I’ve wondered since the day my son was born whether he would enjoy the things I do so we could share in our likes. I’ve worried about whether or not we’d be able to spend time together doing the things we enjoy or if we wouldn’t be able to connect because we had nothing in common other than our last name.
I know this is a silly worry and I shouldn’t be bothered if we don’t like the same things, but I have fond memories of sharing some of the same interests with my dad and having one moment I’ll never forget. I grew up watching my dad play softball and having him share his joy of the sport with me. I remember loving watching him play and how that shared joy put the passion of baseball in me.
I grew up playing baseball, played all through my school years, and then got into softball once high school was over and this is where one of my favorite memories comes into play. My dad was a fireman all through my younger years and played softball with many of the men on the department. They’d play weekend tournaments and in leagues. When I was about 18 a chance came up for the firemen, who had played for many years and were ready to hang up the cleats, to play in a tournament one last time. Some of their original teammates were beyond the years of playing softball competitively so this left roster spots needing to be filled. These spots ended up being filled with some of the sons of the older guys and it gave me the chance to play on the same team as my dad. The one thing I had wanted to do for many years.
So there was our team, a slew of over the hill men playing one last time and a bunch of young guys trying to fill roster spots. We didn’t practice, just showed up the day of the tournament not expecting to do much more than play the guaranteed games. This is exactly what happened. We didn’t do much on the field that day, but the memory I have from it isn’t how badly we got beat or how bad we looked as a team. The memory I’ll carry with me is on one particular play.
My dad was pitching and I was playing first base. A quick grounder was hit to my right, I jumped for it and made the snag but was too far from the bag to make a play myself. I looked towards the runner to see the distance and saw my dad sprinting from the mound towards the bag calling for the ball. I hesitated, surprised to be making a play on the softball field with my dad, threw the ball to my dad as he stepped on the bag and got the runner out. I was so distracted by the moment of who I was throwing to I almost didn’t get the out. A quick high five was exchanged and we were back to getting ready for the next batter.
Other than that play I don’t have many memories from the day. I had a couple hits, made some other plays in the field, but the one thing I’ll always remember and cherish is our play at first. The moment I shared in something I had always wanted to share with my dad. That day was the last time my dad played softball if I remember correctly. He left the second game of the tournament after pulling his hamstring trying to beat out an infield hit. I played a few more years on different teams and still have yearnings to throw on my glove and get back out there, but haven’t found the right opportunity. These types of memories are what I hope to build with my son. It doesn’t have to be with softball or baseball, but I do hope to find something him and I can share in so we can create the lasting memories of spending quality time together doing something we both love.