Throwback Thursday: Words and World Series

world series
Eric on the day we bought our Cardinals’ tickets (The black eye was courtesy of a collision with Sam in the moon bounce.)

In the process of consolidating my writing spaces, I’ve discovered some items that I want to make sure I have in this space. I’ve decided to share them again as “Throwback Thursday” posts, but some are as relevant today as the day I first wrote them.  You can read the other posts here, here, or here. I first shared this post on October 27, 2006.

As I sit down to write tonight, the St. Louis Cardinals are leading the Detroit Tigers 4-2 in the fifth game of the 2006 World Series. If the Cardinals hold on for three more outs, they’ll be World Series Champions, and Eric will be the happiest eight-year-old living within 30 miles of Memphis. Eric is crazy about baseball, especially the Cardinals. Things could be worse; he could be consumers figure skating.

At best, I am a casual baseball fan though that may be giving myself too much credit. I root for the Cardinals but mostly because it’s my civic duty. Our local baseball team, the Memphis Redbirds, is a St. Louis Cardinals’ affiliate. If I picked a favorite team to support, I’d select the Boston Red Sox. Boston has a wonderful baseball tradition, and Fenway Park is the perfect place to watch again. Eric, however, loves the Cardinals, and I want to be a good dad and a good citizen, so “Go Cardinals!” (Sorry, Burchett Family, I’ll cheer for all the Michigan teams tomorrow.)

Eric has been talking about driving up to St. Louis for a Cardinals game for a couple of years now. Consequently, last spring Pop and I decided to take Sam and Eric to St. Louis to take in a game. Eric was thrilled. However, the problem was securing tickets.

This spring St. Louis opened the newly renovated Busch Stadium, and every Cardinal fan within a 500-mile radius of the city made plans to attend a game. We were a little late in making plans, and I feared Eric’s disappointment if I could get tickets. After hours of online frustration, I decided my best hope was to purchase tickets on eBay. I began my bidding on Good Friday for an auction scheduled to end late Easter Sunday. He hung over my shoulder every time I check the status of my bid. I had to get that boy to Cardinals’ game.

Easter Sunday was a busy day. Debbie had bought Hawaiian shirts for the boys that resembled one of mine, so we all wore them to worship. After services for lunch, we search for eggs inflated our house. The younger boys and I napped. Then, we traveled across town to my parents’ house for Easter dinner and another big egg hunt. We had a fantastic time, but Eric and I were slightly distracted wondering how the auction was progressing.

They returned home pretty late for school night at 8:45. The auction closed at 9:00 PM. Eric raced upstairs to press for bed while I sat down to view our bidding status. He Returned a few minutes later just as I realized I been outbid; only a few minutes remained to proffer a higher sum.

Eric dragged up the stool and deposited himself behind me asking,”Did we get the Cardinals’ tickets, Dad?”

“No, Eric. I’m sorry, but we got outbid. It looks like someone else is going to get the tickets.”

“Damn,” he declared, Is my eight-year-old shook his head and slapped his knees and disgust.

I almost burst. If I’d been drinking, the liquid would have shot out my nose. .Tears started surfacing as I was trying to laughter. After a brief moment, I gathered my poise and posed, “Excuse me? What did you say?” as if I hadn’t heard him.

“Damn.” He answered sincerely, expressing no fear or shame whatsoever.

Again, I had to suppress my muse meant. He said it was such resolution.

“Eric, do you know what that word means?” I was Still shocked by his audacity.

“It’s whatcha say when yer disappointed,” He explained slowly catching on to Melissa concern. I had sufficiently suppressed my crow.

“Well, it’s not what we say,” I explained. “Eric, that’s not a nice thing to say. In fact, it’s a really ugly thing to say. I’d like for you not to say it anymore, okay? It doesn’t make you sound like the sweet boy that I know you are, okay?”

“Okay.” I could see the remorse rising in his eyes. He’s a tenderhearted kid; he hates disappointing anyone. I can relate.

“It’s okay, Eric. You didn’t know. Just don’t say it again, all right? Hey, where did  you hear that word anyway.” He was obviously relieved.

Debbie and I have since joked about how comical it would’ve been if Eric had revealed his Grammy to be the offender (it would’ve been entirely out of character for her). Oh, the mileage I could have gained from that revelation. In truth, the culprits were actually among his first-grade peers.

After our discussion and Eric was off to bed, I went back to my computer and raised my bid until I was confident the tickets were his. That boy needed to see the Cardinals play. So that’s what we did.

Pop, our friend Cliff, the two boys, and I saw the Cardinals face the Braves on July 18. The game wasn’t great for the home team as the Braves defeated St. Louis 14-5. Eric what’s crushed, but He still hasn’t stopped talking about The trip. He’s been planning another adventure since the day we returned. I love seeing him so excited about the trip. It’s satisfying as a parent to bring your child such joy.

I’m reminded of something Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11, NIV). I want my kids to have everything good in this life, and I try to provide for their every need. And yet, my eagerness to bless my children is nothing compared to God’s desire to favor me.

I just checked. The Cardinals have won the World Series, and I can’t help smiling. Eric will be so pleased when he wakes up in the morning.