Lisa Kern

Lisa Kern
Pennsylvania, US
March 28
I'm a mom of three boys, a needy dog, and an insolent cat. When I'm not writing, vacuuming up pet hair, or cleaning pee off the toilet seat, I like to fantasize about jeans that actually fit and an all-you-can-eat-chocolate-and-cheese diet. Welcome to my party.


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OCTOBER 29, 2008 11:52PM

Watching the World Series with an 8-year-old

Rate: 8 Flag

I’m not much of a sports fan, but the Philadelphia Phillies have always held a special place in my heart.  I’d just moved to Pennsylvania in 1980, the summer before my senior year of high school.  Of course, I didn’t know anyone in this new state, so I watched a lot of TV.

The championship team from my new hometown had made it to the World Series and it was pretty exciting stuff.  This one event was able to bring an entire city together.  For once, things like Reaganomics and record unemployment were forgotten as the region came together for America’s favorite pastime:  baseball.


I admit that I hadn’t followed the play-offs too well this year, but once the Phillies became the 2008 National League champs, and a trip to the World Series was in their future, all of those memories of my first summer in Philadelphia flooded back.  I wanted to feel the excitement again of a World Series win.  I wanted some good news in the midst of so much bad.    


Tonight, as the Phillies prepared to finish the remaining innings of rained-out World Series Game #5 against the Tampa Rays, I curled up to watch it with my 8-year-old son Evan.  Call me a bad mother, but none of my boys were ever into sports.  I signed my first son up for t-ball.  Even though he could hit a mean fly ball, he used to get heat sick at every game and refused to play any more.  My second son (how do I say this nicely?) is probably the clumsiest human being on the planet, so sports were never an enjoyable experience for him.  That left Evan, my youngest.  Unfortunately, by the time he came along, we’d already been there, done that, with the other two.  With miserable results. Why even try with this one? Evan didn’t ask, and we didn’t suggest that he participate in any sports.


As we’re watching the game, it became painfully aware to me that Evan had no idea what you’re supposed to do in a baseball game:


“Why are they changing guys?”


“Because that guy struck out.”


“Struck what?  I didn’t see him hit anything.”


“He sorta swung.  That’s called a strike.  You get three of those and you’re out.”


“Out where?”


“Just out – you’re not allowed to bat any more.  They let someone else try.”


“Oh.  Hey!  That guy just tapped the ball!  And he’s running!”


“Yes, that’s called a bunt.”


“A BUN!”


“No, silly, a bunt.  Bu-NT.  It’s when they hit the ball lightly and it doesn’t go very far.”


“Oh sweet!”


“Look, Evan – he’s trying to steal a base!”


“He’s stealing a base?”


“Yea, he’s trying to sneak to second base before the pitcher sees him and tags him out.”


“Isn’t that illegal to steal a base?”


“No, but you have to be really quick.  Oh look!  He made it!  He stole second base!”


“Do they make him put it back afterwards?”


“He didn’t really steal the base.  He just snuck over to second base before anyone noticed him.  He doesn’t have anything he needs to put back.”


“Oh.  Why are they wearing those helmets with only one ear covered?”


“That’s so the ball doesn’t hit them in the ear.  The other one is uncovered since it’s away from the ball that’s being pitched and so he can hear.”


“Cool!  What are those numbers at the top?”


“The first one is how many balls they have.  If they get 4, they can walk.”


“Walk where?  They’re actually allowed to leave in the middle of a game?”


“No, it means they can walk to first base.”


“Just like that?  No one gets them out?”


“Just like that.”


“Mom!  Did you see that guy slide in?” Then Evan got up and proceeded to demonstrate how he slid in, in case I missed it.  “Why do they slide like that?”


“They slide so that a part of their body can get to the base first and be safe.  If they slide, then their toe might be able to get on the base before they’re tagged out with the ball.”


“I want to sliiiiiide.”  And he does.  All around the living room for the next 15 minutes.


“OK, enough sliding.  How about we watch the game?”


The camera pans to the coaches and team members in the dugout as they nervously watch the players on the field.


“Why is everyone chewing?”


“I don’t know.  Maybe they’re nervous.”


“They must be hungry.  Ewwww!  That guy just spit something out!”


“It’s probably tobacco.”


“They chew cigarettes?”


“No!  Chewing tobacco.”


“Gross!  It looks like he’s spitting out teeth or something.”


“It’s probably sunflower seeds.”


“See?  I told you he was hungry.”


Finally, Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge was up.  He’s had a perfect season and it’s the ninth inning.  On his final pitch, he struck out the Tampa Rays’ batter and it was all over.  The Philadelphia Phillies had won the World Series 4 to 3!


“Evan, they won!”


“They won?”


“They won!  They did it!  They haven’t won since 1980 and now they’ve won!”


Evan jumped in my arms and gave me the biggest hug ever.  We high-fived.  We low-fived.  We danced around.  We watched the team dog pile onto one another on the field as a dual camera shot showed the crowds of people in Philadelphia pouring out into the streets in celebration.  Evan smiled a big, bright smile that lit up his whole face.


“I love the Phillies, Mom!”


“Me too, sweetheart.”  I hugged him again just because I could. 


I loved spending this night with my son, teaching him about baseball, and sharing the excitement of watching a hometown team win the World Series for only the second time in 126 years.  I know that he will remember this night for the rest of his life; the night that my son officially became a baseball fan and had a chance to witness something really big.

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Umbrella - Thanks! My kids provide the best blog fodder. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
What a wonderful & memorable night!!! I love the language divide between kids & adults.
Here's a good one for you: While teaching history I had a student give a whole-hearted speech about the south winning the civil war ... because they "succeded" ... instead of seceded. That would have been hilarious if the kid hadn't been in 8th grade & I hadn't been his teacher!
Sweet and funny and ... just really sweet. Waaaaah! I miss my baby! (He's 19 soon to be 20. Hold your baby boy tight for me.)
Lisa - this is a really heartwarming post. I could totally relate.
My baby boy, who is [ahem] 24 now, once actually pitched at the Vet at age 12 in the Little League City Championships. He called us last night around midnight from somewhere on Broad Street screaming, "This is the happiest night of my life!"

We know there will be happier nights in his future, but I told him on the phone, "Next to the night I had you, this is one of the happiest in my life too." :)

Oh, btw, when he was about 6 he snuggled up to his dad on the couch during a football game and asked, "Who're you voting for, Dad, the Philadelphias or the Chicagos?"
Great blog! Reminds me of Art Linkletter's (original) "Children Say the Darndest Things," which I read when I was 12. My blog, Vintageberrywine, began in 1988 as a newspaper column about--what else?--my own brood of four. People love reading about children, especially when it is filled with humor.
1_irritated-Mother - Thank you! That's a great story about your history student. I'll bet you have tons of blog material from being a teacher.

Susan - I have an 18 year old, so I know all too well how fast those years fly by. I think that's why last night was so special. Evan will never be this innocent again. It's nice to see kids when they're in that age of amazement. I will hug him tight, just for you.

Lisa - Thank you! Kids make it worth it, don't they?

Sally - Your son was there? I normally hate crowds, but that would have been the ultimate, to be right there, soaking in that joy. (No way do you have a 24 year old, though. What were you, six, when you had him?) I laughed out loud about the "Philadelphias or the Chicagos"!

Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment. I really appreciate it.
This is great Lisa! Thanks for sharing this story about a memory being made.
This Boston Red Sox fan sends hearty congratulations! My two guys watched you win last night (I had a terrible headache from election judge training and went to bed during the 7th). I'm excited for you. Fun post. I'm glad the tobacco chewing grossed your son out--I'd use that as a teachable anti-tobacco moment. Paws up.
Outstanding! My Cubs loving heart salutes you :)
Lisa, he was there, he and a group went in on season tickets in the Hall of Fame Club... sold two for a lot of $$, split that among them and drew lots for the other two seats. Smart kids, eh?

Thanks, I have a professional headshot I used to use that I think makes me look the extra 6 years this photo doesn't, but everybody likes this one better so as long as they know the truth, I bow to my pals.

And btw, I forgot to mention how much I loved your story. You have a great kid and he has a great mom... who looks about 23 herself. :)
I typed up comments last night and they all went poof into cyber oblivion. Here goes again:

VintageBerryWine - thank you for stopping by. I really enjoyed your piece the other day about police brutality. I'm going to check out your other blog too. I enjoy reading (and writing) about family life.

Julie - thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Umbrella - Yes! What a treat, huh? I nearly died when I saw my name.

DogWoman - I really was hoping the Red Sox would have made it to the World Series instead of the Rays. By the way, I had election training last week (not for judge though - machine operator). If yours was anything like ours, I completely understand why you went home with a headache!

Sarah - Yay! Another baseball fan! Thank you for stopping by to read and comment.

Sally - what a smart, enterprising son you have. That's a brilliant idea to go in on tickets with friends and then sell some off. He's so lucky to have been there. I'll bet he didn't get home until very late, though! Are either of you catching the parade today? Thanks for the compliment, but rest assured the teeny tiny avatar picture hides a multitude of sins.

Evan was insistent that we go out and get him a Phillies shirt last night. Apparently everyone in Southeastern Pennsylvania had the same plan. Sporting goods stores were mobbed! Memorabilia is hard to come by. Hopefully it will ease up as new shipments arrive. We found a Phillies shirt at Walmart. Evan was so excited that he slept in it last night!
Lisa K. = Erma Bombeck! You should package blog entries together into a book.... Just a friendly suggestion from your local OS friend! ;-) Have a great weekend! (Go fightin' Phils!)
This is just priceless!
How marvellous to `see' it through the eyes of an eight year old!
How the innocence of childhood is seen through our eyes, and the wonderful game with it's initiation via mom; couldn't get much better than that! And to top it off, a huge win at the end!
Lisa R - you're great for my ego but I'm hardly Erma Bombeck. I appreciate the vote of confidence, though.

Nahatsu - hello my friend down under! Thanks so much for your kind words.