Many families have traditions that center not around the dining room table, but rather the television set. Other families have built their sports traditions around a particular section of the local ballpark or stadium. It’s easy to look over such sports traditions when we’re documenting family stories. However, sports traditions are often imbued with deep emotional connections.
Even though we live in the Detroit area, my kids grew up watching the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a continuation of my husband’s childhood traditions. In his family, fall Sunday afternoons meant tuna fish sandwiches, a Steelers game, and a nap. I vetoed the tuna fish part, but we continue the rest. Although not together physically, my husband, his parents, and his siblings’ continue to root for what used to be the home-team together.
What team(s) has your family traditionally supported? Why and how did this start? What family member started the tradition? Did you attend the games in person? Did you have season tickets? What made this tradition particularly fun or meaningful? What was the biggest rivalry?
Stadium and Ballpark Memories
Here in Detroit folks grew up going to Tiger Stadium and the Silver Dome, which have been replaced by Comerica Park and Ford Field. Recently the Silver Dome auctioned off seats, allowing people to purchase the seats they remember sitting in to view the big games.
As locals picked up the Lion-blue seats, news crews interviewed them. To a man, memories of the athletes took a back seat to the personal relationships they remembered. They wanted a physical reminder of games with dad or grandpa. And, they wanted to continue the traditions with their kids—even though the Lions haven’t been exactly stellar of late.
Even though seats aren’t auctioned off everywhere, the sentiments are universal. We hang photos and pennants of old stadiums, remembering the fun we had with family.
Does your family have sports traditions that started in a particular ballpark or stadium? Is it still in use? If not, do you have memorabilia in your house to help remember it? Did you have a favorite section? Better yet, do you have pictures of yourself attending games?
Because three out of the four of us are soccer players, soccer tends to take top billing at our house. As I sit with my twenty-year-old watching World Cup games, I keep flashing back to when he was twelve. At that point, he dreamed of one day playing in the Cup. Those are sweet memories.
What sports does your family favor or play? Do sports traditions in your house involve going on the ice, field, or court? Do you play a sport that a parent or grandparent played? Do your sports traditions involve practicing in the backyard? Were your parents fans or coaches? How do you feel when you think about teaching the sport to your kids or grandkids?
This is where you comment! I’d love to hear about the sports traditions at your house. What fond memories revolve around a ball or puck?