WCBS 880’s traffic reporter Tom Kaminski reflects on fatherhood and his favorite memories of his son, JT.
I have been the helicopter traffic reporter for WCBS since 1988. I have the type of job people would do anything to get. I love what I do, but that’s not who I am. I am also “Lyn’s husband”, and since 2002, I have been “JT’s Dad”. I often tell my son, “You know, being your dad is the best thing I do all day.”
I’m also, for better or worse, a Mets fan. I went to my first Mets game at Shea Stadium in 1966, with my dad and Uncle Charlie. I was 4 years old. My dad bought me a pennant and a yearbook. I don’t really remember anything about the game, but I do remember feeling very safe riding on his shoulders going to and from the stadium.
I have so many Mets memories, some better than others, but my best memories have been with JT. From the moment he was born, the one thing I wanted to do more than anything was take him to a Mets game. I finally got to do that when he was 4 years old. He loved to run up and down the Shea Stadium ramps. He loved to eat a hot dog and an ice cream after we got back to the top. And he learned about the game of baseball sitting with me in my long-time “Sunday-plan” seats in Shea’s Mezzanine Section 3. Or as JT called them, “Daddy’s Seats”.
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This past April, JT (now almost 10) was with me on Opening Day. He’ll be next to me for the last game of the year, too. Every game that we go to at Citi Field, our first stop is the bronze markers that designate the home plate, bases, and pitchers mound of Shea Stadium.
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JT still calls them “the golden bases”, and each game we go to starts with a game of catch around them.
We go inside, we go to the batting cages, we play on the wiffle ball field, we get our kettle corn and Pepsi, and then we watch the game.
The entire game. No matter what. When JT started playing baseball (and found he was good at it), suddenly what was happening on the field made sense to him. So we watch. Until the end of the game, no matter what. And regardless of the score, I treasure every single minute I spend with him in the seat next to me. That’s why, regardless of the Mets fortunes on the field, we go back again and again. We go back for the joy the game can bring. For the companionship it brings when things don’t go well. For a dad to spend quality time over a burger and a soda. For a kid to learn to love baseball so much that he sings “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” in the shower.
One of my most cherished moments as a father is captured in this picture, from the final Father’s Day game at Shea in 2008. I had gone to only one Father’s Day game with my dad ever, when I was barely a teenager. Money was tight, so going to a game was a huge occasion, so I knew taking me to this game meant a lot to my dad. All those years later, Lyn, JT and I walked down those same steps from the train. I put my JT on my shoulders as we walked toward Shea. Lyn stopped me, told me to turn around, and took this picture. In the background was the sign: “Happy Fathers’ Day”. We walked in, up those ramps to Mezzanine Section 3, to “Daddy’s Seats”.
“Happy Fathers’ Day,” indeed.