Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Boston Cannons Birthday

For Henry's friend party, we took him and eight friends to see a Boston Cannons game (that's professional lacrosse, in case the team name doesn't ring any bells).

But first, we had a family party complete with a hamburger cake:

While I do love baking and eating cakes, I did not make this cake.  Our local Stop and Shop is responsible for this particular creation.

I wasn't able to eat any cake, myself, but I'm told it was delicious.  It certainly looked good.  

The next day was Henry's "friend party."  We had all the boys meet up at our house and then we drove them to Harvard Stadium for the game.  Henry chose this same birthday party last year and Gordy and I were eager to improve on the experience.  The main element that we changed was that we purchased the Birthday Package.  While last year, we just bought the tickets and treated the kids to food while they watched the game, this year we looked forward to having the birthday party team provide us with a pre-game picnic and the chance to meet an actual player.  While last year, we found ourselves running back and forth between the stadium, the concession stands and the bathrooms, this year Gordy and I were hoping to fill the boys up with food before the game began so we could take advantage of those full bellies and actually watch a few minutes of the game ourselves.  After all, it's hard to carry dinner and drinks for nine children when you only have two hands.

When we arrived at the party area, we found our table and waited for the player to arrive.  Some company had been handing out promotional sunglasses, so the boys all looked like Tom Cruise circa 1983.  

The player who was assigned to our party was #3, Pat Heim.  He signed the sunglasses and posters and then did a short question and answer session.  Sadly, these fifth grade boys did not have a whole lot of questions for a professional lacrosse player.  One would think they would, but apparently these particular boys were either not feeling creative or else they considered it uncool to act starstruck by a professional athlete.  Gordy and I did most of the question asking but only because we felt badly that no one else was participating.  Okay, maybe we were a little interested in what his life is like.  We did learn that Pat doesn't live in New England at all -- he's from Philadelphia -- and he flies to Boston every weekend for practice and games.  On his off-time, Pat is a representative of a lacrosse manufacturing company.  

After Pat left and went off to practice, the birthday party team serve our picnic dinners.  Along with an assortment of drinks, each boy received a red-striped box containing a piece of pizza, a bag of potato chips and an ice cream sandwich.  It was the perfect meal.... for a five year old.  Unfortunately, these are 11 year old boys and they are ALWAYS HUNGRY.  The proffered picnic was really just an appetizer to them.  Gordy and I realized pretty quickly that our mental image of sitting with the boys and watching the game was just a figment of our imagination.  In reality, we'd be schlepping back and forth to that concession stand after all.  

We went into the stadium early to watch the warm up and beg for a ball.

We took pictures and read our programs.  Gordy took dinner orders and went off to get the first of two rounds of food.  When entertaining our girls and their friends, we have noticed that when food orders are taken, the girls choose things like popcorn, ice cream and candy.  With boys, it's a completely different situation.  Without being given a menu, the boys chose ribs, hamburgers, pull-pork sandwiches and chicken sandwiches.  In other words:  meat, meat and more meat.

The game began and Gordy was able to watch almost an entire half before the kids had to use the bathroom and before they started getting hungry again.

I stayed behind and saved our seats... and our programs, one boy's lacrosse stick and a pair of the free sunglasses.  It was a strange night and apparently there is some unspoken rule among professional lacrosse fans that says if you leave things on your seat, it is free for the taking.  The man who tried to take one of our programs actually seemed annoyed at me when I politely told him that it was ours and we wanted to keep it.  "You mind?" he asked.  Um.  Yes?  Another person picked up the sunglasses and showed them to her companion.  "Those are ours," I said, starting to get worried that little me wouldn't be able to guard the entire nine-person row after all.  Luckily the woman put them back down and I didn't have to challenge her to a rumble.  

I was beginning to wish that I had accompanied the boys to the bathroom.

As the sun went down, the temperature dropped and it was FREEZING.

The boys warmed themselves by stuffing their legs into their sweatshirts and shouting encouragement to the team.  Luckily for us, the Cannons scored 17 goals, so there was ample occasions to jump up and down.

Was the birthday package worth it?  Meeting Pat Heim was fun and the food offered was tasty.  Henry enjoyed seeing his name on on the jumbo-tron.  Perhaps it was.... 

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