by Joseph Vivens

Sam was ecstatic because “today was the day.” He pushed past the front door screen and
jumped out to the porch, letting it slam behind him with a crack. The cool breeze worked in tandem with the sun and clouds amidst the blue sky, completing the recipe for a perfect day.
Sam rushed to get outside as his mother harangued him about his hygiene.

Brushed,” he replied, annoyed.
Lotion?” She inquired.

Sam scratches his skin, hoping not to leave an ashy trail.

“I’m good!” He proclaimed.


Sam paused and thought for a minute.


“Go put on your deodorant!” She chastised.

He ran inside his home and hurriedly applied his deodorant. Sam was unbridled, excited for the one thing that would start his perfect day: his dad was taking him to his first baseball game. The phone call came a week earlier when his father told him he had the best seats in the stadium.

“Home run row, Sammy! Home run row! That's where we’re parked,” he said with the enthusiasm of a car salesman.

Sam wouldn’t know if his dad was making it up because he had never been to nor seen a real game in his seven-year life. Everything he knew about baseball came from TV and a few conversations with his classmates. But there he was, rushing to get to the porch, unable to contain his excitement.

As Sam sat down on the second to last porch step, he began to imagine his dad pulling up in his souped-up Honda Civic he called Black Pearl. Sam thought his dad’s car was awesome. It was all black with red trim, silver spoke rims, and a muffler that roared like a lion in the jungle. If it sounds like a fast car, it’s because it was fast.

Unlike his mom, Dad allowed Sam to sit in the front passenger seat. Sam took this opportunity to measure his height by where the seatbelt shoulder strap rested on his body. He had been waiting for the day it would be tucked under his chin and not resting over his face. To his amazement, he had grown tall enough; gone were the days that he had to put the shoulder strap behind his back because of his height.

The conversation was filled with wisdom and insight on the ride to the stadium. Sam would listen intently as his dad told him about the best video games on the Xbox Game Pass, how to wear his baseball cap, and what the ultimate toppings were for his froyo. Looking away from the road to ensure maximum eye contact with his son, Sam’s dad spoke in a syncopated rhythm for dramatic effect.

“Sweets, Sammy! No fruit, ever. You got to pack it with candy. Froyo is already healthy, so it evens out with sweets.”

Sammy smiled ear-to-ear and hung onto every word.

As they turned the corner, Sam saw it: Nationals Park. He leaned forward to soak it in, as
he felt the soft breeze against his cheeks. Sam thought about how the colors of the American flag had never looked so vivid. He saw the Nationals mascots in front of the building taking pictures with fans. Despite what all his friends had told him about the park, it was still a fantastic sight to see.

They pulled up to the front of the stadium and parked next to a hot dog vendor.

“Ooo, Dad? Can I have one?” Sam asked.

“Not until we’re inside.” He leaned in and whispered, “They’re fresher inside.”

Dad held Sam’s hand as they passed different concession stands inside the stadium. Sam
could smell what each stand was selling by the unique aroma that filled the air: popcorn, hot dogs, churros, and nachos. The menagerie of fragrances made Sam think, so, this is what baseball smells like.

Then, without warning, Sam’s dad stopped and stared at him inquisitively. The look quickly turned to a stern grimace.
“Wait a minute. No, no, no, Sammy!”
Sam was alarmed because he rarely hung out with his dad and feared he had angered him. The tone of his voice left Sam frozen in fear; he wondered what he could have done wrong.
“Sammy, where’s your baseball glove?”
Sam felt flustered and began to stutter. He was unaware that he had sinned by showing up to a baseball game without a glove.
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