Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Game to Remember

Last night Gabriel went to his very first baseball game. Although he's only 8 months old, he enjoyed seeing the colors and sounds of the ballpark.   The team mascot came over to visit with Gabe and he reacted by just staring back perplexed.  After being shown off to  friends and getting a taste of all that makes up a baseball experience by the 5th inning we were on our way home.  He fell fast asleep in his car seat. 

 At one point at the game I whispered in his ear as I held him saying, "I know you won't remember all this, but I'll tell you about it when you're older."

Do you remember your first visit to a baseball game with your dad?  Maybe it was another type of sporting event or maybe it wasn't a sporting event that holds that place of honor of first memory with dad.

I can recall my dad taking me to a tiny local American Legion ballpark to see a traveling fast pitch softball team called, 'The King and His Court'.  They were a team of 4 guys who would take on a local all-star team of 10.  They were the softball equivalent to basketball's 'Harlem Globetrotters'.  I still have the program with the players autographs. I suppose I was about 10 years old.

I remember jumping up and down in our den as my dad and I watched on television Boston Red Sox catcher, Carlton Fisk will the baseball away from the foul pole to stay fair for a game winning home run in the 1975 World Series.

Then there was that unforgettable non-sport moment that my father intentionally shared with me when I was 7.  I recall him entering my bedroom and waking me as he turned on the television.  As the little 13 inch black and white came on he said, "Wake up son, you want to see's history."  Man was about to step onto the surface of the moon.

At 16, I remember laying in the silence of my bed at home hearing the phone ring late in the night.  I can still hear my father's bare footsteps going toward the kitchen to answer the phone.  I heard only his side of the conversation.  It was the hospital calling with the news that his father, who'd been sick for several weeks, was dead.  I didn't know it until he'd returned to bed and I could hear him quietly telling my mom 'he was gone' followed by the sound of her tears.

And then I remember this past fall 2010 when dad smiled at me as sat in the chair at my brothers home for a family dinner.  He looked up at me smiling as I stood there.  Pulling up his pants leg he revealed his new life like prosthetic limb that he was so very proud of and had been excited about acquiring.  His diabetes had several months before resulted in an amputation that I honestly didn't know how he would get through. 

I thought about all these things and the importance of sharing them along with other special stories told to me by my dad about his father, with Gabe as he grows older. 

As we approach Father's Day...what firsts or other important moments between you and your father do you remember? 


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