, Corbin, KY

May 12, 2014

Battling Cincinnati traffic turned me to the dark side

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at You can also visit his blog at

“But Your Spirit hit me.

It gave me new direction.

I see the deeper things.

I called it depth perception.

Now Your presence is my treasure, never ending peace.

And they can’t keep me from Your love cause it’ll never cease.”


For as long as my wife, Carmen, and I have been together, we’ve tried to make it to at least one Cincinnati Reds game each year.

And since one game a year is about all we can do, we try to really make that one game count.

We will plan several months in advance for a game that sounds particularly interesting and will really give us our money’s worth.

She is actually a Philadelphia Phillies fan, so one time we went when they were in town.

On other occasions, we’ve gotten tickets to games when the Reds have a cool giveaway, such as a bobblehead.

For a game vs. the Atlanta Braves, we were actually able to get tickets that came with all-you-can-eat hot dogs and chips so that was nice when you consider the price of concession stand food.

For this season, the decision on which game to go to was easily made.

Back in late March we heard that the May 2-4 games were going to be part of a Star Wars weekend in the stadium. That was all I needed to hear.

Characters like Chewbacca and Princess Leia were going to be making appearances around the field. Darth Vader was going to be throwing out the first pitch. Star Wars themes were going to be blasted through the loudspeakers. What more could you ask for in a trip to the ol’ ballpark?

Plus they were going to be giving out Star Wars-themed Reds T-shirts to the first 20,000 fans in attendance to Saturday’s game.

So not only did we have the weekend picked out, but we also knew which game we were going to as well.

We crossed the Ohio River and got near the stadium around 5:40 p.m. Saturday. The game was scheduled for 7:10 p.m. so we thought we were doing great on time and would no doubt get one of those free shirts.

But what we didn’t realize was that there was a pro hockey game going on next door to the stadium, and some type of marathon event going on in Paul Brown Stadium where the Cincinnati Bengals football team plays.

This really limited the parking and made traffic in downtown Cincinnati a nightmare.

What was even worse is that all around the stadium we saw signs that read, “Cincinnati Reds Parking $10 this way.” So we assumed we could just follow these signs to a parking lot and be fine.

But when we actually got to the lots themselves, they instead asked for special parking passes for entry which we did not own.

So we spent an hour battling traffic and circling the stadium on a wild goose chase for parking spots that, for all intents and purposes, did not exist.

And at every different parking lot that denied us entry, I kept getting more and more frustrated.

The traffic and the crazy roads of Cincinnati were getting on my nerves, especially as game time kept getting closer and closer. All the while you could see fans walking into the game waving their free T-shirts around — almost as if they were taunting those of us stuck in traffic.

Just like Darth Vader who was getting ready to throw out that first pitch, I was quickly turning to the dark side.

We eventually found an actual $10 parking lot but it was closer to the football stadium than the baseball stadium. It was about 6:45 p.m. by that point so we had lost over an hour of time battling traffic and looking for a parking spot. And we still had to walk several blocks just to get to the ball park.

So I was not a happy camper.

But then something happened to me.

As we were quickly pacing our way to the game, we passed one homeless person after another asking for spare change.

That’s when it hit me how much of a fool I was being, and how greedy I was being.

I was getting aggravated I might not make it to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game right on time. In all actuality, I should be thankful for the opportunity just to go to something like that.

Those homeless folks I saw would be thankful just for a warm meal or a roof over their heads. I, on the other hand, have all of that and was upset about a meaningless baseball game.

Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Me getting mad and upset about being late for a baseball game was silly and childish.

God’s promise that he will never leave us nor forsake us should be all we could ever want. If you’re constantly wanting more and more, then your heart is in the wrong place.

We should be thankful for everything God has already blessed us with and help out those who are less fortunate when we have the chance.