A fond memory of my childhood was going to sports events with my father. Dad had season tickets to the local basketball and football teams, and we had neighbors who gave us tickets to go to the occasional baseball game. As a result, I spent a lot of time seeing sports live – the way they’re really meant to be seen – and… well, given that I grew up further north than where I live now, a lot of the football, therefore, was outside in the winter, bundled down in a seat and cheering on my team, and as a relatively neurotypical child, I could easily handle being out there in the cold and crowd for a few hours.
I’ll be honest though and say that I don’t know how my dad put up with us when I was that age – there were three of us, and we probably fidgeted way too much in the cold, insisting constantly on hot chocolate, pretzels, knishes (oh lord, I wish they had knishes here at the stadium, but…) and things to keep us warm. I don’t ever remember leaving a game early, but we definitely spent more than a few cold, wet, miserable Sundays watching our team…
Now, granted, football tickets are expensive, and with a child with special needs, I’ve other things that we prioritize higher to spend our money on. (Yes, that includes vacations.) And we do go to the occasional baseball game as part of our meandering about to the minor leagues, but let’s be honest – $10 for a baseball game is not a huge lift on the budget. Football… is a bit pricier.
But, you know, there’s still the part of me that wants to give my kids that experience. There’s something to be said for not letting a child’s situation prevent you from doing normally where possible… and there’s nothing really that keeps us from taking the children to a game, save for the expense. (Well, that and that I don’t think R would pay attention for 3 hours to a football game – it’s hard enough to get him to pay attention to a baseball game, or while we’re curling, but that’s five year olds for you.)
About a month and a half ago, one of my contacts at the Arc Baltimore asked if I’d like to take the Monster to a football game – they have a donor who gave them a pair of tickets to two different games. Now, the first game was a Monday night – not a good idea at all for a child who normally goes to bed by 7:30, more so on a school night – but the other is the upcoming Saturday afternoon before Christmas at 4:30 PM. (Thank goodness for the NFL deciding to play on the Saturday before Christmas, eh?) And… well, it’s hard to say ‘I can’t do that’ until I’ve not tried.
So…. next Saturday, I’m taking the Monster to his first-ever football game.
I’m sitting here this evening getting ready for it, by looking at some of the rules and whatnot, seeing how things’ve changed since I was a child going to football games, and figuring out what I can do to make my life easier while we’re there. Aside from the fact that I don’t have to drive down (we can take light rail to the stadium), I’m finding that I’m allowed to bring food and drinks in my transparent bag, and he can bring his iPad so… assuming I can bundle him down enough to not be miserable in the cold, I’m thinking this is very, very doable.
Wish us luck, and I’ll report back after.