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Lego Subaru Park and father-son bonding in a global pandemic

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Playing Lego with my son has reached a new level thanks to the coronavirus pandemic

Matt Ralph

Back in March when sports leagues were shutting down, schools were closing and work suddenly became something the fortunate non-essential people like me could just roll out of bed to do, my son and I had a lot more time to build with Lego together.

Since one of the things my almost 5-year-old son and I have done a lot since he was a couple weeks old in a carrier at a Union Academy game at YSC Sports is go to soccer games — and we couldn’t do that anymore — we started building some of our favorite soccer venues with Lego.

Building stadiums out of Lego was something I did quite a bit of when I was a kid so it’s also been a little nostalgic building stadiums with him.

Instead of baseball stadiums I would build after going to a game at them with my dad, we built venues I’ve taken my son to like the Temple Sports Complex, the South Philadelphia Super Site where Philadelphia Lone Star plays, YSC Sports, Herbert Field at Lebanon Valley College, Olson Field at Eastern University and more. We also built a few we haven’t been to together, including the venue MLS used for the MLS is Back Tournament.

Thanks to eBay and our tireless postal carrier, we were able to build all kinds of venues large and small.

The one we arguably had the most fun building was Lego Subaru Park in large part because it meant also building a bridge we frequently drive over to visit my parents’ house in New Jersey.

Having parents with a pool in a summer when many of the things we were planning on doing — family camp, amusement park visits, etc. — was canceled ended up being a real blessing. The Commodore Barry Bridge became a link to something we could do to pass the hot summer days even as the stadium by the bridge sat empty.

A limited number of fans will be allowed into Subaru Park tonight when the Union welcome the Montreal Impact. My son and I will not be there. But we’ll probably spend some time tonight playing in our basement with Lego blocks.

We haven’t built any new soccer venues of late — we’ve built Summer Camp Island, the Peppa Pig house and more — but we are putting together sets for anyone interested in building their own Subaru Park (bridge not included). If interested you can reach out to me directly through social media or by email at matthew.r.ralph@gmail.com.