In New York City, today’s buzz is centering around the Yankees Opening Day game against the Detroit Tigers at 1:05pm. Despite the rain and cold temps, die-hard fans of all ages are psyched to see their team start a new season. Some of the parents in my child’s school are taking their kids to the game while other parents say they wouldn’t let their child take a day off just for a baseball game when they can go on the weekend.
Missing school is hard for kids. With the amount of work my children get each day, when they miss a day, they miss a LOT. But kids get sick and it’s often necessary. However, sometimes, missing school isn’t absolutely necessary, but warranted. I’m a big believer in mental health days, long before it was debated in The New York Times’ Motherlode column.
Since my kids began school, I have let them take off one day each year for absolutely no reason. It’s up to them when they take it, but they only get one day. In addition, there have been times when they haven’t slept well, had an extremely busy day, or just were going through an emotional situation, and I let them stay home. Is that really horrifying? My kids are honor students and if their grades were suffering, I would probably rethink my stance but I don’t think missing a day or two, a couple times a year, will have any long lasting impact.
If we were fortunate enough to have tickets to today’s opening game, you better believe we’d all go. I have one daughter who is a Yankees fan, another who is a Mets fan, and my son jumps back and forth depending on the day. Sometimes doing something out of the ordinary, even if it means missing school, creates a long lasting childhood memory. What kid wouldn’t remember that and recall it with fondness long into adulthood?
When I was 13, I was obsessed with the NY Mets, so much so that I would stay home to watch every Mets game I could in those pre-DVR days. When they won the World Series, I was beyond ecstatic and my mother let me stay home to go to the ticker tape parade the next day. The excitement in the city and at seeing the players roll down the streets of lower Manhattan is something that I will never forget. That day holds one of my favorite tween memories: seeing Keith Hernandez up close and personal and watching him wave to me. In my early adolescence, that one moment alone was all I had hoped for, and it still brings a smile to my face when I recall it now.
There are five other opening day games today: Braves at Nationals at 1:05 p.m.; Brewers at Reds at 2:10 p.m.; Angels at Royals at 4:10 p.m.; Padres at Cardinals at 4:15 p.m.; and the defending World Series champion Giants at the rival Dodgers at 8 p.m. in the ESPN Opening Night game. The other eleven opening games take place tomorrow. So these two days are big for pint-sized (and adult) fans. Joe DiMaggio summed up opening day this way:“You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.”
School days come and go, missed homework gets made up, and tests will always be there, but knowing that you are cared for and considered (not only in the big ways, but the small ones as well, like when you just need a day home with mom or it is your favorite team’s opening day) is a feeling that I hope my kids remember from his childhood, along with some life lessons…that they are more important to me than regulations, that life is not always black and white, and that rules are sometimes meant to be broken.
So today, I say Play Ball! (And pray that the rain holds up!)