Tuesday, April 12, 2011
BUY ME SOME PEANUTS AND CRACKERJACKS
Saturday night I watched the Giants pull it out of their ass in the bottom of the ninth. Great game and the ending was like sex. The crowd in the bar went nuts. I went nuts. I love baseball.
I joined a Baseball Team when I was in ninth grade. It was the first organized sports team I was ever on. I signed myself up because all my friends were on the team and they needed another player. My parents never made it to any of the games. I don't think we even had uniforms. I remember going to Peterson's Drive-In Restaurant after the game and eating burgers and fries with a cherry coke. I hit a home run once. Knocked in one other guy and we won the game. I can still remember the feeling of crossing home base as my friends and team mates congratulated me, slapping me on the back and pushing me around playfully. Otherwise, I was just a mediocre player. Later in High School we used to play tackle football at Mackenzie Park on Sundays in the fall. I played end and was good runner. I remember a couple of touchdowns. I loved getting together with my friends and playing. It was just for the fun of it.
My father was All State Baseball, Football and Basketball when he was in college. When I was a little kid he coached a minor league baseball team. I remember going to practice and games, playing under the bleachers. I didn't show much interest in the game at six years old. My dad never bought me a mit, taught me to throw a ball, how to hold the football with your fingers on the strings, how to dribble a ball or shoot a basket. I sucked at basketball. My dad loved College basketball and football. I think he liked to relive his glory days. In Junior High I excelled in track. Sprints, high jump and long jump. I have strong legs. In High School I joined the Swim Team and played tennis. The thought of playing a team sport and fucking up terrified me. I only felt comfortable playing with my buddies.
When I was in my twenties, my dad confessed to me that he used to sit in his car across the street from the baseball diamond and watch my games. I was a sensitive kid, an artist, a bookworm but I also had a wild crazy side, but for the most part I was not the jock my father hoped I would be. He told me he was afraid of being embarrassed by me on the field. He asked me to forgive him for not being the dad he should have been. He cried while he told me that he gave up being my dad and relinquished parenting me to my mother. I was their first born and my mother had lost a daughter from a previous marriage when her ex took the baby back to Indiana. My father said he felt that my mother's needs were more important. He told me he watched me hit that home run and how horrible he felt sitting in his car crying as I crossed home base and he was not there to congratulate me and could never tell me he was there. I remember thinking, "you fucking asshole! I hope you felt like shit." I told my dad I forgave him that day, but I didn't. I held on to those feelings of resentment and anger until the day he died. On the plane ride to Phoenix as I flew to his memorial service, looking out the window as I turned away from the stranger sitting next to me, I cried as I mourned the relationship we never had and finally forgave the asshole.