, he should.”
“I know,” I said again, “That kid totally robbed me!”
I continued, “And the thing is, I could have won you know,” I said with true grit in my mind as I pondered whether or not I made the right decision.
At this point, Bob and Mary were my pals, my team, my people. They emulated with me about the injustice that just went down, and I loved them for it.
My son stared at me in awe and sort of had this my-mom-is-so-crazy look on his face that also kind of said dang-my-mom-is-so-crazy-she-almost-took-that-kid-down-for-me.
At the end of the day, obviously I made the right choice. I just wish the kid-thief would have paid it forward and given it to my smaller kid.
After further contemplation on my end, and in effort to look at both sides of the coin, I considered if I was the thief’s mom and decided I would have been (a.) proud of my son’s stellar display of aggression, and (b.) made him give the t-shirt to the little kid.
If ever in this situation again though, I already decided I am going to brush aside all reason and go for the win.
Hey kid, that was my t-shirt!