Henry was thrilled when he heard the news and enjoyed bragging to his friends the day before the game. When I went to pick him up early from school - he and I both dressed head-to-toe in Giants gear - the attendance officer smiled broadly at us and asked, "And where are you two going?" Before I could squeak out, "Would you believe a doctor's appointment?", she said "Are you going to the game? I wish I were. Have a great time!" Henry is such a hardworking and good student that not one of his teachers or school administrators would begrudge him a day of playing hooky.
We took the train to the game, and, as more and more fans boarded at each stop, many "go Giants!" shouts were heard. We walked to the glorious stadium, which is located down town about half a mile from the train stop, and the excitement grew with the waves of black and orange all around us. Chants of "Let's Go Giants!" filled the air, as vendors gave us signs and rally towels to take into the stadium.
We scooted down to the edge of the field to watch batting practice, and I snapped these images with my iphone:
(that'd be Henry)(apparently, I wasn't the only parent who had pulled their kid out of school!).
Once back in our seats, the opening ceremonies got started. I got goosebumps when a huge American flag unfurled on the field, military jets flew over and a beautifully voiced singer sang our National Anthem.
Then the crowd went wild when Barry Bonds (a former Giants superstar player who has kept his distance from the team and the ballpark because he has become the symbol of the "steroid era" in baseball) was announced to throw out the first pitch. The stadium erupted as the prodigal son returned.
But that eruption was nothing compared to what happened when the Giants took the lead with a two-out rally in the middle of the game or when they turned a double-play at game's end to clinch the victory. We were all fist pumps and high fives; back slaps and hugs; dancing in the stands and screaming for all we were worth. I can't count the number of times Henry turned to me and said, "This is the best day ever!"
Afterward, we walked by the television broadcasting booth because Henry wanted to try to get his face on TV (he did).
And truly we were in no rush to leave. I think we both wanted that day - and the glow from it - to go on forever.
The Giants now have a 3-1 lead in the series. If they win tonight (Thursday), they go to the World Series. If they lose, they go back to Philadelphia needing to win one of the last two games to advance. No matter. Whatever happens with the Giants, I feel like I winner. Because I got to spend this day with my boy. And I'm grateful. Because sometimes you've got to play hooky.