Weather and all else permitting, I’ll be at Citi Field in New York next Saturday night with my two sons, Dave and Dan, for the New York Mets’ game against the Miami Marlins.
We’ll be there to watch the scheduled final start of third baseman David Wright’s stellar, but sadly injury-shortened career — an event that has turned a completely meaningless game into the hottest ticket in town. We were lucky to get tickets that didn’t cost way above face value.
Wright, long the Mets team captain, has been a class act and a talented player. He’s been with the Mets his entire career and provided innumerable memorable moments.
The last three-plus seasons have not been kind to Wright. He’s had three surgeries, along with continuous physical therapy, due to spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. It has made it impossible for him to play most of the time since he was diagnosed in May 2015.
One of the points Wright made in a tear-filled press conference announcing his farewell game was that for the first and only time, his two young daughters — the oldest is 2 —will be able to see him play. Neither, of course, will be old enough to remember it, but they’ll be there and have pictures and videos to look at and watch for the rest of their lives of their dad the big league ballplayer.
It’s a family event for us, too.
For better or worse, I brought up all four of our kids to be Mets fans. My wife Mary was nice enough to come along for the bumpy ride, too.
We share so many memories because of that — most at old Shea Stadium and a few at the Mets current ballpark, Citi Field. Wright played a role in a good number of them. So, when word came of plans for him to be in the Mets starting lineup one last time, it was the ultimate no-brainer call. We had to be there. Together. Making one more Mets memory.
Making memories is a family-wide commitment.
Just last weekend, the three of us, along with my wife Mary and our sons’ wives, Sarah and Maggie, went to see the Broadway Musical “Beautiful: The Carol King Musical.” Dave and Dan planned it as Mary’s combined Mother’s Day and birthday present last May. The show was great, but the time with family was better.
Daughters, Katie and Megan are no less convinced of the value of shared experiences. Just the other day, while packing a suitcase for a short business trip, I found a piece of paper labeled “Itinerary,” in one of the pockets — the detailed plan Megan put together for my birthday and Father’s Day gift of time with her in Washington, D.C. last summer. Memories of that weekend came rushing back.
Katie has made an annual fall trip to Freddy Hill Farms in Towamencin a special family event. Each October, around her birthday, we gather there for hay rides, pumpkin picking, pig races, a corn maze and more. None of us would miss it. We have memories, as well as a priceless collection of photos and videos from previous Octobers as evidence why.
Those experiences and many others like them, are better gifts than anything we could wrap up with paper and a bow.
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