Surgery, Tradition and Albert Pujols’ Nostrils (But Not Really the Nostrils)
August 20, 2011

A hysterectomy is no minor procedure. Like anything involving an abdominal incision, it’s one of the biggies. So when I realized that’s the direction we were going, I made plans to live it up with my family and a few friends before being out of commission for several weeks.

And we did. Beginning with WordCamp Fayetteville. Jim’s and my trip to northwest Arkansas was great. The next weekend we enjoyed one last trip to Greers Ferry Lake with the kids and extended family. And last weekend — my last one before surgery — we enjoyed dinner with long-time friends on Friday night and left early Saturday morning for St. Louis, for what was my first Cardinal game in probably about 40 years.

Cardinal baseball at Old Busch Stadium
Old Busch Stadium sometime in the 60s or 70s.

This was a particular thrill for me, as my daddy, who passed away suddenly in 1993, raised me on Cardinal baseball. Watching the games on TV and listening on the radio in the era of Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and the 1968 World Series was a family ritual and Daddy’s comments and insights taught me more than most girls knew about the game.

As I write this, I’ve begun the slow recovery from surgery and am making progress, but it helps to remember this time last week, when we were at the ballpark after a late lunch in Downtown St. Louis with a dear high school friend and fellow Cardinal fan. We got to the stadium early to walk around and see it from every angle. I wanted to see the somewhat-controversial statue of Stan Musial, the smaller statues of former Cardinal greats and just soak in the atmosphere. Pretty much all of Downtown St. Louis decks out in red for game day and lots of folks get there early, as we did, to watch batting practice.

Catcher Yadier Molina (left) and Manager Tony LaRussa (right) in the dugout

After watching the tail end of Cardinal batting practice, we headed for the Stadium Store, to spend the dollars I had earmarked for t-shirts and souvenirs for everyone. We took our bags full of gear and headed for our seats to settle in for the game.

Jim had rented us a Nikon D7000 with a telephoto lens for the trip; I told him I wanted to be able to shoot Albert Pujols’ nostrils. Not really, but I did want to be able to zoom in close. And it was awesome. I started snapping as soon as players and coaches started filtering into the dugout and got really excited watching Yadier Molina strap on his gear for the game and seeing Manager Tony LaRussa emerge from the clubhouse.
Sadly, the game was not ours to win, and wasn’t even a decent contest, but I did get an awesome shot of Albert at bat.


And this awesome shot of me with my girls and their boyfriends sitting on the Cardinal dugout.

Win or lose, I’ll always love my Cardinals, just like Daddy raised me to do. I’m so glad we had this time for me to share it with my girls like he did with me — we all agreed it would be a great family tradition to continue into another generation.

And it’s an awesome way to take my mind off this icky surgery …

There are (many) more pix on my Flickr profile, so check them out if you just have to see more.

What sports traditions run in your family?


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