I love baseball. I love to play it and, much to my families irritation, I love to watch it - a lot. I have fond memories of watching the Saturday afternoon game of the week with my dad and my brother, Mark, after we had spent the morning doing yard work. I love going to baseball games - little league, high school, college and especially professional. When I have the chance, it still brings bring me great joy to watch a ballgame - live or televised - with my dad and brother.
As an adult living in San Diego I've given my undying allegiance to the Padres. Growing up, I was all in for Dodger Blue. My dearest childhood friend, Eric, who now lives in San Fransisco, is still a Dodger fan and has never forgiven me for turning my back on the Big Blue Wrecking Crew.
I share all of this baseball sentiment to confess that I am a failure as a Father. I have failed to pass my love of baseball on to my son (or my daughter for that matter - but truth be told she tolerates it more than her brother). I never tried it, but I bet threatening Kyle with having to sit down and watch an entire baseball game on television would have been an effective deterrent to just about any questionable behavior. Like any responsible, red-blooded, American Father I signed Kyle up for pee-wee baseball when he was five or six years old. He lasted half a season. He was bored out of his mind. As far as I know, he hasn't played an organized baseball game since then. He's now 18.
Alas, what I could not do, true love accomplished - sort of. At the age of 15 or 16 Kyle met Makena. They've been together ever since. Makena's dad and brother are baseball fanatics in the truest since of the word. Kyle suddenly began to express an interest in baseball. Even considered going out for the high school team his senior year. In the end, he didn't go out for the team, and he still can't sit through a whole game, but he enjoys going to the field to throw the ball around and take some swings.
So, what's a father to do? Try to make his son into his image? I've seen that movie too many times. It never ends well. I could whine and sulk. (Ask my family and friends, I'm actually really good at that). I could throw up my hands and decide that Kyle and I are just different and give up pursuing a close relationship. (I've seen that movie too - a real downer).
Or, maybe I could celebrate the uniqueness of the son with which God blessed me; Marvel at his endless energy, applaud his determination - especially in becoming an excellent wrestler and water-polo player in high school - and simply enjoy watching him mature into the man that God has called and created him to be.
That's what I'm trying to do. And you know what? It's better than baseball. Maybe I'm not a failure after all.