Book Worm versus the Baseball Fanatic

Trina and I have been fortunate to have great kids. All of them have been a joy to have around (we’re paid to say that by the way). While they have all been blessed with many talents (athletic and otherwise), they have each been allowed to become their own person. We’ve not pushed any of them in a specific direction. Most of the kids have followed in their parents footsteps choosing athletics as a form of self expression. All of them, except one.

Our family started with the birth of our daughter Ashley during the hay day of the mullet, a time I would rather just forget ever happened. When Ashley was two, we lost our daughter Lindsay due to complications during child birth. A year after that tragic event we were blessed with our daughter Mallorie, the self-appointed favorite child. Mallorie was followed by Tiffany, the destined middle child who was given the gifts of her mother’s looks and athletic prowess. Our final daughter was born and her name is Whitney. She is my subject of the day.

Whitney was born on a cold January morning and was the second baby born in 1994. The first child of the New Year is showered with gifts from local merchants. The second child of the New Year does not even get the left-over dirty diapers from the first child. It is pretty much a rip-off but that is another story and another time. When Whitney was born, our family was about to embark on an adventure of a life time. I had just gotten a new job in Arizona and three weeks after her birth I relocated to Phoenix while Trina and the kids stayed in Idaho to sell our house. It was a difficult three months being separated and I did miss out on a few of the important milestones in Whitney’s young life. Soon though the family was together again in a new house in Chandler where we have lived ever since.

Whitney has always been different from the other kids. While they have focused their energy on playing outside with friends, she has been content studying and learning. She is by far the brightest child we have (no offense to the others who are also very good students – except for Dakota who insists that school is what you do to pass the time until recess). She has constantly excelled in school and we are very proud of her accomplishments. She is Dakota’s best friend and the two are inseparable. They share a room and I cannot imagine what they would be like without each other. Whitney looks after her little brother and is his biggest fan whether he is playing soccer, baseball, or any other sport. She loves sports but as a spectator not a participant. I’ve offered to take her out and help her find a sport she would enjoy playing but she always declines, content with watching others. This is not to say that she does not have the talent to play, I have seen her work with Dakota and the girl has skills. She just chooses not to use them.

One day earlier this year we were talking as a family and each of the kids were making plans for upcoming seasons (baseball, soccer, track, cross country) and I happened to mention that at least we didn’t have to include Whitney’s practice schedule as bookworms rarely practice. It was said in jest as I am very proud of her intellectual accomplishments. Whitney though took offense to the term “bookworm” and let me know it. Well, when I found out how much it bugged her, I did what any boy/father would do; I teased her mercilessly. I underestimated her though as she was quick to comeback with a term of her own calling me “baseball fanatic”. So it has become a running joke in the house each of us calling the other names.

When baseball season started, the kids began calling games where they could see their favorite players or teams as they played the Diamondbacks. Even Ashley who is now living in Utah made the trip in June just to go to some ballgames. Everyone had a list of games they wanted to attend, everyone that is except Whitney. She isn’t that interested in watching baseball unless Dakota is playing. In the first half of the season she went to one game to see the San Francisco Giants. During the game we sat in our seats and Moises Alou was playing right field for the Giants. While warming up between innings, he came to the wall and gave her a baseball. She thought he was nice and had a cool name. When we got home with the ball, Dakota was in shock that quiet and reserved Whitney had gotten a ball.

The season has progressed and Whitney has shown no interest in going to another game. So I was shocked last night when she stated that she was going to see the Rockies with me. I was excited and we made our way to the stadium. We talked and had a great time together even though she did bring a book to read “when the game got boring”. Before we left Dakota gave her instructions to get a ball from the Rockies (he is trying to collect a ball from each team). She refused as the players were busy and she didn’t want to hassle with it. All during the game I kept telling her that Dakota was going to bug her asking why she did not try for a ball. Finally in the ninth inning as the game was nearly over, she went from her seat over to the bullpen and began talking to the Rockies pitchers in the bullpen. While I was putting the final touches on the scorebook for the game, she came back with a ball in hand. “I’m two-for-two getting a ball at every game I’ve been to. Can any of you ‘baseball fanatics’ say the same thing?” With that statement she placed the ball in the pocket of her seat cushion and gathered up her book. I guess the score is bookworm – 2, baseball fanatic – 0.


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