My little slugger’s little slugger

Published 11:47 pm Friday, February 13, 2009

If there was one day that I wish I had a side job, it would be today.

Between the sweetheart dinners, vases of flowers, boxes of candy and love notes that will be passed around today, the current economic condition will be forgotten — at least for a few hours.

I don’t think my wife would understand if I totally glazed over Valentine’s Day, and I doubt many of yours would either.

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Valentine’s Day is recession-proof. Whether you opt for a Hershey’s bar and a card or you’re a big spender, some gesture today will go a long way.

For the past several years I’ve been buying for two special ladies: my wife, Tiffany, and our daughter, Lizzie.

Lizzie is usually tickled with a bag of M&Ms and a card that plays music, but this year I went a little outside of the box.

By the time you read this column, Lizzie will be ankle-deep in tee-ball swag. Finally, my little slugger is old enough to take to the softball field, and for that achievement, she’s been richly rewarded with a gear bag, tee-ball bat, wiffle balls and a glove.

I spent way more on Lizzie this year than I did Tiffany, but please don’t tell her.

I’ve been anticipating Lizzie’s first opening day since she was born.

I’ve promised myself not to be one of “those dads.” You know the kind: the dads who relentlessly push their children and suck all the fun out of sports. I didn’t have one of “those dads,” and it’s only fair that Lizzie has fond memories of whatever she decides to make of this experience.

I grew up on the baseball field. When I was a kid, you got to the complex for the first game – maybe several hours before your own – and you stayed until the last game. It was an all-day affair fueled by hotdogs, Big League Chew and Coke.

Opening Day in Midfield, Alabama, was like the Rose Parade – in fact, there was a parade. The complex was like a carnival with the baseball games stuck somewhere in between.

Being the social butterfly that she is, I’m sure Lizzie will enjoy this rite of passage as much as anyone, and if it earns her a bid on the 2024 US Olympic Team, then that’s just an added bonus.