This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Think about that for a while.the movie "bull durham" wasn't about parenting. it was about sex.
but quite often there's a correlation between sex and parenthood.
it's true. you could look it up.
i've been a parent for going on nine years. despite the insistence of some, parenthood is not always a jar of chocolate chip cookies. sometimes it's more like a pot of pickled beets. good for you, perhaps, but they leave an awful taste in your mouth.
my son is playing baseball. for the first time. i mean, really, he's totally baseball-naive. because i'm a bad parent.
i played baseball for many, many years. sometimes well. i played until my junior year in college, in fact. at that point shoulder tendinitis and marginal talent combined to turn me into a spectator.
despite all that baseball experience, i never cajoled my son onto the field. didn't even try. we urged him into other activities, of course. karate, swimming, gymnastics, indoor climbing. he's quite good at all of them.
but no baseball. what kind of father doesn't encourage his son to play baseball, for gawdsake? that's what fathers and sons do, isn't it? go down to the local park, bat and gloves in hand, and learn some fundamentals?
nope. never happened. until this year. suddenly we're playing catch-up as much as we're playing catch.
the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.turns out the boy has some baseball skills. he fields ground balls smoothly, and throws hard to first. he swings the bat and makes contact. he smiles at me, and i smile back. i tell him, "nice job," and "stay with it," and "just make contact." and he does, most of the time. when he's not turning his hat sideways, and digging in the dirt with his new cleats.
if it were important, i could teach the boy a lot about baseball. i could teach him things about the game that i never knew until long after i stopped playing. i could, maybe, help him appreciate being in the zone, the feeling that no matter what the pitcher offers up, you're going to hit it a long way the other direction.
if it were important.
baseball is simple. life is complicated. there's so much to learn.
and so little time.
Walt Whitman once said, "I see great things in baseball. It's our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us." You could look it up.
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update: game one in the boy's baseball career is in the books. game-time conditions were wet and cold, with temps in the low 40s. but the boy still wouldn't wear his coat in the dugout.
his line was one hit in three at-bats, several pitches hit foul, one pop-up almost caught, one knee abrasion from sliding into first on a ground ball.
his team won, 7-4. it was magnificent.