Recently my family had the opportunity to go to Citifield and see the Mets play. Normally, I would say that it doesn’t excite me; it is a long drive to Citifield with obscene tolls and too many other vehicles on the road. However, a friend of my husband has amazing season tickets and let us take his seats at last Saturday night’s game. These seats are 15 rows behind the Mets dugout; so close we could read the names on the back of all the jerseys without zooming in and hear them talking in the dugout! We could see and hear how hard these guys throw and hit the baseball, and how fast they swing the bat. Another perk to sitting in a section like that is that fans pay A LOT of money for these seats. So, most of the knucklehead stuff is elsewhere in the stadium and your kid is not right next to some of the vulgarity that comes with a sports crowd. I even got to have one of those teachable moments with my son during the game, which I’ll get to in a minute.

The downside of sitting so close is that all the protective netting, while absolutely necessary, prevents fans from catching foul balls and makes getting autographs difficult. But that didn’t stop our amazing night! Pete Alonzo, for those of you who don’t know he is the reigning homerun champ and Mets first baseman, was tossing a baseball over the net to the fans after each inning. And guess what? My husband managed to reach up and snag one of these tosses! My son was so excited to have a ball that was used in an inning during the game and tossed to the crowd by Alonzo; he gripped that ball for the rest of the game and even fell asleep holding it in the car ride home. The game went into extra innings and the crowd was loud and proud that night as the Mets went on to beat the Reds. What a memorable night!

The only thing that tarnished my evening a little, my husband didn’t seem to care about it, was a family that sat in front of us for part of the game. I say part of the game because these people clearly did not purchase the seats they occupied. You see, there was a couple with some of their friends who started out in those seats. They were there to have a good time, dressed well and wore nice shoes, drank expensive beverages, and were clearly infatuated with each other. They disappeared, I’m sure into one of the clubs that the tickets gives access to, around the 5th inning. Enter the hovering family of five. They descended on these seats like flies on fresh manure. It’s one thing to take seats that are not yours, but they proceeded to trash the area. The mom shed all her peanut shells on the floor and all over the seats, the kids left their melting ice cream in the cupholders, and dad told them all leave their wrappers and food trays under the seats. The original occupants of the seats never came back, but I wonder what their reaction would have been if they had. They paid a lot of money for those seats and I’m sure would not have been happy to step over peanut shells and garbage while their cupholders were turned into a sticky mess.

When trash family left before the end of the game, my son actually said, “What a mess!” I told him that is the difference between people with class and without class. It is wrong to take something that is not yours, such as those seats, and then it’s another level of wrong when you desecrate it or ruin it like they did.  I could see his little head processing it and said, “They’re just disgusting. How can people be like that?” I wasn’t sure what to say, so I just told him that the parents were clearly not raised with manners and now were raising their kids to be like them, ignorant of what class and respect is. I went on to say, “You can always tell a lot about a person by the way they treat other people, like waiters and hairdressers. When you see someone mistreating or being disrespectful to others, there is probably something unattractive about that person’s character, and they may not be someone to hang around.” My son just nodded, gripping his baseball, and went back to the game.

So here’s my motherly advice to anyone reading this. Don’t be a slob; pick up after yourself. Be respectful of the people and things around you. Show class, not trash.

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