So, another weekend, another championship game. This one looked to be our toughest yet, and it didn't start well. Before we knew it, we were down 4-1. We came back only to fall behind again. We struggled again with maintaining possession and picking up loose balls, which makes it awfully tough to score. One of our players went down twice with an injury. But the boys somehow clawed back again. They tied it, then took the lead. One more late goal sealed it, and they won! Nice to end the season with a championship!
As we packed up and headed out, I couldn't help but snap a picture of this school banner. That slogan is in the on-field logo on their turf field, too. It's not exactly what I expected from such a refined school like this, but think it's sort of representative of what we all want for our kids, isn't it?
Upon sitting in the van and appreciating the air conditioning for a minute, the first question was, "Well, do we do it?" "It" being the baseball game we were supposed to go to on Friday. It was hot, we had a long drive ahead, and everyone was tired. But to be less than a half hour from a new baseball stadium seemed like leaving something on the table for our "vacation". I wanted to do it, and Craig got on board when I confirmed it was so close. The kids took some convincing, and Jacob actually freaked out upon arrival because we drove through the 'hood to get there. I think he was on edge because his teammate's family's vehicle got broken into over the weekend (even though they were at a "nice" hotel), and we had just been talking about the importance of not leaving valuables in the van. Well, that apparently put him in panic mode, and it took an absurd amount of convincing to get him out of the van once we parked. We were already a bit late and had a long walk to the park (though, thankfully, there ended up being a shuttle), and with the heat being pretty intense by that point, Jacob's resistance was about the last thing we needed! But we persevered and headed to the game, scooping up some standing-room only tickets, since that's all that was left. It was fine, I guess, because we were really just there to see everything, and if our seats were in the sun we probably wouldn't have sat in them anyway!
So, I present to you Dunkin' Donuts Park!
|We're not in Tim Hortons' country anymore, folks...|
As it is Hartford, Land of Everything Insurance, there were a couple prominent sponsorships in the stadium:
|The Hartford Terrace had the giant buck on top!|
|The Kids' Zone was sponsored by Travelers, so of course it needed a giant red umbrella.|
Jacob just wanted to shoot hoops (of course)…
Carter wanted to do the slide. He loved it! I loved the look on his face in both of these, so I couldn't pick just one. Click to zoom in on the first one :)
One of the coolest things I've ever seen was the pen of live goats at the end of the first base side. I mean, how cute are the babies (two near the mom on the left, one in the crate to the right)?
Upstairs from the goats was the bullpen, and of course our resident basketball fan noticed the tiny hoop on the wall!
While I was off visiting the ladies' room and getting food, Craig couldn't resist catching these shots of the boys in front of a nearby mural...
It was a HOT day, and it was clear we were running out of energy quickly. We did a couple rounds around the stadium, finished up at the Kids' Zone, and visited the very busy team store. I snapped a couple last photos, and it was time to go.
|You can just see it in this photo, but there was a patio/suite area on the third base side that was sponsored by a basement renovation company. Just another cool feature of a neat little stadium!|
|Check out that coffee cup on the scoreboard!|
So, another season ends. On one hand I'm thrilled to be done with packing, done with coolers and suitcases, and done with long stretches trapped in the van. I don't miss sleeping in hotels or waking up early to leave enough time to get ice in the coolers. I'm tired of trying to figure out eating on the road and roasting for hours because the players get shade priority. I'm ready to have relaxing weekends at home (or at least spend my weekends trying to make our home look presentable again) and not be infinitely exhausted every Monday. But then again, I will miss spending time with the families and watching the team come together for a big win. I miss the prospect of adventures in new places and having time to be a family without the normal distractions of home life. Tryouts are coming soon, and we're nervous. While we'd like to think two years of experience and Jacob's good attitude despite tough circumstances would be nice boosts to his chances, there's no telling what might happen if good players come in from outside. He wants to be on this team, but clearly he didn't play a lot and there's a chance he won't make it. If he doesn't, he won't have a lot of options, but hopefully that won't be necessary. Everything happens for a reason, and hopefully we'll find some really good ones if things don't go as planned, but hopefully we get to do it all over again next summer!