This past weekend I accidentally took my family to the hottest, most boring place in the entire universe: Fenway Park. We were there to watch the Red Sox defeat the Astros 5-4, and while we did technically do that, we had to do a lot of other things as well because of how not cool the oldest and most interesting place in baseball history is. Although I should be clear here. Ruby, who is 8, loved it. She had a great time, asked a lot of questions, was very invested in the game and the players, kept track of stats, and overall acted exactly as one might hope a child would, when physically steeped in Americana and still-relevant nostalgia. Edward, on the other hand, is only 5. All he cared about was that we were sitting in the bleachers directly under the hot sun and he wanted to be cool and full of snacks.
In a way the whole situation was unfair from the start. We had been having excess amounts of fun all weekend, and here we were on Sunday afternoon, telling our young child to behave and be full of energy. It was not going to happen. The sun beat down on us immediately as we melted into our seats, and the complaining began just as quickly. It was going to be a long game.
It was a long game. That was part of the problem. Batters were hitting 10 foul balls in a row, pitchers were throwing so many pitches their arms were falling off, and the game showed no signs of ever ending. The first thing that Edward did was to hide from the sun under my seat. This worked for a little while, but there were so many people going in and out of the row that he was in danger of being trampled. We couldn’t let him stay there forever. I will say, though, that this was an excellent beginning strategy. Parents, if your child is bored or hot, just stow them under your seat where they will be out of the way and you can enjoy the game.
When it became clear that we couldn’t leave him under our seats forever, we took him out to get things. Snacks. Drinks. Slurps of cool water from the drinking fountain (or bubbler, or whatever they call them in Boston). If he was moving, and at least partially in the shade, he was happy. This could not work forever either though, because now we were constantly smashing our way back and forth over the poor people at the end of our row. Luckily, once the 3rd inning started, Fenway provided a solution.
From the 3rd-7th innings, there is a kids’ area (that happened to be right behind our seats) that contained legos, toys, crafts, balloon animals, Wally the giant green Elmo, and cheaper snacks! It was amazing! Yes, the line to get in was lengthy at first, but once you were in there you could watch the game on the big T.V.s and let your kids run around to their little air-conditioned hearts’ content. And the $3.50 cotton candy that I had previously purchased outside cost only $3 in there! Parents! Go in there for cheaper snacks!
We couldn’t stay in there for the whole game, unfortunately. Once the 7th inning rolled around things began to wind down and we had to take him back out to watch the game. This is when we had him go sit with my mother. Fun parenting fact #47: Kids behave better for any authority figure that is not you. He was much happier sitting with Toy Grammy than he was sitting with me. But then he tried to crawl under the seats again. By this time the ground was littered with half empty mustard packets and overturned beer cups, so it wasn’t the cleanest place for him to be. Also, the guy in the row behind him dropped a full beer onto Edward’s head, which did not help. It was time for my beer-soaked 5-year-old to sit down and watch a little baseball.
It was at this point that he took a keen interest in the game. I explained to him that if the Red Sox could just get through the top of the 9th without letting Houston score any runs, the game would be over and we could go back on the super fun subway train. He watched each pitch closely, commenting after each one “Nowwwwww, can we go hooooooooome?! I’m toooooooo HOT!” When the game did finally end, there was much rejoicing. From everyone. Except maybe Houston fans.
Ruby had watched most of the game and was excited that we won. My wife and I were also excited that we won, and we each had seen almost half of the game, so that was good. Edward was excited to go back on the train and to not be sitting in the sun. But he was also excited about his Wally balloon, and his Red Sox sticker, and his Fenway Park cup. I think it was a good experience for him, and Fenway definitely had things in place to make it fun for him. And someday, in the future, we’ll take him back. He might even enjoy the game.