H-O-R-S-E

It was well into the afternoon. The kids were home from school, and I sat on the couch exhausted from working till 4 in the morning.

I had a project to finish, and I do my best work after midnight. I love to sit at my computer with only the glow of the monitor knowing everyone else, including the dog, is asleep upstairs. With my headphones draped over my ears, I can crank Pink Floyd and get through work at twice the pace it takes during the day.

In the background I heard Super Mario sounds coming from a Nintendo DS. My youngest son must have found the stash of games. But I was too tired to do anything about it. The worst that could happen is he deletes a game like Animal Crossing with a character one of his siblings has been nurturing for the past three years.

 linkball

Do you ever find yourself sitting alone in a daze? My days are no longer spent in an office, but I’m no less busy than before. The clock is a drill sergeant, shouting out reminders throughout the day. The race to get the kids out of the house in the morning is followed by the race around the neighborhood to retrieve them in the afternoon.

Then there’s dance, scouts, piano and birthday parties, and before long, it’s 9 pm and the kids are supposed to be in bed, but they aren’t because the adult supervision ran out of energy and motivation hours earlier. That’s about the time I find a note from the teacher reminding all parents to make sure their children get a good night’s rest so they’ll be ready to take the statewide tests throughout the week.

Oh, and don’t forget to send snacks to school!

As I considered finding a room where I could rest, I looked out the window to see my son tossing a blue soccer ball towards the lopsided basketball hoop. Why was he using a soccer ball instead of the four basketball he could easily each in the garage?

As a parent, I’m thrilled to see my children take up an activity like basketball that I enjoyed at their age. I want my son to share a few traits and interests with me.

But not too many.

I want to give him space to explore and experiment with activities that catch his interest. Maybe even turn me on to a few I hadn’t considered.

I recall my father telling me he always wanted a son who was left-handed. He loved baseball and lefties are one step closer to first base. Although I am right-handed, I was his son who loved baseball and we still discuss games that go back nearly 25 years. Like the rocket Mike Tueller hit off the church at Ben Lomond. Or the grounder I slapped at Logan that hit a rock and took a lucky bounce over the shortstop’s head to score two runs in the top of the 7th.

There’s just something about baseball. The grass, the crack of the bat and the lack of clock give it a unique feel. It’s as if every game I played is stored on a Tivo in the back of my brain.

I’m no different than my father in that I want my sons to play baseball. I know it’s a sport that best taken up at an early age. And maybe this summer or next my son will ask if he can join a T-ball team.

I decided to head outside and show him how to play H-O-R-S-E and use the square to shoot a bank shot. The game doesn’t come naturally to him like it does to his older sister. But he works at it, takes instruction and doesn’t get frustrated easily.

Maybe by next week I’ll introduce him to a real basketball.

But until then, he’ll be shooting granny shots with a blue soccer ball. And that’s fine with me.

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