My father was very strict growing up. He really put his foot down when it came to what my brother and I could and could not do. He wanted us to be such model citizens that sometimes I think he forgot to show his affection. It always came as a surprise whenever my Dad decided to do something with us but when he did it made me feel like the happiest kid ever.
The night before my 13th birthday I'd been reading the newspaper and saw that there was a doubleheader going on at the local minor league park. I nonchalantly brought it up to my Dad that it might be fun to go not even expecting that he'd possibly take us. Surprisingly, he asked what time the games started. All I remember was that whatever time I mentioned it was within at least the next half hour. So he said, "Lets go."
I was so ecstatic to be going to a game. I professional baseball team the night before my 13th birthday. I had been to only one other minor league game in my lifetime at that point so going to my second one was like walking into Yankee Stadium. I took in the ballpark and enjoyed the fun, kid amenities. I sat through the first game and watched and watched. I was hoping for the ultimate prize, a foul ball souvenir. No luck through the first game.
Second game was going and it was getting late. I remember it being late because I didn't realize how long a doubleheader could be. Anyways, while sitting in my exact assigned seat I remember seeing the ball foul back towards the higher seats we were sitting at. I remember the ball hit the seats and a bunch of us kids attacked the ball like candy that had just fallen out of a pinata. There was my chance. The ball was just sitting there. I dove for the ball in between the seats and smothered it. I was so elated that I felt like I was smothering that ball for half an hour. I finally got up and raised the ball up in my hand and the crowd around me clapped. I looked at my Dad and he smiled.
I was the happiest almost 13 year old that night. My Dad took me to something I enjoyed. I got the ultimate souvenir. I recently revisited home as I live across the country now and went to the local ballpark to attend a game. I sat just down below from where I caught that ball that night. I shared the story with my wife. That feeling that night as a young 13 year old was one of the best feelings I ever felt and I can thank no one other than my loving father.