Priceless Baseball Opening Day Memories

Opening Day of the baseball season, here we come!

For me, this is a marker of a new season that’s beginning. Not just a new baseball season, but the “Season”. By this, I mean that it’s milestone that tells us that warmer weather and summer fun is on the way. Here in the Chicago area, it’s a big deal, after the cold winters – especially this year, with the epic storm that battered the area in February. Summer here is a true celebration, people that have moved here from other places across the country remark how great the season locally is because everyone’s so excited.

Anyway, being a sports fan, this reminds me of a time when I shelled out some cash, took a chance, and went to the Opening Day game in Chicago. It was well worth the money.

I was a high school junior, 17 years old, and we went to see the White Sox at the old Comiskey Park. It was torn down 20 years ago, but I still have many childhood/teen memories of the grand old place from an era long past. Including that season opener.

It was a risk because it was on a school day.  You just couldn’t skip a day of school to go see a game. But we did it, and what a time it was.

We sat in the left field upper deck of the ancient ballpark, and watched the opener. It was kind of chilly, I remember that, but the seasons were clearly changing. Just being at the ballpark on opening day, with some buddies while in high school was great. Thinking of all the history at the old park, which opened in 1910, added to the aura of the afternoon. Lots of opening days too place there, and generations of fans had been going to old Comiskey Park for almost 80 years to see the White Sox. It was great to be a part of one.

What’s funny is that even though I’m a big fan, I don’t even remember who won that day. What I do remember was being a young guy going to the storied old ballpark on Opening Day, taking in all the sights, sounds, and even the smells (good ole ballpark fare).

Also interesting is that even though I tend to think of money more than many people (probably an understatement), I have no idea how much it cost to go to that game. It was probably a big expenditure to see that game, for me at that age. After all, I hadn’t even had my first summer job yet. But clearly I didn’t care much. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the memories even more. Can’t wait to take my own kids to ballgames, thought no skipping school will be allowed:)

Sometimes it’s so worth it to just spend the money, seize the moment, and go do what it is you want to do. Not always, but once in a while. If you pick carefully, those times can be priceless. In fact, like me, you won’t even remember or care about the costs involved.

My Questions for You:

  1. Have you ever splurged to go to a big sporting event? Actually, let’s make it any live show, be it game, play, show, etc.
  2. Since it’s the week of Opening Day, tell us – what’s your favorite baseball team?

Vuvuzelas – The Low-Cost World Cup Buzz!

The World Cup is taking the globe by storm, as it always does every 4 years. While it’s still growing in interest here in my home country, the U.S., it’s The Big Event for many countries around the world.

As an American, I did not grow up following international soccer, and had no idea how popular it was until the year 2000, when I happened to be in France during the Euro Cup. It was a coincidence, as I had never heard of the Euro Cup. That changed quickly, as when atop the Eiffel Tower late one evening, I heard a huge roar sweep across Paris – then another a short while later. As I came down the elevator and left the Eiffel Tower to find a Metro station to go back to my budget hotel, I encountered cars honking horns, people yelling Vive La France!, and eventually rioting. I heard someone saying, in English, that France had tied the game with a late goal, and then won it in overtime. Hence, the two loud roars.

I had to run into a cafe for shelter as bottles were thrown in the street by the rioters, and police with shields charging in the middle of it. Considering I had no idea any kind of soccer tournament was even being played, it was quite a first hand introduction to international soccer mania!

This brings me to 2010. I caught a little bit of the World Cup on television, and noticed this loud, buzzing noise in the background. It was constant, and just didn’t stop for the time I was watching. BUZZZZZZZ!

Intrigued, I did some research and found that the buzzing noise came from a contraption called a Vuvuzela. These things are basically plastic horns that fans blow in unison to create the constant, streaming, buzzing sound that we hear while watching these games. It’s considered to be an essential part of the stadium experience while watching soccer in South Africa.

These things have created quite a stir in this year’s World Cup. There are many people who want them banned, as they feel that they’re distracting to the players and television audience. This has inflamed many people.

Of course I had to see how much these things cost. A quick search found them going for between approximately $7.50 to $12.00 each, excluding any shipping costs.

So inexpensive, yet so impactful. What a beautiful thing:)

I would like one of these. Maybe they’ll catch on here in the US, and I could buy one at the mall. Who knows?

I could just see it now….going to the mall, searching for bargains while the vuvuzelas are blaring in the background. BUZZZZZZZ! For many cutting, deal obsessed, penny pinching people out there, frugality is practically a sport anyway!

One more thing: as for the people wanting these banned, I say lighten up! They add a unique flavor to the whole World Cup experience.