is home to the minor league baseball team the Dragons
They play at Fifth Third Field, one of the finest minor league stadiums in the entire United States
It is affordable family entertainment and Felicia and I are lucky to be season ticket holders.
As a special way to celebrate the impending opening of the 2007 campaigns for both our local baseball teams, the Cincinnati Reds played an exhibition game versus the Florida Marlins at Fifth Third field.
Felicia and I had four tickets and were going to be joined by her father and his lady friend for a quality afternoon of baseball. At the last moment her father had to cancel because of an illness his lady friend was not quite over. So, we were walking into the game with two extra tickets.
There is a tradition in Dayton where people without tickets stand outside the fences and hopefully wait for someone with extra tickets to pass them on. As we were walking by the fences I spotted a couple of kids. They were not the kind of kids anyone was interested in giving tickets to and then having to sit next to them during the game.
“Do you all have tickets? I asked.”
“No, unfortunately, we don’t.” answered the young man.
“Would you like a couple of tickets?”
Uh, we really don’t have the money for tickets.”
“They’re free if you care to join us.”
The look on their faces was thanks enough and we told them to meet us at the front gate and we’d get them in. Once they were in the stadium introductions were made and we took them down to our seats which are located six rows dead-center behind home plate. They were grinning from ear to ear and happy as mice in a welfare-cheese-storage facility.
"Dude, this rocks so freakin hard!" "Mandatory team mascot photo."
As we began talking the amount of connections between the four of us were simply unbelievable. Micah and Felicia are drummers, Andrea and I are both big fans of the Moody Blues and we all wound up having friends in common. It was very cool. It was like we were all supposed to come together for this event.
After the game we invited them over to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes play the Georgetown Hoyas for the right to play the Florida Gators in the National Championship game on Monday night. We had a great time and wound up making some new friends.
It turns out that these two kids everyone else saw only as a couple of hippies and wanted nothing to do with had a good story. Micah is a medical student working his way through school without his parent’s financial support. He is also working at the hospital where Felicia and will be having our baby. Yeah, how cool is that?
Andrea is a bright woman who has followed in the path of her hippie parents. She has lived an adventurous life and partied across the country. Now she is enrolled in college and preparing to follow the dream of developing her intellectual potential. There are stars in her eyes when she talks of going to school and it is nice to see such a sight in a young person’s eyes.
The time we shared together was a wonderful way to start the spring season. It was even more so because I had just lost a good friend the night before. I’m glad I followed my feelings and reached out to these two strangers.
"Now I'm going to take this puppy deep..."
You see, I follow my feelings a lot. As a matter of fact, many of the opinions I express are a direct result of the feelings I get about things. If something feels wrong to me I carefully study and research that thing until I understand it. I work hard to have opinions about things. I also try to have opinions based upon analysis of factual data and not simply as a result of emotional investment or reaction to things.
What is even more important to me than having opinions is accepting people for their overall strength of character instead of rejecting them for having a different opinion than I do about a thing. It is my experience that if one rejects a person every time a difference of opinion is discovered eventually one finds oneself alone with only their opinion to keep them company.
I lost a friend because of an opinion I expressed here on my blog. It saddens me, but I simply can not, nor will I ever apologize for either having an opinion or expressing it. If something I post on my blog arouses an emotional response in your being then I have done my job as a writer. I want you to think about what you read on these pages. I want you to have an emotional reaction to the content of my blog.
What I do not want you to feel from the words you read here is that you (as an individual) are being personally attacked. I do my very best to target institutions and leave individuals out of the line of fire. If you ever find yourself of the opinion that you as an individual are being attacked by the content of my blog I ask you to carefully examine that opinion. Is it based upon careful analysis of factual data or simply an emotional response based on investment or reaction?
What brings us together is our shared experience. What keeps us together is accepting each other in spite of our individual differences. Each of us is a unique individual with a unique set of worldviews and opinions about every topic under the sun. In the end, isn’t that simply one more trait we all share in common? Isn’t it just one more part of the great shared experience we all know as life? Please, don’t throw friends away because of a difference of opinion. They are far too valuable a commodity to be so easily discarded.