by Drew Holmes
On a recent trip to Boston to visit my family, I took Sam, age 3, to his first baseball game at Fenway Park. When we arrived and found our seats, the usher came over and told me that after the game kids would be allowed to run the bases. Having been to games with small children before, I had no expectation of staying for the full nine innings but filed it away under “would be nice” in my brain.
Sammy made it to the fifth inning with no problems, and (with the help of ice cream) the sixth. Then he started asking about singing “Take me Out to the Ball Game” which I explained would happen in the seventh, so he was looking forward to that. Then we sang a Fenway staple, “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth. Suddenly it looked like he may last the whole game!
Years ago in college, one of my music professors started a wind ensemble. I did not have room in my schedule for additional credit hours, so I knew that this was not a group I was going to join. Besides, I was an orchestral trumpet player now. Band was what I did in high school.
I was practicing at the music building one night shortly after I had made this decision. I was just leaving the practice room when I ran into the professor on my way out.
“You’re here!” she said. “Quick, grab some stands and bring them over to the other building!”
I had lost track of time and had inadvertently been at the music building at the exact moment she was setting up for rehearsal. At that point there was no way to bow out gracefully, so I attended that first rehearsal. And then the next one. And the one after that. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed playing in band and being a part of that fledgling group rekindled my excitement for playing that repertoire. I was immediately made trumpet section leader and played with that group until graduation two years later. Going with the flow and being open to something new changed my college experience for the better and helped establish a new ensemble on campus.
Back at Fenway, my mind raced to remember where the usher had said to go to run the bases. We made our way toward the concourse under the bleachers (mostly just following people with small children) and eventually had our turn to get on the field.
I could not believe it. As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I have been to many games at Fenway. But to stand not only on the field, but on the actual infield dirt was something I had never even dreamed of. I hope Sammy will remember that day and how he got to do something extra special in his first baseball game. I know I will tell him all about how he missed every base on the way around and how he was more interested in digging in the dirt than running. I am thankful for having the opportunity to share that with him.
By being open to new experiences outside of what was planned or expected, we made a memory that will last a lifetime.