My friend Karla Thorson has a 4-year-old daughter named Lauren, who absolutely adores me. A couple of weeks ago, Karla came up to me at work and asked if it would be OK if she and Lauren could come over to our house for a visit. I said, "sure!" Then I suggested that we have dinner at the house and go and see a Boise Hawks game since it would probably be my last game of the season with going away on vacation the following week for two weeks. When Karla told Lauren she was going to her first baseball game in her short life, Lauren was really excited.
So, Mom, Karla, Lauren, and I arrived at the Boise Hawks game a little late because Lauren had an accident at dinner and we needed to run back to Karla's place to change the kid. After getting our tickets at the box office, we were on our way. The Boise Hawks were playing the Eugene Emeralds this night. It was Game 4 of a long 5-game series between the two teams.
Karla bought a beer for herself and Mom as a thank you for her hospitality, and I got a Diet Pepsi and Lauren had bottled water. Our seats were on the first base side, which is usually not a good place to sit because if it's really sunny and hot, it's hard to see the game from our seats with the sun in your eyes. But the August 6 game was a lot cooler than the July 4 game Mom and I attended, and we were able to watch the game with relative comfort and no glare.
Lauren filled herself up on Twizzler candy and popcorn, and she saw someone with ice cream in a souvenir helmet and wanted that, too, but Karla said, "no" because Lauren would have only had three bites of it and said no more. I had ice cream, water, and Diet Pepsi during the night and added another little helmet to our collection.
Due to being a little late for the game, we only missed the first half of the 1st inning. I had my scorebook with me to keep score, and it took me a few innings to get all of the lineups and positions down.
Humphrey The Hawk, the Boise Hawks mascot was out right at the beginning of the game, and Karla, Mom, and I brought him to Lauren's attention as he was greeting fans of all ages on the third base side. Lauren got all excited and was yelling "Eagle Hawk! Eagle Hawk!" since Humphrey is a hard word for a 4-year-old to pronounce. Karla tried to tell Lauren that it was a Hawk and not an Eagle who was mascot, but I said, "Hey! We are next to Eagle, Idaho!" Finally Humphrey made his way over to the first base seats, and he started to play with the kids that were sitting there. Lauren went over to Humphrey and got his attention, and Humphrey obliged by posing for a picture with Lauren. Then Humphrey started to play with Lauren's pony tail, but Lauren took it in stride with her Mama, Mom, and I laughing with her.
Lauren spent a good chunk of the game looking for Humphrey and wondering where he was when he was taking a break or in other parts of the field. The adults in the group watched the game, and I kept score. The game itself was another wild one for the Hawks, but a lot of Single A games are made for getting the kinks out of the players' fielding and hitting and smooth out the errors they make in a season. By the end of the Third Inning, the score was 5-0 Eugene, but there was hope.
There were many kids on our side of the field, but they were very well-behaved. Most of them spent the time jumping up and down the stairs and playing with each other. Lauren joined a couple of little girls, played by herself, or flirted with the little boys. Later in the game, Lauren fell on a bench, and as a non-mother, my heart was in my mouth as I ran to her to pick her up and comfort her. Mama Karla took over, and all was well after a few minutes, and Lauren went to play more. Another little girl took a nasty fall on the stairs and scraped her leg up, but was OK after a while. Both Lauren and the little girl had flip flops on, and I highly recommend that if you take your kids to a ballgame anywhere in the USA, make sure they have good shoes on because the steps in many stadiums are very unforgiving.
After the drama of kids falling, Humphrey made another appearance in the stands. Lauren and all of the kids were really happy when the Hawks Mascot came back to the first base side and stayed a lot longer than expected. More pictures were taken of Lauren and Humphrey and more hugs given out by Humphrey. After a really disappointing trip to Disney Land the month before, Karla was ready to write a nasty letter to "The Happiest Place on Earth" for Mickey and the other characters not being seen anywhere in the park the whole day Lauren, Karla, and her partner Steve were there. Humphrey the Hawk's extended presence during a Single A baseball game in August made up for all of that disappointment!
Mascots and falls aside, the game was another wild one, and the Boise Hawks fell short 9-8. A 9th inning rally by the home team fell short, but Karla, Mom, Lauren, and I left the game happy and satisfied. The next day at work, Karla told me that Lauren had a blast, and she was looking forward to going to her next game. If going to a ballgame with a kid is this much fun, I am looking forward to the next game through the eyes of a cute little girl named Lauren!