Sorry, but this is not a post about composting, recycling or reducing my carbon footprint. Today, I am happy to announce that Will has officially attended his first professional sporting event.
That’s me, Will and Grandpa (aka theoldguy) at Tuesday night’s Boston Celtics game against the Milwaukee Bucks. My dad has season tickets but when he called me and asked me if I wanted to take Will, I have to admit I was skeptical. His seats are in the balcony, they’re cramped and I just couldn’t imagine Will sitting still for the duration of a timeout, nevermind the whole game.
But thankfully my dad is crafty and he managed to, well…let’s just say he managed to finagle his way to a significant seat upgrade into the club seats. This was clutch because the seats are much bigger and there were three empty seats, which means Will had his own and didn’t need to sit on my lap. I highly recommend this when taking a 20-month-old to a game that lasts three hours.
All in all he did pretty well. We ran into trouble when all he wanted to do was run up and down the aisle stairs, but thankfully we ended up on the end of the row. However, he did take a tumble on the concrete steps and ended up with a bloody lip and a scratch on his chin. But he shook it off like a champ.
When we first walked down to the court he was so amazed. His eyes went wide as he took everything in, and then he spotted the basketball. All he said for the rest of the game was “Hi ball” as he waved repeatedly. I was a little worried that he’d be afraid of the crowd and the noise, but that worrying was pointless. The kid absolutely loved it. He loved the sights, the sounds and he thrives in a crowd. He made it into the third quarter before he started to melt down, and that’s way longer than I thought he’d make it.
But make no mistake, this game wasn’t for Will. It was for me and my dad.
All the men in my family are sports nuts and I know my dad’s been itching to take Will to a game for awhile now. We dressed Will up in his #11 “Big Baby” Celtics jersey and we found a place to eat in the Garden. The only thing MJ asked me to avoid feeding him was hotdogs, but it’s a well known rule that you can’t go to a sporting event and not eat a hotdog. So that’s what he had. And because it was a special occasion, he was allowed a soda.
And by the way, this is his unique way of asking for a sip:
But it makes him happy. And it makes Grandpa happy to see Will happy. See?
And because we’re dedicated and informed fans, it’s necessary to show Will all about the past and teach him the history of the team. There’s no better place to do this than inside the Boston Garden where they have an entire level devoted to the history of Boston sports. Because this was a Celtics game (the Bruins also play in the Garden) we started off with them. We looked at pictures of Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, John Havlicek, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and of course, Larry Bird. We told him about the 17 championships the Celtics have won, which included eight in a row from 1959-1966.
We also lamented the fact that Will arrived too late to experience the old Boston Garden, which was one of the most beloved arenas in all of New England. Even if the old seats were some of the most uncomfortable places to watch a sporting event (next to Fenway Park of course).
Will was pretty good before the game started because the Celtics do a lot with lights, music, video, etc. But once the actual game started he got a little bored. And cranky. Which meant my dad and I had to take turns bringing him out into the concourse to let him run around and blow off some steam. But when Grandpa and Will came back from one of their trips, I noticed Will was holding something he didn’t have when he left.
As if he didn’t have enough toys, grandpa bought him a ball. Grandpa claims Will just HAD to have it, because he walked by them and said “Ball…please!” and then started kissing the ball. Needless to say, Will knows EXACTLY how to manipulate Grandpa and — like always — played him like a fiddle.
Even though we left in the third quarter, my dad said it was the best game he’s been to all year. I agree. There’s just something unbelievably wonderful about passing down a tradition to your kids. And it’s even more special that it’s three generations of Gouveia men. Now don’t get me wrong, I would’ve taken my daughter to the game too. Maybe this makes me a sexist, but it’s different with a boy. It was so cool to take him and let him in on the sports moments that we hold so close to our hearts. Almost like his initiation in a secret club of which he’ll be a member for a lifetime.
And the Celtics won, by the way.
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