Feb. 12, 2008
WALK LIKE A MAN...
My daughter Maggie and I were lying in her bed trying to get to sleep last night when I remembered that today would be her grandfather's birthday. Maggie never got to meet my Dad, as he died back in 1985, but I'm sure he would have gotten a kick out of her and Luke.
It hit me then that, had he lived, my father would be 100 years old today! I guess you are pretty ancient yourself when your parents could be that old, but somehow it doesn't seem possible.
Anyway, I started thinking about my Dad and how much baseball meant to him. He worked too much to ever officially coach our Little League teams, but he always encouraged my brother and me. I think that at most, counting high school, college, and pro ball, he saw four games of mine. Some of our parents are fortunate to see most of our 56 games.
THE NATURAL is one of my favorite movies. There are a few scenes that stick in my mind, but when Roy chokes up in the hospital as he says, "I wish my father could...God, I love baseball", I remember a similar moment.
I was at Sunday Mass in Marietta Ohio. It was the day of the Division III National Championship game and all I could think about was that scene from the movie. Tears filled my eyes as I prayed to my father, not for us to win, but to thank him for baseball. I too, wished my father could be there for the thrill that was to come, but like Roy Hobbs I settled for the belief that he knew.
Our job as parents is to give our children a path for their lives to follow. Mine always did that. Whether it was Boy Scouts, Altar Boys, or baseball...my father taught me to work hard, tell the truth, and not make excuses. He gave me a sense of humor, a competitive fire, and a bad temper. Hey two out of three is ok.
One song about fathers and sons means the most to me. It ends this way:
Well now the years have gone
And I've grown from that seed you've sown
But I didn't think there'd be so many steps
I'd have to learn on my own...
Now I'll do what I can
I'll walk like a man
Walk Like A Man - Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love