Orioles Opening day “First Game Gang” is filled

March 16, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Last Friday morning, I announced a concept designed to bring together 9 groups of parent/child two-somes who will all attend this year’s Orioles home opener together on April 9.

I dubbed it “Drew’s First Game Gang” because the theme centers on a parent taking his/her son or daughter to their first-ever O’s home game. 

I purchased 18 tickets to the 2010 home opener back in February and vowed to give them 16 of them away (Ethan and I are using 2 of them) with the only condition being that the parent(s) had to write an essay to me bragging about their child/children.

I’m pleased to report this morning that all 16 tickets to Opening Day have been claimed and 8 parents answered the call.

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting the various essays that were provided to me by the parent who wanted to take his/her son or daughter to the game on April 9.

Here’s one of them.  It comes from Brian Pollara:

Drew,

I was so excited to hear about your opening day contest this morning when I was driving to work. I think it is a wonderful idea and I am happy to have the opportunity to have a chance to win. Here is my essay:

Growing up I always new that I wanted children at some point in my life. I’ve always liked being around kids and my wife and I both agreed that we wanted to start having children pretty fast after we were married. Well, 4 months after we tied the knot, we were pregnant with our first child, a girl. Isabella Claire Pollara was born on August 13th, 2008 at GBMC hospital. She was our little angel from the start. That day was one of the best days of my life.

Let me backtrack for a moment. I grew up in a highly exposed sports household. Both of my parents are College Park alumni, and you will always find a Terps game on (football or basketball) during their respective seasons. I remember talking to my father after they won the national title in 2002 and him telling me how happy he was as he never thought he would see it happen in his lifetime. My father used to take me to Cole Field House growing up to see at least one or two games a year and I remember the joy and excitement that I got from watching those games. Not only do we root for the Terps, but the Orioles and Ravens are always on the TV or radio if you are at my house. I have several memories of listening to Rex Barney and Jon Miller calling the games as it became engraved within my summer childhood memories. My father’s company was fortunate enough to own season tickets at Memorial Stadium and continued to own them through the transition to Camden Yards. Because of this, I was always guaranteed the privilege of attending games each and every summer in section 52. And when we went, we rooted hard and cheered loud because the Orioles are our team. I’ve loved the Orioles since as long as I can remember and I find it hard to consider ever losing that feeling. I want to pass this feeling onto my child. Yes, the last 12 years have been hard, but that’s another essay for another day.

When my daughter was born, I told my wife that I wanted to start a tradition. I wanted to bring her to every Orioles opening home game each and every year. It would be our daddy/daughter date and something to look forward to every April. I’ve had future visions of taking her there as she continues to grow and hopefully our tradition will continue until she is old enough to take her own children. Now being that she is 19 months old, there was an opportunity to take her to opening day last year, but unfortunately I had a work conflict and was not able to attend the game. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take to any games last year, so when I heard about this contest, I was overjoyed with the opportunity for her to share her first game with other parents and children looking for the same experience.

I think a lot of fathers, especially those who grew up playing sports, dream of having a son that can gain the same experiences that their fathers had growing up. I have always wanted a son that I could coach baseball to as my father did with me, but somehow I had a feeling that my wife and I would conceive a daughter which we did. I was completely happy about this. Instead of baseball, I can coach softball. I can still encourage my daughter to be active in sports and gain the life experiences that playing sports has to offer.

Ok, I know you said that you wanted us to brag and talk about our children so here we go. My daughter Isabella is the love of my life. She has me wrapped around her finger and I would do anything for her. I dread the days when she is old enough to ask me for things (like keys to my car), and give me a look with her beautiful hazel eyes to which will have me crumble and give in to her every desire. I am such a sucker when it comes to her.  She is a very happy child and always loves to smile and laugh. Over the past month she has really turned a corner as her vocabulary and talking abilities have increased and she is really starting to understand our conversations. When we watched the Ravens games this past season, she even yelled “Go, Go, Go!!!!” just like her daddy, as I was yelling at the TV. I find it hard to remember when she wasn’t a part of my life which is interesting since she is only 19 months old. I never thought I would love something as much as I love her as becoming a parent has changed me for the better. She loves the company of other children, and is just the sweetest and prettiest little girl you will ever meet. Drew, I have always been a fan of your show and radio station, and I ask that you consider my situation and allow me to begin my tradition by letting WNST take part in it.

Well, what would this essay be if I didn’t include a picture? This pic is from Thanksgiving last year. No, we are not Amish…we decided to dress her up as a little pilgrim for the day in light of the holiday. How could you deny that cute little face from going to the game with you? I’ve already got her Orioles onesie picked out.

Brian in White Marsh

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