Remembering The Vet: Father's Day Reflections

Even with all its shortcomings, Veterans Stadium has provided a lot of fathers and sons with memories that live on forever. Whether it's a kid's first game or sharing historic moments, every father and every son can recount time spent at the concrete monster at the corner of Broad and Pattison Streets.

Next February Veterans Stadium will be gone. Concrete, iron and steel will fall to the earth, but the bonds forged between fathers and sons will stand forever. My dad and I share one of those bonds. We've attended countless Phillies and Eagles games together and each one was more meaningful then the last. Each time I make the stroll up the ramps towards the gates of the concrete giant I can feel the anticipation and electricity in the air. I take it all in with a smile, because I know that afternoon will be special. My father is right by my side most of those times I march toward my seat for that day's contest, and he's the one who makes those games worth waiting for.

Veterans Stadium is the only field of dreams I've ever known and we have some amazing memories there. Those moments frozen in time will never be forgotten, even after the Phillies and Eagles make their moves into shiny new stadiums across the street. From my first Phils game to my final Eagles playoff game, Veterans Stadium has been a part of my life and I'll cherish every moment spent there with my dad.

Just as his father did for him, my dad has raised me to be a Philadelphia sports fan. He taught me to bleed Phillies red, white and blue along with Eagles green. Neither of us would have it any other way. Hopefully I'll someday be blessed with a son of my own to mold into the type of fan that my dad can be proud of.

My father has done everything he can to get me to as many games as possible and I thank him for that. We've seen Curt Schilling fan 13 batters together, including Mark McGwire, in 1998 while sitting in field level seats. We both watched in agony as the Eagles fell to Seattle in their 1998 home opener against the Seahawks 38-0, from a perfect 50-yard line view. We've booed Travis Lee, Mike Piazza, Terry Francona and Kurt Warner together. We've cheered Randy Wolf on to his first career victory against the Blue Jays in 1999, and he gave me the idea to get my ticket stub signed, and it still hangs on my wall today. We were fortunate enough to catch the Eagles and Redskins in the final regular season football game at the Vet. These are only a few of the moments that define our relationship, and in my opinion is that there is no better place than Veterans Stadium to spend time with my dad.

Yes, the Vet is nothing more then a plain concrete bowl lacking the personality of today's new ballparks and stadiums, but the moments spent there are what will be the legacy of the grizzled old stadium. Moments like my first soft pretzel and the high fives shared after Phillies victories and seeing the look in my father's eyes after the Phillies complete a solid victory are the type of reflections that will make grown men shed a tear.

Even after Veterans Stadium is gone, I know that the times we've spent there will live on forever in a field of memories. I appreciate the hard work my dad put in to get me to games that some never see, and for the friendship he's given me through the years. I know that we'll have plenty of great times at the new homes of the Phillies and Eagles, but nothing can replace the afternoons we've spent together at the Vet. So when the day comes and there's nothing left but a macadam grave to my field of dreams, I'll be able to look back with a smile and think of the memories my father and I have shared at Veterans Stadium.


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