I have no shame in it, it doesn’t bother me, it’s just the way it is.
Growing up my family was all about sports. We lived in New York and were huge Yankee fans. "The game" was always on in the background and at meal times we would roll a small television up on a tray table into the dining room so we wouldn’t miss a minute.
When the Yankees won, there was lots of enthusiastic yelling, celebrating and drinking.
When the Yankees lost there was lots of swearing, door slamming and drinking.
I clearly remember the day that Thurman Munson, the catcher for the Yankees died in a plane crash.
I also remember yelling “Louuuuuuuu” when Lou Piniella was up to bat.
And I vividly remember Reggie Jackson’s “REGGIE!” candy bar. Yum!
|Reggie, you were delicious.|
My Aunt Barbara would take me to games and I felt special, eating a hot dog and cotton candy and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Baseball was good!
Fast forward a few years later when my dad thought it would be a good idea for me to join a local softball team. He loved baseball so much and I think he wanted to bond with me over the game. I enjoyed being a spectator, eating the hot dog and singing the song, but playing the game? Ok, I thought, I’d give it a try.
Our team name was Cranston Electric, sponsored by - you guessed it, Cranston Electric. I did enjoy the fact that I got to wear a uniform, even if it was just a shirt with the team name on it and a baseball hat.
My memories of the team are not so fond. Whenever I would get up to bat, the others would groan and look disappointed. When a fly ball would come to me in the outfield, my teammates would scramble to try and catch it because they knew I wouldn’t. I tried, but it just wasn’t my game. I only wanted it to be my game for my dad’s sake.
I think that Dad recognized pretty quick that athletics were not my gig. He was very encouraging when I eventually did find my niche, which was theatre.
|Me, getting all theatrical.|
Dad, on his way out the door to a funeral.
For my dad, me doing a play was equivalent to me pitching a perfect game. When the audience laughed at a line I said, or gave a standing ovation, I had knocked it out of the park in his mind. It wasn’t baseball, but it fed my soul and made me happy, and that made him happy.
Today I still struggle to keep up with what is going on in the wide world of sports that is all around me. When people talk about the “big game tonight” my mind races to figure out if it is baseball, football or basketball that is going on right now.
All I know is that I love the Yankees, because of what they meant and continue to mean to my family, especially my dad.
In honor of Fathers Day, this Sunday I will eat a Nathans Hot Dog and belt out "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for old times sake, for my dad.
|Good men in my life ~ Grandpa, Papa and Dad.|