Ditching School for the Parade of a Lifetime…Or Not

We’re not going to the massive celebratory parade for the San Francisco Giants. At least I don’t think so. I keep going back and forth and now I seem to have settled in the back, which is pretty much where we’d be standing if we attended. I have no problem with taking kids out of school for the parade or other nontraditional educational experiences, and if I were childless, I wouldn’t have a second thought about going to the parade, but going into the massive anticipated crowd with a child seems like mayhem.

Maybe this is my age speaking, but if we could watch the parade from an overlooking apartment or building or if any of the logistics were easier, I’d go with my daughter, who is a huge Giants fan. I wouldn’t think to go without her. It would be like leaving her at home while I vacationed in Disneyland. I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t care if they see any of the parade, they just want to be there to experience history. I understand that completely, but with a child, it’s not such a clear choice. My daughter is nearly eight, which makes her too short to see anything above the crowd, but too big to carry on my shoulders. There’s the difficulty of getting to the parade route, the difficulty of staying together, of keeping her safe, of getting out, and most importantly, seeing something to make it all worthwhile. Stressing to get there, only to see the backs of the throngs of people in front of us isn’t worth it for me. If the route had gone to the ball park, I would have taken a shot. If the day wasn’t worth it, we could hop on the train to escape.

Like my daughter, I’ve been a Giants fan all my life. I don’t mind all of the late bandwagon joiners who cheered the team on in the last two months – especially because the Giants organization will need the extra money to hang on to Posey and Lincecum – but I feel a little like my nonnie felt come Christmas and Easter. A devout Catholic who never missed mass, she was always annoyed to have to sit in a back of the church during the holidays when all the other casual Catholics showed up. We’d joke that there needed to be some reserved spots closer to the alter for the true die-hards. Everyone at the Giants parade will claim to have always supported the team, much like the hordes of people who lined up for communion during Christmas Eve mass. Those of us who’ve been fans for as long as we can remember know who we are: the fans who suffered through Candlestick, the distress of Barry Bonds, we cheer through exhibition games, listen in on radio, and sit in the stands from the first to the last pitch.

Going to the parade will be memorable and historic. The TV coverage will show us more than being there would, but it cannot capture the energy of the crowd. It also can’t capture the feelings of those of us watching or listening from the afar. Being a fan is a religious devotion. My daughter knows that even though we won’t be at the parade – close to the alter – it doesn’t make us any less fanatic.

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  1. November 3, 2010
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