a “guest” post from daddy (hopefully more of these to come!):
Sunday, September 2, 2012….the day I had been waiting almost a year for. From nearly a year ago with my wife injecting hormones in hope for a successful pregnancy from the parked car at a tailgate at Commonwealth Stadium, to taking our little man to his first game, the time had come. It was going to be perfect…or was it. Lets just say that I will never name a child Isaac.
As long as I can remember, I have been a Louisville Cardinals fan. There was a brief era, in second grade, when I succumbed to peer pressure and bought a pair of “wildcats” shoes and spent $1 in the school bookstore on a spiral notebook that had a raised pattern on the cover that would create a wildcat when tracing your pencil across…c’mon, we all have our weak moments. Save that time, I have had #1, a love, borderline obsession, for the Louisville Cardinals and #2, secondary to #1, a hatred for the UK Wildcats. I remember going to games with my dad, many times just the 2 of us. I remember the 1980 championship game when the Cards won their first NCAA title. I was at THE dream game in 1983. But for the last few years, with all of our struggles to become parents, I would have traded it all for the chance to take MY son to a game.
He was born June 11, 2012. I had all of the “gear” that he would need for this first game from the day he was born. He had a basketball autographed by Dr Dunkenstein (if you have to ask who this is, you have likely already quit reading), had his picture featured on the card chronicle, and met our next lottery pick, Chane Behanan, but he had yet to go to a game or to “experience” a tailgate. We planned it carefully. Friends were invited. A new tent and a new pack’n’play were purchased. The menu and drinks were decided upon and an itinerary with a map for parking emailed to all of those planning to attend. And then HE came…Isaac. Not the biggest storm ever. Not the most destructive storm ever. But by far, the most schizophrenic tropical-storm-turned-hurricane-turned-slow-moving-tropical-depression ever encountered. THIS WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO RUIN OUR BIG DAY!
Meredith will tell you, I’m usually a pretty laid back person. I CAN stress with the best of them, but that is usually her role. When it came to this event, OCD became a much bigger issue for me than my ADD. No fewer than 4 emails were sent out in the last 36 hours ,but it wasn’t until we rolled into Louisville that I realized that tailgate was not going to happen. I took it pretty well, I think. Afterall, tailgate was secondary to “the game,” and Eli’s first game would be against none other than the hated wildcats. Our seats were covered; let the rains come. We would not be stopped.
We had lunch with another couple, and then we made our way to the stadium. The rain was torrential the whole ride to the stadium. Our friends were re-thinking their decision to come to the game. The 300-yard walk to the stadium seemed like we may need a boat to get there. We sloshed into the stadium anyway and how glad we are that we did.
When we got to the gate, the ticket taker asked to see what was under Mer’s poncho. When I replied, “a baby!” she waved her on through, only to have a supervisor ask to stop and search the bag. God-love the original ticket-taker when she said “let me look, ok you good” and waved us on through. We rushed on up to the stadium where Eli would be dry and made our way to our seats. It was time for Eli to eat so Mer fed him. I went on in, watched intros and the game began. It was a good 5 minutes into the first quarter before he made his appearance, but what a grand appearance it was.
Through the course of the day, Eli met my former chairman and one of the most heralded and respected surgeons ever, an orthopedic friend who has to be one of the smartest people I have ever known, a great friend who is also having fertility issues of his own, my former program director whose opinion has always been a huge influence on me and my decisions, 2 brothers who were there in NYC when daddy had his “babymoon” and, well, lets not forget being remembered by Chane! We watched the game, and met all of the folks who knew about Eli before just about everyone. We cheered on the Cards to a huge win(cheering pic). AND WE STAYED DRY! The rain stopped just before kickoff and never returned. It was everything I hoped for, minus the tailgate.
I won’t make this into a Norman Rockwell moment and tell you it was just like I pictured. Heck, I won’t even tell you it was just like my own experiences. Love my dad and all, but there are many things about my UofL game experiences that I hope Eli NEVER experiences. And if dad were to ever come across this, he wouldn’t disagree. All I can say is that I hope this is but the first of hundreds of games that he and I will enjoy together, both home and away, but never again with anyone named Isaac.