My nephew turns 10 this year. When my brother asked him how he wanted to celebrate his birthday, my nephew said he wanted to see a Memphis Grizzlies basketball game. In Memphis. My brother and his family live in a suburb or New Orleans, but my brother agreed to the road trip and the tickets.
Your first thought may be similar to what mine was: “That’s too much for a 10-year old. You’ll spoil him, and he won’t have anything to look forward to.” When you learn that the two of them went to a Miami Heat game in Miami last year, you’ll feel justified in your apprehension. But my brother made a valid point: the trip to Memphis would be more memorable cost about the same as a traditional birthday party with cake, entertainment, and party favors for 12 to 15 other kids.
Still not convinced? Tell me what you did for your tenth birthday.
I can’t remember either. I’m sure there were neighborhood kids and a cake involved, but that’s the extent of my recollection.
The memories my brother and nephew are making will last longer in part because of their relationship and in part because each game is one step closer to accomplishing a larger goal: to see every NBA team play on their home court. What a treasure for the two of them to appreciate for years to come! It’s far more valuable than an hour in a bouncy house or playing miniature golf. Some things are worth more than money.
That being said, I’ll be celebrating my 44th birthday at a roller rink with 20 to 30 of my closest friends. There’s a pretty good chance my birthday will be memorable, too, but for different reasons. Any time you do something out of the ordinary or unexpected for your age, people take notice. Why should kids have all the cool birthday memories?
Roller skating is also a cheap way to celebrate. When you’re an adult, your party guests don’t expect you to pay their way into the roller rink. You don’t have to provide the cardboard flavored excuse for pizza they offer. And party favors would push me over the line to ridiculousness. (I’m hugging that line as it is.) In return, my guests have been told I don’t expect gifts. Their gift to me is paying their skate rental and laughing with me in a nostalgic environment for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Doesn’t that sound like fun, provided nobody breaks a bone?
Side note: since the roller rink doesn’t allow alcohol, my guests don’t expect me to provide it and they can’t bring their own. There will be enough falling all over ourselves without the help of any kind of substance other than age.
All in all, my skate rental and the cost of a gourmet burger afterwards will be less than $20. The Instagram posts during and after the event: priceless.