Please, Don't Take Me Out To The Ball Game

We went to a Pirates game on Friday night, and by some really weird stroke of stupidity, I said, "you know what? I think that sounds like fun. Maybe I'll go this year, too."

I'm just not into sports, guys. I know some of you just can't fathom that, but it's the truth. I can watch football live because there's action, but I don't understand it. (I know. I KNOW.) Hockey is fun live, too. Baseball, however, is a major snoozefest. But I figured that I could chat, catch up on Words With Friends games, and take the opportunity to properly photograph the family at a baseball game. It would be fun, because I would make it so.

And because the Stupid Stick wasn't done beating me, it came back for another round. I also said, "Why have we always sent Micah to grandma's for games? He'd probably enjoy it." So we took Micah, too.

If I find that Stupid Stick, I'm going to break it into a bajillion pieces and burn every single one of them.

We found our seats on the 3rd deck of PNC Park (which is the highest that it'll go), and sat down to enjoy the game. Except Micah, who decided that ball games just weren't his cup of tea. He started fussing. And holding his ears. And whimpering pitifully. And then just cried. And I waited it out because surely he'd see that everyone else was having a good time, and the noise wasn't really that loud, and there were no costumed characters (that he saw) nor strobing lights nor loud music (yet), so he'd realize we weren't trying to make him sit through something we know he hates. He'd realize that it was just a crowd gathered to watch a snoozefest, with occasional cheering and dancing. He likes cheering and dancing. He'd have a good time. But he just didn't stop fussing. The kind couple beside us cast sympathetic glances our way, and I felt bad for interrupting their good time. The man in front of us was wondering what he did to be cursed with us as bleachermates. He shot a few glares our way, and I kind of wanted to spit in his drink because really? You think we WANT our kid to act like this? We're not only suffering with a screaming boy here, but now also dealing with schmucks like you, buddy.

So after 15 minutes, I realized Micah just wasn't going to settle down and enjoy the game. I did the only thing I could to preserve our sanity. I took him out. Except the park has a no reentry policy, which totally bites. They do, however, have wheelchair accessible ramps to get to the third deck where we were. Micah and I walked down those spiral ramps to the street level, milled around a bit, watched the game standing behind those seats, and then walked back up. Five times. For three hours. Occasionally we sat at a table for a few minutes to rest, and we hit the playground up for 5 minutes before he declared himself bored of that.

It started out as one of the worst nights of my life. I cursed the Stupid Stick that made me think it was a super fabulous idea to have a good time at a baseball snoozefest. I cursed the tree that grew the Stupid Stick for planting the idea in my head that Micah would enjoy the game.

The poor boy's autistic tendencies were in full swing from stress, and he made routines to find comfort in. On the way down the ramp, he had to walk on the far right side. On the way up the ramp, he had to walk in the center, following the crack in the pavers. If someone was in his way, it added to his stress. He had to cover both ears when the stadium cheered. He had to walk quickly down and slowly back up. These things had to happen. He had to ask if it was all done every time we reached street level again. He fussed every time I told him it just wasn't done yet, despite the fact that we both wanted it to be.

On our many trips up and down the ramps, we saw some colorful people. Sometimes that was literal, like the Santa Claus we saw. Authentic white beard? Check. Kindly face and bright smile when he saw kids? Check? Belly like a bowlful of jelly? Check. Fur suit trimmed in white? Check. Except his was yellow and white, because we're in Pittsburgh. And by the time we met him, Micah was calmed enough to be thrilled and gave him a high five. (But not calmed enough to sit and watch the game. That never happened. For 3 hours.) The people dressed as pirates to watch a Pirates game. I loved those people. The guys who had a t-shirt launched into their beer at the pizza parlor. We all laughed about that. And the kind security guard on the second level who stopped me near the end of the game to apologize for such a long and bad night that I was having, as if it were her fault in any way.

The last 15 minutes of the game I forced Micah to sit in our hated seats, because he declared that he was tired, and I concurred. The kindly couple beside us were glad to see him back, and said they were hoping he'd calm down because some of their fondest memories of childhood were watching ball games. They wanted that for him as well. Micah stopped fussing long enough to dance when it was dance time, and the kindly couple clapped for him in rhythm to the music, smiling broadly.

It may have been the longest 3 hours of my life (and despite running 10 miles last week, my legs were like jello at the end of those 3 hours), but it turned out to be a far better evening than I feared it would be. Walking for 3 hours with Micah's hand in mine was the sweetest thing ever. That boy is just too big to hold his mama's hand any more. And far too independent. And no matter where we are, it seems that kindly people always outnumber the schmucks that we encounter. And I love that so hard.

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