From Chicken Soup for the Father & Daughter Soul

Anna’s First Cubs Game

Blessed be the hand that prepares a pleasure for a child, for there is no saying when and where it may bloom forth.

Douglas Jerrold

I can still remember the first Major League Baseball game my father took me to as a child, so I wanted my five-year-old daughter Anna’s first game to be just as memorable for her. Two weeks before the game I purchased a kids’ music tape filled with baseball songs. We endlessly learned the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in anticipation of the famous seventh-inning stretch sung by Harry Carry and the Chicago Cubs’ fans.

Decked out in her new official hat, shirt and oversized leather glove, we were ready for the game. Anna was enthralled with the field, players, game and happy fans surrounding us. Peanut, hot dog, popcorn and ice cream vendors filled her with treats, keeping her busy until the seventh-inning stretch. Suddenly, I had an idea. Turning to Anna, I asked her loudly, so everyone around us might catch on as well, if she would like everyone in the stadium to stand up and sing the song along with her.

Her eyes widened as she looked around and said, “You mean everyone will sing along with me? That’s great, Dad!”

I answered, “No problem,” and added that the man in the booth above us would not only join in, but he would help everyone as well.

Beckoning everyone to stand up and join us, Anna stood on her seat and sang as loud as she could. “Take me out to the ballgame . . . “ We all joined her and cheered her on. She was beaming with pride, in love with the thought that the entire stadium was singing along with her.

When the song ended, we all applauded Anna and gave her high-fives. It was a magical moment; she was so happy. As I was about to sit back down, Anna had an even better idea. “Dad, make them do it again!”

People within earshot burst out laughing. Taking her hand, I said, “No problem, Anna. Next time we come, we can do it all again.”

Louis Schutz

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