So if you follow me on social media, you know I have been posting a lot about baseball, having recently gone to games at two new stadiums (bringing my total to 12) in my quest to see a game at all 30 active MLB ballparks. I will never forget my very first MLB games with my dad to see our favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, at the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. We saw two games on this family trip to Atlanta and as the story goes, I fell asleep on my dad at both games. I also remember buying a shirt together at a street vendor after the game. Good times, good memories.
Here is my list of stadiums in order of how I enjoyed them.
1. Fenway Park
2. Wrigley Field
3. Camden Yards
4. Busch Stadium
5. Globe Life Park
6. Dodger Stadium
7. Minute Maid Park
8. Coors Field
9. Safeco Field
10. Chase Field
11. Kauffman Stadium
12. Turner Field (and Atlanta Fulton County Stadium).
I have had the joy of going to all of these stadiums to see baseball games with family, friends, and loved ones. There have been many rich conversations, lots of laughter, and beautiful moments of gratitude. There has been one exception, Camden Yards.
When I went to Camden Yards, I was still working for Adventure’s in Missions and was going to help facilite a week long mission trip in Alexandria, VA. I flew up to Baltimore a day early to catch a game so I went by myself. As much as I love the game, the stadium, the atmosphere, and the experience, I learned very quickly it’s who I am with that makes the experience so meaningful, not just the stadium where I am seeing a game. Sure, I struck up conversations with fellow fans, the ushers, and others at the stadium but it just wasn’t the same.
I think we all have the deep, fundamental desire to know others and to be known for who we truly are. When I attend a game with Heather, my dad, and other family and friends, I am with people who I am sharing in the journey of life with. They know my joys, my fears, and my deepest longings.
So while I enjoyed crossing another stadium off my list yesterday, it was sharing this experience with my brother in law Caleb, one of my best friend since we were 15 years old that gave it richer meaning. We have spent hours and hours taking, laughing, and reflecting on our journey together. Two weeks ago in Los Angeles with Heather, it was a celebration of life and partnership and the transition of life seasons as we prepare to welcome our little girl into the world in August.
So yes, I will always love baseball and the stadium experience but the deeper feeling is that of gratitude for those in my life I share the experience with. For my family, friends, and loved ones, whoever you are and wherever you are I say “thanks be to God.”