Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Take Me Out to the Ball game

When I was a kid, one of my favorite summer activities was going to watch the Smokies, our local Minor League baseball team, with my Dad.

Smokies Stadium is located in Kodak, TN and can accommodate up to 8,000 people. The 45 minute drive from Knoxville may not be as exciting as a trip to Atlanta to see the Braves play, but I always loved it. Once we got there, we would sit behind the opposing team’s dugout and I was constantly on the lookout to catch a stray ball. Not to mention, I quickly built up quite the collection of mini batting helmet bowls, thanks to a love of ballpark soft serve.

This was a great way to bond with my Dad as well as a special treat for the two of us.

Fast forward several years and my husband and I now have a daughter of our own. She’s four and always up for an adventure. In my never-ending quest to make each summer memorable, I knew this year was the year we should try taking her to a Smokies’ game.

I couldn’t wait to tell her where we were going and see the excitement on her face. We loaded up the car and headed out on our own 45 minute ride. Underestimating the traffic, it took a while to get into the park but we made it inside as the first pitch was being thrown. Using the meal voucher that my husband purchased with our tickets, we each got a hot dog, bag of chips, and a drink and excitedly headed to our seats.

The weather was absolutely perfect, despite the fact that we were staring almost directly into the sun! Having discussed the legendary soft serve extensively on the drive, our daughter was ready for her sweet treat almost immediately upon finishing her dinner. We did our best to hold her off as long as we could. To ease this effort, you better believe I made a bee-line for the beer stand where I proudly purchased a souvenir mason jar full of one of my favorite summer beverages.

Around the fifth inning, we knew our girl wouldn’t wait any longer for that delicious ballpark dessert. I sent my husband off in search of a mini batting helmet bowl full of soft serve. He came back with a regular cup, which disappointed me slightly, until I saw the funnel cake he was also carrying. I proceeded to devour half of it within minutes. I will assume those of you reading this either share my affinity for nearly all deep fried treats, or can at least offer me pardon as this is my first post.

When the bottom of the sixth inning rolled around, our daughter’s sugar rush was starting to wane. She saw a playset outside the concession area and anxiously awaited our approval to check it out. I happily took her over, figuring she wouldn’t like it and would let me come back to my seat to finish my beer. Two innings later, they were shutting down the kids’ area but she still wasn’t done having fun!

I couldn’t believe that our family outing lasted the entire game.

I had prepared myself that we would make it through three or four innings, then head back home. At the end of the ninth inning, before the final summer fireworks series started, we headed back to the car. We got to catch the last of the big booms as we were getting in line to leave the parking lot. All in all, we had a fabulous time and are already looking forward to going again soon.

The Smokies’ season begins in April and runs through September. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids, I definitely encourage you to consider going to a game.

What fun late summer activities have you found for your family? Tell me about it in the comments.

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