The “boy” is 5 ½ and slowly becoming a “person.” Meaning, he is potty trained, doesn’t always need a nap and I can trust that if I turn my back on him for more than 15 seconds and less than 20 seconds, he won’t wander off, destroy anything or put something deadly in his mouth … most of the time.
With this new found maturity, we have begun to take “dad/son adventures” where we get to share in new experiences together, from sports to movies, I have a pal to pal around with.
It’s cool for a couple of reasons:
#1- He thinks I am an expert at everything. When it comes to baseball, fishing and fixing stuff, I am “the authority.”
#2- Watching him learn and experience things for the first time is magical. The smile on his face when he caught his first fish was pure unfiltered joy. Luckily there was another fisherman near us to take the hook out, cuz’ I had no idea.
All of this takes us to the Best Week of the Summer. Last year we decided we were going to have Chicago Sports Week, where we went to his first Cubs game on a Wednesday and then a Bears pre-season game on a Thursday night! Father son bonding at its best.
We yelled, cheered, painted our faces, ate hot dogs and consumed about 140 ounces of Coke in a 48 hour period. It was awesome. We talked about both sports, about the players, the pleasure of going #1 in a troth and how to “bark like a Bears fan.”
And although “the boy” loved the Cubs game, the Bears and the excitement surrounding an NFL game got him amped up like a “real Chicago kid.”
This year as we plan for our Best Week of the Summer, we are adding an addendum to our agenda, which is the Bears Family Fest on August 2 at Soldier Field. This is an opportunity to make football more like “baseball.” While we were at Wrigley, we got there early enough to watch batting practice and get a few autographs and pictures with the players while they were coming off the field.
The Bears Family Fest gives kids a more intimate look and feel at the game and the players, families get to visit the stadium and watch the Bears practice under the lights, there’s live music, giveaways and a fireworks show after practice!
Kids are invited to Staley’s Corner during Family Fest to enjoy fun activities, games, music and to visit Staley Da Bear himself. The first 200 kids ages 4-12 to enter Staley’s Corner will receive a wristband, which will allow access to a post-practice kid’s only autograph session on the field!
Tickets are much cheaper than an NFL game and it humanizes the players and the sport for the younger kids who are just starting to learn about football and need a little more understanding of the game. Face it, large players in helmets and shields can be a little intimidating, but meeting Peanut Tillman face to face is a better way to become a fan and get behind Da’ Bears.
To learn more about the Bears Family Fest click here. You can find me and the boy running around with our faces painted “barking and head butting.” See you there.