In my 6th grade English class, Mrs. B. sent us home with an assignment on the very first day. Divide a piece of paper into 9 segments, and write something about yourself in each: family, hobbies, awards, goals… And please decorate it since we’ll hang them on the walls for Back-To-School Night.
I sat at our kitchen table later that afternoon with some pretzels and a chocolate chips cookie, slowly filling out each category. I first wrote my responses in pencil, then traced over them with a black ballpoint pen. After erasing the stray marks, I sketched a rainbow bulls-eye over the entire page with my freshly sharpened colored pencils.
While my mom checked in periodically as I labored over the assignment, my dad arrived home after I finished. I ran up to him as he put down his briefcase, and I wiggled the paper at him.
“Look Daddy! Look what I did! Did you read my goals yet?” I bounced up and down like a rubber ball.
“Hang on sweetie, just one second… Okay.” He paused before smiling at me. “You want to see all 30 MLB stadiums with me?”
So that evening, Dad and I made a promise to visit every Major League Baseball stadium together over the course of our lifetime. Yes, I was only 11, but we still started planning and settled on some rules.
- We had to keep the tickets and take pictures for my MLB scrapbook.
- I had to keep a scorecard at every game as the “Official Record” of our visit.
- If any team built a new stadium, we had to see that one too.
- We always had to root for the home team unless they were playing the Oakland A’s or San Francisco Giants. (We’re from Northern California—gotta stay true to our boys!)
We’ve flown, driven, and subway-ed across the majority of the country, trying to see at least one new ballpark each year. Daddy always encourages me to select a souvenir from each stadium, so my old bedroom at their house is completely filled with t-shirts, caps, stuffed animals, and miniature plastic ice cream sundae helmets. (I eat one of those at almost every game!)
Bright and early on Friday morning, we’ll head to the airport for a 5-hour flight to the East Coast. In just 4 days, we’ll see 3 teams play—the Phillies, Orioles, and Nationals—and I’m positively giddy with excitement, just like a kid on Christmas morning! Walking around a new stadium sends a shiver down my spine, and my smile grows wider than a clown’s when watching warm-ups and batting practice.
But before we visit Stadiums #20, 21, and 22 (and fill up on ice cream sundae helmets!), I’ll want to eat a healthy breakfast. Since hotels charge an arm and a leg for room service, I planned ahead and packed my own. I mixed up four different muesli blends, each incredibly easy to make. They’re sweet from the fruit and earthy from the oats, but those flavors balance each other out perfectly. And as long as I find a spoon and a glass of milk, I’ll be all set!