I saw an article today about a little boy at a Texas Rangers game who cried because the people sitting next to him grabbed a foul ball that he was also reaching for. The article went on to say that when a foul ball comes near a kid, it’s not necessarily “theirs,” but it would be nice if you thought of the kid. And if you’re not going to give it to him, at least don’t be such a jerk and so oblivious that you don’t even realize how the people around you are affected.
Attending a professional sporting event as a child is a big deal. Sometimes even a once in a lifetime kind of big deal. Catching a foul ball or something similar is something a little kid would remember forever. I’m not saying adults don’t get excited too, but I just think the magic of a sporting event and being able to bring home a special souvenir like that is really amazing for children.
A few months ago, my family and I attended our first Comets game. They are our local professional indoor soccer team. We had a similar experience with our seatmates.
We found our seats and we noticed we had a family sitting behind us. This family seemed nice enough when we sat down. It was a father, a mother and two middle-school-aged girls who kept making the rounds through the stadium visiting friends in suites. We smiled at one another and sort of nodded the way you do when you’re going to have share the same area for the next hour and a half. They seemed normal enough until the Comets scored their first goal.
The tradition is, the player who scores throws out a couple small, signed plastic soccer balls. The Comets scored and the player threw a ball into the stands and it was coming right towards us. The Hubs stood up and stuck his hand out and he caught the ball. A nice little souvenir for Gomer – our soccer fan. What the Hubs didn’t know was that when he went for the ball so did the dad behind him. The man actually grabbed the Hubs a bit because he started to fall over the seats in his excitement reaching for the ball. He found his footing and we all had a good chuckle until the Hubs handed the ball to Gomer. That’s when the fun stopped. As soon as this couple realized we were going to keep the ball, the woman said, “Heyyyy….that was for me. The guy looked right at me before he threw it. That was mine.” I looked to see if she was teasing, but she was dead serious. “That was for me.” She meant it! Her kids were gone at this point and it was just these two goofballs sitting there glaring at my kid and his freebie. I gave the Hubs a look that said, “HUH?” and he just raised an eyebrow back at me and shook his head slightly. Gomer was looking nervous like we might give his souvenir to the grown lady whining behind him.
We just turned around and ignored them. We continued to watch the game and every time I’d glance behind me, if the woman wasn’t reapplying her lip gloss or re-braiding her adorable loose side braid, I could swear she was looking longingly at the ball in Gomer’s hands. Creepy.
At the half time the team threw some more balls into the crowd. The mascot was throwing them this time. He pointed right at me. Just like braid lady, I thought. I could tell he was saying, “Jen, this one is for you – get ready!” I was ready. Adolpha still needed a ball and I wanted this one. The mascot hit the ball with a racquet and it sailed high up towards the ceiling. I lost the ball in the lights for a moment and then suddenly, I saw it. It was coming right at me! I got my hands up; ready to catch the ball. I watched it come closer and closer to me, it was going to land right in my hands! Almost there…..
The braid lady’s husband had reached over my head and when he realized he couldn’t catch it instead of me, he swatted the ball out of my range and they were both laughing me with a sort of “In your face” kind of thing!!
The ball fell several rows in front of me and a grown man (a gentleman) caught it and realized a child would enjoy it more than him so he tossed to the young boy sitting near him.
I turned around and gave braid lady and her husband a look that said, That’s how it’s done, you idiots!
What about you? Would you keep a ball or give it to a kid nearby?
Be sure to read my daily rants at People I Want to Punch in the Throat where you’re sure to laugh and/or might be offended (it’s where you can find my R-rated rants).
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