My six year old son is really athletic.  Any sport he attempts, he performs really well. In gymnastics, he is a fearless monkey.  In soccer, he is aggressive and agile. In T-Ball, he is a natural. He even pays attention unlike other 5-6 year olds that entertain themselves by tossing their hats in the air, spinning around, or chit-chatting with friends out on the field. My son pays attention, watches the ball, catches it, and even gets other little t-ballers out. He loves to play first base, because it gets the most action in T-Ball.

My husband and I can see him continuing baseball, maybe being a star player in high school. Maybe he will get a scholarship and play in college or go to the major leagues. We can see the potential he has. But there is One. Major. Problem. PEANUTS. “…buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks…” anyone that has been to a baseball game knows there are peanuts and they are EVERYWHERE.  My baseball star of a son is severely allergic to peanuts.  Touching a peanut or touching something with peanut residue can send him into anaphylaxic shock- which can kill him.

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening type of allergic reaction. Symptoms develop rapidly, often within seconds or minutes. Many experience swelling in their throat, causing them to suffocate. When my son was a toddler, we took him to a nice park in my hometown of Wheaton.  There were several baseball diamonds near the playground.  I followed my giddy toddler up the play structure only to find a peanut shell sitting at the top. I quickly scooped up my son and took him away from the area. (I noticed shells all around the playground).  I walked him over to the empty baseball diamond only to realize the source of the peanuts was in fact the baseball diamond.

He loves baseball, but can’t even attend a real game. The only professional game he gets to attend is the Kane County Cougars in St. Charles, Illinois. One night each year, they host a completely peanut-free game.  We can go to the park, walk or sit anywhere without encountering peanuts. I have been to other games without my son and the ground is literally covered in peanuts and peanut shells. I myself have been guilty of eating and dropping peanuts at a Cubs game when I was in my 20s. Just this past weekend, my husband and I attended a Cubs game, and I was shocked to see just how much of a peanut mess there was.  The seats were COVERED in peanuts and peanut shells. COVERED. You couldn’t move a few inches without encountering peanuts at Wrigley Field. I was sad to realize my son will never get to go to a Cubs game or any other team’s games unless they do a peanut-free night.  Buy me some popcorn and gummy bears instead.