Normally this time of year, I’m sharing my thoughts on the MLB All Star game. In fact, it’s kind of a tradition. You can look it up in the archives, even!

This year I was really looking forward to the All Star game, what with Royals fans highjacking the voting and sending four starters and Mike Moustakas to Cincinnati. Throw in Ned Yost and his coaching staff, plus Yost’s picks Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera, and it was going to be a night to celebrate the Royals’ fantastic October run and terrific first half on the national stage.

Except kids got in the way.

Kind of.

We had been planning a backyard campout with our neighbors for a couple weeks. Wednesday night was supposed to be the night. But when the neighbors’ grandparents decided to make a last-second trip to visit beginning Wednesday afternoon, we had to scramble. The campout got moved to Tuesday night. So after the girls swim team awards banquet, rather than racing home and putting the game on the TV, we raced home and began setting up tents.

It ended up being a pretty great night.

After two weeks of stormy weather,[1] a little front moved through Tuesday afternoon that chased away the storms, the humidity, and the heat. As we began setting up camp around 7:30, it was breezy and gorgeous, sitting in the mid–70s but seeming cooler. It felt more like a September evening than a night in the middle of July. Which is perfect if you’re going to be in a nylon tent all night.

Our group was made up of three families, so three dads and seven girls ranging from 6 to 14. And one mutt of a dog to keep us company. We had two backpacking tents, one large tent, and the neighbors’ pop-up camper set up in the space between our homes. We immediately made a joke about how property values on our side of the neighborhood were plummeting. The girls brought out their bikes and scooters, soccer balls and stuffed animals. The dads passed around a few growlers of fine local ale and prepped a Dutch oven to make campfire cobbler. The girls played, the dads drank and chatted, and we enjoyed the lovely evening. When it got dark enough, we pulled out the cauldron and lit a big fire to scare away any mosquitos that the winds weren’t pushing away. I’d check the All Star game every now and then on my phone, but mostly sat around and socialized.

With no swim practice, school, or other activities on the girls’ schedules for Wednesday, the girls got a very long leash on bedtime. I think we finally got the last ones into their sleeping bags and quiet right around midnight. The dads followed soon after[2] and we hoped that the good weather would hold.

It did. It dipped into the low 60s, which was a little cool for me in my child-sized sleeping bag, but it wasn’t intolerable. And it stayed dry. There was no screaming, no disoriented girls looking for a bathroom at 3:00 AM, or nonsense by any of our local raccoons.[3] I slept fitfully, but made it until about 7:10, when I heard my garage door open and S. back out on her way to work. All the girls were up moments later and the dads went to work making pancakes and bacon for our morning feast. After breakfast, we broke everything down, collected the scatterings left over from the previous evening, and I sat in the morning sun finishing off my current book. The girls showed no signs of being tired. In fact, my girls and the neighbors played non-stop until lunch, started again right after eating, and carried it through a trip to a local splash park together in the late afternoon.

When we got home, around 5:00, there was one meltdown and another girl was passed out in her bed about 15 minutes later. I’m shocked they lasted that long. In the evening, everyone was a little grumpy, but two of them held out on going to bed until after 9:00. I imagine I’ll have to wake them up tomorrow, as we have to make a trip south fairly early in the day. But more on that later.

Anyway, I was bummed I missed the All Star game. Especially on a night that the Royals were more present than they had ever been, and made a big impact on the final outcome. I checked the score just after Lorenzo Cain’s RBI double and was able to fire off a text to some friends about it. But that’s about all I got out of this year’s ASG.

I think it was a decent trade-off.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were over five inches below normal precipitation for the year. We’ve already doubled our normal July rain and have like half our normal annual rain over the past six weeks.  ↩

A dad and I shared the large tent, me sleeping on an air mattress with one of my girls’ sleeping bags. C. and L. were in the pop up with two other girls, and M. was in one of the backpacking tents with her best friend.  ↩

Man, we have a shitload of raccoons. At least one living under our deck. One living under the deck of some folks behind us, who loves to break into our neighbors’ trash dumpster. And a momma with 3–4 babies living under another deck in our cul-de-sac. Million dollar idea: figure out a way to drive these beasts away for good.  ↩