Keep up with those traditional outings!

It’s super important to me to keep up with family traditions. Not only do they put smiles on the faces of those who are surrounding us, they also keep those who are no longer with us, alive. That’s what makes them special! We all have those annual outings that we grew up with. Here are two of my family outings that we do each year that I’d like to share…

One of them is going to a Mets game with my dad for his birthday. It’s an annual trip we’ve been doing now for almost 13 yrs (pre pandemic). My dad’s always enjoyed a day at the stadium on his own or with friends and family.

Ahhh… The old Shea stadium. My dad (3rd one in on the right) along with my grandpa (to the right of him) eating what was most likely a yummy sausage sandwich.

My dad was always a die hard Mets fan, therefore, he raised one (yes, I know…) As I got older, I started to run out of ideas on what to get my dad for his birthday (naturally) then realized why think of one specific thing to get for him? Let’s just make a day of it and go to a game once a year!

Dad in his glory!

I started this annual tradition about 14 yrs ago. As the years went by, I found myself becoming more and more obsessed on where we were going to sit. Sort of challenging myself (and my wallet) every year.

The 1st few years were somewhat nosebleeds…

Ok, well these seats may have been more in the middle tier, but we’ve been higher up.

The next few years, we sat a bit lower. We were inching our way down to the bottom.

Then one year, I did something I probably shouldn’t have started. I went all out and said “ya know what, we are getting right behind that batting cage, if not behind the cage then at least above the dugout” and I never looked back…

Finally, ground level…
And Mr. Met!

The days of looking down from those nosebleed sections saying to my dad “one day, we are going to be sitting all the way down there” are now long gone. Once I started getting seats 10 rows in behind the dug out, that was it.. I can never go back up!

This is now my normal view.. What the hell, it’s once a year! And actually it’s not as pricey as you would think!

Our outings have become even more exciting now! One year I decided to add a special guest to meet us at the game to surprise my dad and it’s become part of our routine ever since!

Cousin Jimmie joins us each year now! It’s a Bday party!

So, if you have a family member who enjoys any type of sport, get those tickets together and go make a day of it! I’ve now amped our trip up so much that I consider it a combo gift. I’ve combined dads birthday and Father’s Day! It makes such a great gift and gives memories to last a lifetime!

Another classic of ours would be going to the track! Since I was little, at least one day throughout the summer, my grandma would pack a cooler full of meatball sandwiches wrapped in foil with drinks and off to Monmouth racetrack we’d go!

Always taking up 2 tables of course! Right in front too… ALWAYS
Grandma Martino’s meatball sandwiches classically wrapped in foil. My sister now makes these every year in honor of her…

A day at the track is about a quarter of the price than it is at a baseball game that’s for sure! Parking and admission will cost under $10, if not free on some days! Of course, there’s unlimited amount of gambling. So, gamble at your own risk.

My dad in his “picking of the horse” zone. “Do not disturb”

At $2 minimal a bet, you can still have a great day without losing your shirt! One of my favorite things to do, which has always been, is to pick the horses by name. Ok, of course their stats matter too, but if you win by choosing the long shot! Cha ching! I do know a thing or two about all of this, can you tell!?!

I look pretty good on that horse!

When I was younger, all we did was eat out of the cooler and watch the horses run. My sister would stroll me around the park to go pet the horses in the back and grab a fresh lemonade, but that was all there really was to do.

A shot of the picnic area with the stands as well

Now, the park has lots to do! They’ve got food truck festivals, family fun days, all kinds of events! Monmouth Park has become even more of a family outing than I’ve ever imagined! My family will always continue this tradition of going to the track once a year, that’s for sure!

My nieces and their poppy (the racetrack pro) waiting for the horses to come on out!
Family days at the track are the best days
There’s even sand castle contests now too!

So, with this post, I hope I’ve encouraged some of you to go ahead and make those outdoor traditions a thing! Though this pandemic has unfortunately put a temporary bump in the road here, we will still make the most of what we can. Whether it’s for a birthday or a reunion, make a day of it all… annually. Make new traditions and continue to carry the old ones on! It’s so important, you’ll be glad that you did!

Monmouth is the track that stems back to my grandpa and my memories of him in the 80’s … He loved watching his horses!

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