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Reflections March 2018

Sam's Side

A Major League Dream

By Sam Beeson

 Now in most families, the person delivering that news would have led with the bus-smashed-into-the-family-car headline. But not in my household, and certainly not at the start of the baseball season. Baseball is always the lead story.

The crack of the bat…the smell of the grass…a warm spring day. It’s baseball season again. Everywhere around the country, kids are breaking out their balls and bats and heading off to fields of play to take in America’s favorite pastime.

Meh.

I’m more of a football guy personally. Followed by basketball. Then baseball. Hockey is in there too, somewhere slightly above Roller Derby.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love sports. It’s just that I can only get interested in teams that I have a connection with. I grew up in a city that only had one professional sports team. Over the years, living in one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas of the country, eventually all of  the big league sports found a home here, and as soon as they did, I became a fan. I’m tied to my community that way. This city has provided me a home, a living, friends and family. So I’m a loyal “homer.”

Which brings me back to baseball.

My son loves baseball. He consumes it. He follows every bit of baseball news there is. He can tell you the pitching rotation for any team in the majors. He can tell you who the coaches of all the teams are. He can tell you from what minor league program the latest up and comer was developed. He can tell you things about the sport that you never knew, or wanted to know. Believe me, he does this to me all the time.

To illustrate his obsession. Around this time of year many years ago, my son came home from school one day. I worked nights and slept during the day but I always wanted him to let me know when he got home. So here I was, sound asleep when my young son barges into the bedroom and announces that he’s home. The conversation went something like this:

“Hey dad. I’m home. You know what today is right? It’s the start of baseball season. I’m so excited. I think our team looks really good this year but it’s going to be stiff competition. I like our pitcher. I think he’s going to be an ace. Our bullpen looks better than last year, but it has me a little worried. Still, I like our chances of going to the playoffs. Oh by the way, the school bus smashed into your car.”

“Wait…..wha….?!” I muttered jumping out of bed.

“I think our pitching coach will have his hands full this year….”

“No! My car! What happened?”

“Oh, the school bus hit it after it dropped me off.”

“Is it badly damaged???”

“Yeah. There’s parts of your car down the street.”

This is an absolutely true story. Now in most families, the person delivering that news would have led with the bus-smashed-into-the-family-car headline. But not in my household, and certainly not at the start of the baseball season. Baseball is always the lead story.

So you get the picture that my son is a bit of a baseball fan, right?

A few years ago, my son hatched a plan. He wants to visit every single baseball park in the country and take in a game. Further, he wants me to go with him. Now let me be clear, at my age, going to the grocery store qualifies as a major event. Traveling, flying, driving, making hotel reservations and taking time off from work to visit parts of the country that I had no previous desire to visit, seems just the other side of overwhelming for a homebody like me.

But…he wants to go with me.

As I was growing up, my father loved to go fishing and he would always want his two sons to come along. Problem is, my brother and I hated fishing. We wouldn’t eat what he caught since we both had a food rule of not eating anything with more than four legs or less than two…with an exoskeleton, antennae, tentacles, or the lack of eyelids. So fish fall in there somewhere. Now my brother and I would tag along out of loyalty to my father, but as soon as we got old enough to find other things to do…we did. And dad took those fishing trips alone. Of course now, I would give anything to go fishing with him one more time.

But my son wants to go with me. To be sure, his dream of visiting all the ball parks is HIS dream and not mine. But my dream is spending time with my son while he is still not too embarrassed to hang around his old man. I think back to my own dad and how he must have felt when my brother and I found other things to do. My son wants me to go with him, and I will not let him down.

So we’ve got a pretty good start on our task which has led to some adventures already. Like taking the wrong subway in NYC and ending up in Chinatown at midnight. Or driving through a flooded Houston after a hurricane decimated parts of the city. Or nearly getting into a fight on a commuter train in downtown Phoenix with some bruiser who could have broken me in half.

So my son’s dream has given us both some memories and some stories. And although it is a lot of work for me, it is worth every moment.

Because someday, my son will not have to look back and think, “I wish I had spent more time with my dad.”

 

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