N.J. Jackals - Yogi Berra StadiumFirst day back to work since Erin was born. The work certainly had piled up in my absence. I even needed to work a little late – which normally is fine and a common reality of my profession, but tonight was not the night. Not only had I been away from Kate all day long – leaving her to care for Erin by her lonesome all day for the first time – but my grandfather scored us tickets to a New Jersey Jackals night game.

My grandfather is a lifelong resident of Clifton, NJ and tonight was “Clifton Night at the Jackals” and so we went and rooted the home team who pulled off a close win (5-4) against the North Shore Spirit.

I’m a pretty big baseball fan. One of those fans that actually enjoy watching it on TV. But, as big of a baseball fan as I am, and as interesting as the baseball game was and as exciting was the Clifton Night raffles and giveaways were, I found myself preoccupied with something else. Was it the racist old man behind me who kept wanting to talk about how the Puerto Rican and Cuban players are ruining the game? No. Was it the home plate umpire who was bald, extremely buff and no taller than 4’9″? No. The pile of peanut shells accumulating on my right foot from my Dad’s snacking? No.

I found my eyes slowly grazing over the crowd and stopping only when I would see a dad – usually not much older than me – talking with, laughing with, and/or simply sitting with his daughter. Teaching her about the game of baseball. Talking about her school. Adjusting the size of a newly purchased baseball cap (XXSmall). Diving for a nearby foul ball. For the first time since Erin was born I found myself looking forward to her getting older. We love her so much as a little newborn baby, but the expectations I have now of father/daughter times like I saw tonight almost make me impatient for her to grow up a little. She doesn’t have to be school age or anything – just old enough to walk and eat a hot dog with her “cool dad” who takes her to baseball games.