jumbotron at a stadium

Yesterday we participated in the 1st Annual FAAN Walk for Food Allergy, held at Jacobs, er, Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland. My mom, my in-laws, and others joined us.

This event being in its first year, there were a few rough edges. The emcee was barely audible because she wasn’t talking into her microphone loudly enough. There weren’t any signs directing people to the proper gate at the stadium. But it all worked out in the end.

I was afraid that nearly nobody would show up. I thought that we’d arrive to find two or three other families, and the whole thing would feel rather pitiful. It wasn’t quite that small, but it wasn’t the enormous crowd that the Race for the Cure draws every year, either. Still, I thought: it is the first year.

My wife and I found the choice of venue a little strange. A baseball stadium, notorious for serving tons of peanuts every season, hosting a food allergy event? Really? I wonder whether the venue kept some people from participating in the walk.

After sitting around for a while listening to the emcee ramble and give a plaque to some guy (I don’t know who, due to the aforementioned lack of audibility), we were finally ready to walk.

people walking on a baseball field

The walk was billed as being one mile, but it feels like we walked much further. We had to wend our way through the parade route tunnel leading down to the ball field, do one circuit around the field itself, then take the tunnel back up to street level. Then once around the stadium exterior, back to the gate. Even that felt like more than a mile, but there was an optional second leg around the field (entailing two more trips through the lengthy parade tunnel).

Half of our group headed for the seats after the main walk, including the kids, but a few of us went back down to the field. I started later than the rest because I walked my daughter down to the front row first. For some reason, I felt compelled to catch up to the others, which I did, just before home plate (about halfway around the perimeter). Today, my shins are begging me to explain exactly why I did that.

baseball field with Indians logo painted in turf

I wish we had managed to raise more money for the event, but all things considered, it went well.

It was interesting to see some of the innards of the stadium. To be honest, I could care less about baseball, or sports in general, but seeing the hidden areas of huge buildings like stadiums fascinates me.

people exiting a tunnel

Exiting the parade tunnel.

photographer area in a stadium

Photographer’s pit.

woman walking in indoor parkinet lot

18 very exclusive parking spaces.

We walked for my three-year-old son, who (little does he know) deals with multiple food allergies on a daily basis. He’s allergic to several basic ingredients that you probably eat every day, like dairy, eggs, and soy. He’s also allergic to that Big Daddy of food allergies, peanuts. Which, if I didn’t mention already, are everywhere at baseball stadiums.

young boy sitting in stadium seating

My son, in the seats at Progressive Field.

young boy walking with sign pinned on his back

My son, walking in the FAAN Food Allergy Walk.

He walked through the tunnels and almost halfway around the field before he decided the stroller was a better option.

If you care about someone who has food allergies, consider donating to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.