Monday, April 18, 2011

Camping at the Ball Park

Cool Dude Shane, Kitty and Sid

So, this past weekend, I took one for Team Mausser.  Jason and I asked Shane if he wanted to participate in the camp out portion of Night at the Ball Park in support of his Little League.  And, of course, being 6-years-old, he said yes.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t very excited about the prospect and it seemed to be a big, dark cloud hanging over my weekend.  However, I haven’t camped with Shane and Jason for many years, so I felt that I should just suck it up and what can be easier then camping less than a half-mile from your house in the middle of the suburbs.
We loaded up the car about 4pm and it was so packed that we couldn’t see out the back windows and Shane had the sleeping bags, foam and air mattress falling on top of him.  Then, once we got there, we realized we forgot pillows and only had two sleeping bags for the three of us.  I had to go back home and make another trip back with pillows, blankets and sheets. Mind you, we would only be there for a total of 15 hours.
When I returned, Jason had already set up the tent and was just sitting down to a cold one.  Our cooler was also filled to the brim and we probably could have intoxicated a whole college baseball team (of course, who were all old enough to drink).
We set up camp next to some other parents on our team, who mentioned that we might be in the way of the Home Run Derby.  We said, no worries, but little did we know what that really meant.  Originally, we had just bought tickets for BBQ dinner and “Mega Mind” movie, so we were all set when we got our food that had been catered by Salt Creek Grill. YUM!
The first big activity was the baseball game between the Hermosa Beach Fire Department and one of the Hermosa Beach Little League teams with older kids.  In the middle of the game – since our fire department is so small – they all had to leave to respond to an emergency call.  Boy, who would have thought there could be such a small town feel in LA County.  Well, that isn’t really why, due to budget cuts, we don’t have enough firemen in our town. Basically, if there were two fires in Hermosa, happening simultaneously, the neighboring town’s fire department would have to help out.  Luckily, it wasn’t anything too serious on Saturday and, once the firemen returned, the game was finished – it was all good in the end.
But next came the Home Run Derby and I’m not sure I would say it was good.  I noticed some of the dads get up with their baseball mits and go behind our tent.  Then I heard the crack of a bat and the whiz of some mighty powerful balls.  We were seated in the direct path of the top hitters and several balls bounced right off the top of our tent –where we were sitting. Jason – who had his back to the field – eventually turned around so he could see if any balls were going to knock him out.
I have to admit, it got to be a bit scary and I meandered away to visit with a friend of mine – who was sitting further away from the field than us -- and avoid getting hit.
All this time, Shane was running around having the time of his life.  Being an only child, we tend to keep him on a short leash so it was so nice to let him be a wild boy within the confines of the baseball field.
He and his buddies went to the big screen to watch “Mega Mind” while most of the parents sat around their imaginary campfires drinking beer and wine and just being social. 
At 10pm, it was lights out and they weren’t joking.  The big stadium lights that we can even see from our house were extinguished on the dot and it was suddenly dark and like real camping.  Most of the moms didn’t stay overnight and went home with younger children or to just get a good night’s sleep in their own beds.  Right about that time, I started to get really envious but I wouldn’t let my little big guy down.  I told him I was going to stay overnight and, by God, I was going to do it.
Since it was mostly dad’s left, I ended up heading into our tent to bed around 11pm.  I played on my phone for a bit and then fell asleep right away. Honestly, I thought it would take me forever but I guess I had had enough wine to put me in a light coma.  I did hear Jason stumble in a while later and then I was surprised that I slept straight through until about 4:50am.  I woke up and really had to go to the bathroom, but didn’t feel like getting up to go so I never really went back to sleep but dozed off and on. 
I did actually have a dream though.  I dreamt that I was in a car accident and it was so realistic. In my dream, Jason comes running up and asks me what is wrong. I told him that I think I broke my ribs.  Then I woke up and realized that the air mattress had deflated enough that a rock was jabbing into my back.  At that point, I was up and, by 7am, Shane woke up.  A lot of people were already up and moving around. 
Shane and I got up to go to the Johnny on the Spot and it was a surreal moment.  There were bottles and trash littering the ground around the tents.  Kids were running around amped up on donuts and soda and parents were stumbling around – hung over – like zombies. 
Jason doing the 'Walk of Shame'
It felt like the time Jason and I had too much to drink and couldn’t drive home from our friend Mitch’s house in Venice.  He had just moved into his bachelor pad and there wasn’t too much furniture.  We slept on the floor in one of his guest rooms with our coats over us as blankets.  We were so cold and uncomfortable that, when the sun came up, we were out of there and doing the walk of shame down Abbott Kinney. 
The morning after at the ball park had that same “Leaving Las Vegas” quality – giving off the feeling like maybe you needed a drink or that you had one too many.
When we got back to the tent, Jason and I chatted with some of the parents for a bit but then we got to work breaking down the camp site.  I was ready to bounce.
Shane had fun running around playing with his buddies, while we schlepped everything to our car.  All in all, it ended up being a good time but, when we all squeezed into the car – because there was barely any room for Shane in the back seat and headed to Starbuck’s for some coffee – it was truly one of the happiest moments of the weekend with only sunny skies and 80 degree temps ahead.

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