Swing into the season

I’ve been promising Big G a trip to an ASU baseball game for weeks. Tuesday there was finally a home game. (Snow forced a three-game series down to Hickory).

It was cold. REALLY cold. Probably right around freezing. We got there top of the 7th, toboggans and blankets in tow. There were maybe 30 other people there, a few fans of Columbia.

The game was free and, with so few fans, you could sit anywhere. We hit front row behind the catcher. And it didn’t take long for Gavin to start practicing his distract-o-chant. Given the small number of people there, he WAS noticed.

We last two innings before finally turned and said simply, “It’s cold. Let’s go home.” Prior to that no complaints. He was into the game. Though he did repeatedly ask, “Can we go play on the field now?”

ME: No, we can’t.

GAVIN: Why not?

ME: Cause ASU and another team is playing baseball right now. They need the whole field.

GAVIN: Can’t we play with them?

In 17 years, maybe.


Cute and campy

Gabby poses with Daniel Boone, a statue near the duck pond at Appalachian State. This was during our tailgating activities prior to ASU playing Chattanooga.

Saturday at the footbawhl game

At the traditional Mountaineer Walk, as the Appalachian State football team walks from the Rivers Street tunnel to the stadium three hours before kickoff. The cheerleaders and marching band line the sidewalk.

We tried out a new tailgate spot, outside the music building. Plenty of grass to run around on, and the band warmed up for us. (You can see Gavin running around in the background)

Waiting for GoApp


Gavin thought we were going to a football game today. That’s tomorrow, I told him. He didn’t believe.

When he got up for school, he insisted on wearing his football jersey. Before we walked out the door he insisted I bring his football. When we took the Teen to school, he was in the backseat insisting we go see football stadium. We had the time before daycare. So go see football stadium we did.

Spin City


Driving into town this morning I had 15 minutes to splurge before the Gs had to be at school. I was debating what to do with the free minutes when from the back seat my young girl did exclaim, “The windmill!! Daddy! Look! The windmill!”

Ah yeah. The windmill. We’re sooo there.

The windmill appeared late last week, up behind the Broyhill Inn. I first noticed it Monday driving through town past the ASU basketball arena. It. Looks. HUGE! I’ve since been somewhat obsessed with finding the best view. Seeing from where and how it can be seen. From my office window I can just make out he propellers spinning between the pineneedles.

When I mentioned the big spinner to the wife over dinner Tuesday, Gabby interrupted. “We saw the windmill at school! It’s cool!” And, sure enough, her classroom has an unobstructed front row seat to it. (Me thinks her school has the most entertaining window in the county.)
The new Boone windmill – not to be confused with the old windmill – is 121 feet tall with three blades each 34 feet long. Seen from afar it looks huge! But like a reverse rearview mirror, the closer you get to it the smaller it appears. At least, to me.

Back to the free 15. The Gs and I headed up to the Broyhill and scrambled for a good view. Coming up the hill past the Inn it does look rather gigantic. But standing somewhat closer to it, it looks big but not that big. Kinda like when you meet a pro wrestler.

As we surveyed the view, the sun was blinding from the left. And trees obstructed the view from shared spots. I couldn’t get a good photo, either of the windmill or Gabby with her eyes open. Both thought it was cool and wanted a closer look. But me thinks you have to take a brief hike to get to it, plus possibly trespass. So maybe later.

It is quiet. Closer your eyes and you wouldn’t know it’s there. I asked Gabby if she knew what windmills do. “They spin,” she said. I then explained that it made energy, kinda like her batteries. Energy makes her toys work, as well as the TV and lights. And windmills make that energy. She kinda got the jist of it. “They make energy. Like batteries,” she later told her teacher.

When we left, we of course had to drive by the baseball stadium at the bottom of the Broyhill parking lot. To which Gavin exclaimed, “Baseball!! I see baseball daddy!” He paused. “I want to see football daddy! Show me football!” So we headed over to the new look football stadium and, sure enough, you can see that spinner from there as well.


On the way to the school, Gabby kept looking for the windmill. At one point, she could make out the blades through some trees, but just the blades.

GABBY: Look dad! I can see the mills! The mills are right there!

GAVIN: Mills! Mills!

That’s right. They’re called “mills.”

Fowl play


Excerpted from the never-to-be-released book, “Free Time with the Kids: How to have fun when time AND money are tight.”

Most mornings the Gs have day care. The doors don’t open until 8:15 on the dot, so often I have anywhere from 15 to five minutes to evaporate. Today we did so at the Duck Pond at ASU. And, of course, the Gs loved it!

I took a few slices of bread with is. As we walked toward duck land, we were greeted by a herd coming our way. Apparently they’re domesticated enough to recognize easy food when they see it. Two giggling munchkins = breakfast. So we never actually made it to the pond itself, just the outer edge. And one side note – the ducks also recognize that anyone over three feet in height is unsavory. They were up close and personal when it was just the Gs, but anytime a college student came strolling by, they fled. Only to return when the giants passed.

End result – for the cost of 20 minutes and some week old bread, we received benevolent delirium.

So I took them out to the ball game


All day Friday I teased them – if you’re good, tomorrow we’ll go to the … BASEBALL GAME! And they would rejoice, “YEAHHH!”

And for the first five minutes of our maiden Appalachian State diamond game Saturday, they were in complete awe mode. “YEEAAHHH! ….” Then they actually attempted to watch the game. Well …… they’re under 4, what do you expect?

Big G did love the “baseball cards” he got (pocket schedules from the concession stand) and Gabby made new friends (There were two little girls and a boy sitting in front of us). But most of our 90 minutes at Beaver Stadium were spent roaming (look at the doggies), eating (pocorn and Sprite, of course) and exploring (Gavin was convinced one small bus was a “firetruck”).

My highlight? Soon after we arrived, Gabby started loudly singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” She forgot half the lines, and jumbled some words, but sang it with such enthusiasm a few people nearby couldn’t help but cooo, “awwwwww.” And between innings, Gabby liked to get down.

Fanning the games


Gabby and I took in the final ASU basketball game of the season Saturday. While there, we saw one of her friends from school. His dad is a huge ASU basketball fan, and had seats just six rows behind the team’s bench. I asked if there was space to join him. There were. So down we went. I was so wanting Gabby to have some company.

Prior to the run in, we sat where we normally do – in a seat on the highest row at the top of the arena – doing what we normally do – stuffing our faces with popcorn and “Sprite” (actually Sierra Mist). Yet 10 minutes in Gabby got bored and wanted to “Go Home Now!” So I was thankful to bump into her friend.

Now, down at near-courtside, we had great views of the game, cheerleaders and dancers. But I was a bit unnerved when Gabby and her friend started yelling toward the ASU bench. Over and over they shouted three simple words, interrupted only by self-inflicted jubilation.

Hey, big man! (laughter) Hey big man! (laughter) Hey, big man! (laughter)

I felt like I was sitting with construction workers. Of course, to them, they were all big men, so I have no clue who they expected to turn around. They eventually stopped yelling and turned to other activities, including:

– Slamming down the spring-loaded seat bottoms, making them THAWK! back up.
– Dumping popcorn on the aisle and stomping every last piece to atoms
– Sliding down on said popcorn atoms until they landed THUD! on their bottoms
– Calling each other “stinky face” and pretend fighting
– Crawling on all fours under my seat to reach the “Sprite” and drinking from it like puppies

And at halftime, no surprise, Gabby stood on my lap and tried to keep up with these guys. No way that was happening, but she tried.