Wednesday, May 2, 2018

🎶Take Me Out To The Ball Game🎶

It won’t take you long to figure out that we are a family that loves going to sporting events. Whether it’s NFL, NBA, Major League Lacrosse, Minor League Baseball, or just our school’s teams if we’re not watching from the couch, you can find us in the stands cheering loudly for the home team!

A few years ago, I thought going to a game with young kids was difficult. The diaper bag has to be big enough to hold everything, but the stadium only allows clear bags so you frantically search the house for that tote bag you got from Bath & Body Works two summers ago because it’s the only clear tote you have. Don’t forget the snacks for the toddler - you know she’ll be hungry 5 minutes after you sit down, but make sure it doesn’t look like anything an adult would want to snack on because those aren’t allowed. Oh, you actually wanted to watch the game? Hahahahaha! You’ll be running up & down the steps & making multiple laps around the concourse because the kids have learned that if they say they have to go potty, they don’t have to sit still in the plastic seat anymore. I am so very, very, very glad that we were well past that stage by the time my MS symptoms decided to appear. To those of you who are dealing with both scenarios at once, know that you are a superhero & I am absolutely amazed by you!!!

Nowadays attending games has lead to a new world of difficulties I had never considered before. Since MS is unpredictable, I’m never sure if I will be walking in with no assistive devices (SSSSHHHHH!!!! Don’t tell my doctors!), a rollator (a walker with a seat to rest on & I’m lucky enough that mine converts to a wheelchair if I get too tired), or a standard wheelchair. Soon, I will also be throwing a powerchair into the mix because I don’t have enough assistive devices taking up space in my home already. Anyway, it makes purchasing tickets a bit more challenging. Do I need to purchase handicap seats, do I buy a ticket near the top so I have a place nearby to put my device, or do I hope for a fantastic day & just blindly pick the best available cheap seats? Fortunately, I’ve learned that I have stressed about this way more than I needed to because at every stadium we’ve gone to the staff have been super helpful!

After making calls before buying our tickets at each stadium, I’ve learned that no matter what seats we purchase, they will make accommodations depending on how I’m doing and I’m always amazed at how nice everyone is. If I can’t handle the steps to my seat that day, there are usually handicap seats in reserve or a few seats available in the nosebleed section. Most ticket sales offices have told me to simply purchase the best available cheap seats & if I need to make changes to handicap seating, I can call before the game and they will change it. If I forget to do so (my memory is absolutely terrible), and I show up in my wheelchair, the staff that help you find your seats suggest alternatives & show us where to go. When we purchased season tickets, I expressed concerns after the purchase was made & they made sure our seats were in the upper row closest to the handicap section. If I can manage the 3 steps to my seat, my hubby parks the rollator in the handicap section for safekeeping & joins me. If it’s a particularly rough day, I’m wheeled to the handicap section & they bring seats for the rest of my family.

Watching for that homerun ball to head our way
Weather is another factor that I never considered before other than to wonder if I packed enough sunscreen or needed jackets. Temperature is a common trigger for MS symptoms. If it’s too hot or too cold I may be able to make it to my seat, but I will have one heck of a time making it back up the stairs. So far I’ve been lucky & the only thing I’ve noticed with heat is that I can’t do hot tubs anymore, but cold is a major game changer. For those of you with heat sensitivity, I’m told cooling vests are amazing! The first NFL game we went to after my diagnosis was incredibly cold. I had no trouble walking down the steps to our lower level seats (well, no more than usual anyway), but when it came time to leave I could not get my legs to cooperate at all. My left leg kept collapsing and neither wanted to move. Fortunately, we were with a group and had plenty of people to help me get up, but I was terribly embarrassed. If it’s even slightly chilly, I’m bringing a coat to wear over my sweatshirt and I’ve got a blanket to cover my legs. I try to save as much energy as possible the day before and day of the game so I have enough spoons left for fun (see my Spoon Theory post if you're not sure what that means) and then make sure to enjoy the moment. It’s still tricky sometimes, but at least I feel more prepared.

Great seats, but so cold!!!
Our kids are older, but some things never change. They still say they’re hungry or thirsty five minutes after we sit down, and Turtle Monroe is still young enough to get fidgety if the game isn’t as exciting as she’d like. There are still moments where we don’t get to actually watch as much of the game as we’d like because we’re trying to keep an eye on them a row or 2 away while they’re sitting with friends. Despite the challenges associated with attending, I wouldn’t miss out on these memories - they’re too much fun! The kids dance to the music, we learn all the cheers & shout with the crowd, and it’s always big grins & high fives when our team scores. I love that even though my mobility has changed, we can still make our way into the stadium to root for the home team!


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