lpsrocks's Blog


Rockville, Maryland,
web developer, NOLA native, mom of two, concerned citizen living apparently waaaayyy too close to the Beltway, as I have become part of the "chattering classes"... just a political junkie, I guess...concerned about the environment, the wetlands, and keeping the world safe for democracy... no wonder we can't sleep at night...


APRIL 5, 2010 12:13PM

Opening Day - Reprise

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Note: In honor of Opening Day & my not-so-little-boy's birthday today, I am reprising this post. As much as I would love to be at Nationals Park watching President Obama throw out the first pitch, I am instead taking Gatorade to his 30 classmates. Woot!

 Baseball’s Opening Day holds a special sentimental place in my heart.

My son was born on Opening Day.

A year later, my daddy died on Opening Day.

I’m not sure why I mark these events by the opening of the baseball season, but for some reason I do.

I’m not exactly sure why or how my attachment to Opening Day started. It’s not that I have memories of growing up and going out to the ballpark. I grew up in a city without a MLB baseball team. We didn’t even have a decent minor league team. In New Orleans, we loosely followed the Astros, the Braves, or in my case, the St. Louis Cardinals.

No, I think it must have started once I was a grown-up (hah!) and moved to DC/MD. As an Orioles fan, I had Cal’s streak to root for and Johnny Miller’s most-awesomest voice on the radio. I spent many evenings driving home up Rock Creek Parkway with the top down (when I was cool, before kids, and had a convertible) listening to the O’s broadcast as a way to wind down and leave work behind.

Books have been written about the rituals and tradition of baseball. I won’t try to replicate them or make this Field of Dreams. But, opening day games used to be a big deal. They were played in the afternoon and were special. There is nothing quite comparable to playing hooky from the office to spend the afternoon at the ballpark sitting in the sunshine.

It makes me more than a little sad that Opening Day isn’t such a big deal anymore. Blame it on the media, blame it on moving Opening Day to Sunday night, blame it on President Obama. Who knows why? But it is.

Still, it’s a big deal to me. Ten years ago in April, which was also Easter Sunday, I went into labor with my son. My second child, I expected him to come quickly after my water broke, but he decided to take his time. I went to the hospital overnight; they said it was too soon for an epidural but they gave me drugs to “take the edge off” (please no chastising from the peanut gallery – it is what it is).

All I know is that one minute I was watching SportsCenter, the next minute I was hallucinating. I slept a little, watched more SportsCenter, slept a little more through contractions.

The day after he was born, I was still in the post-partum fog and remember watching a seemingly endless O’s game. Doze, nurse, watch baseball, change diaper. Repeat.

The kid, who was named after my Dad, and I watched a lot of baseball those first few weeks. Oh, and the coverage of Columbine (but that’s a different story).

  Luke in onesie

the kid - about 18 months old

A year later, on a Thursday evening, I got a call from my Mom that my Dad had had a heart attack. The doctors were still running tests and she said I didn’t need to fly in until they knew more. The next morning, my sisters called and said, basically, “…get your ass down here.”

Daddy had had a quadruple by-pass ten years earlier and a stent and angioplasty in the meantime. It didn’t look good.

We spent the weekend with him in the ICU. We listened to LSU basketball on the radio and watched the NCAA tournament on TV. He was alert, but in pain and seemed to enjoy having us with him. The doctors were still running tests and were noncommittal about his status. A nurse warned my sister and me that the prognosis might not be good.

On Sunday evening, my sister and I said good-bye and planned to fly home to our respective cities Monday morning. We would be back in a couple of weeks for Easter. Daddy passed away overnight; my Mom was with him.

Daddy on Boat

Daddy on his boat - as a much younger man

I don’t remember much, but I remember that it was Opening Day that day.

I remember, too, holding it together to go to the Funeral Home with my Mom and sisters to make arrangements. I remember losing it shortly thereafter and being pissed at God, at myself, saying through my tears, this is why Jews don’t name their babies after people who are alive. My mom, bless her heart, responded that Daddy was honored that my son had been named after him.

I found out later that that doesn’t hold true in all Jewish traditions, but still there is that little bit of doubt that somehow I put the gris-gris on him.

Two days later, we buried my dad on my son’s first birthday. It was necessary at the time, but it still stings.

I try to remember the good things and be thankful that at least he got to meet him. I try to look at the big picture and consider the circle of life and all that. I’m grateful that Daddy didn’t have to live through Katrina and see his house destroyed.

My family and friends have suffered a lot of loss these last ten years. But, we’ve also had a lot of joy – new babies, weddings & new family members to welcome in, birthday parties, Mardi Gras, JazzFest, and the rebuilding of the city.

Perhaps Opening Day serves as my reminder that for everything, there is a season.

Come on, we can be corny now, you know the words…

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

- The Byrds
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baseball, opening day, grief, boys, family

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It's still special for some of us. Enjoy the day as you can, with such meaningful memories in it.
Wonderful AHP: beautiful tribute. I got on to tell you Mitch Williams Pregame : Priceless. But it sounded so trite when I got to your new post. Love to Dad and Son and Grandfather,
Mea culpa, lpsrocks, I saw AHP's post earlier, we are both huge Phillies fans and I thought this was his blog. But I did read this and thought how sentimental and lovely the way baseball brings so many memories. Sorry for the mistake, but rated and appreciated just the same.
I remember this from the first time around, especially that precious towhead, and it's as good as ever. Thanks!
AHP - thanks for visiting; I got a bit lost in your baseball post but got the gist of it. Sorry, not a Phillies fan - but no hard feelings :-)

Rita - no worries. thanks for visiting - it's kind of a perfect baseball day, isn't it?

Lainey - thanks. I haven't managed to transfer my love of baseball to him yet, but still working on it. And, yeah, that precious little boy is playing football this fall with 11-12 year olds. oh my, how time flies!
I have off today and am alone in the living room with my Phillies cap shouting at the tube, yaaay opening day! Great weather, the Prez and lots of fans at the game...
lps, thank you for coming by. You actually might want to check out my post from yesterday, if you're not totally baseball'd out. It's a little more reflective.
I'm with Lainey, and would love to see the kid today, bet he's already a playground heart-breaker. Do you still watch baseball together?
Nice post, but you really should give proper credit to your quotation. Turn, Turn, Turn is a Byrds song, but the lyrics are from Ecclesiastes, the book in the Bible.

Happy baseball season to you.
Hey Lisa,

I'm stopping by here to tell you I sent you a PM, and I don't know if you will get notification of that. I recommending a novel I just read. It takes place in NO and is really worth looking into. It's called: One D.O.A., One on the Way, by mary Robison.

Since I was visiting anyway, I just read this post. Sometimes it is tough, the way things fall. You have a beautiful son, and I am sure your dad was/is delighted to have him bear his name.