Me and My Son

This is a very special date in my life. In the year 1 BD (Before Diamondbacks – I have decided that starting at this point on I will refer to all dates as occurring either before the Diamondbacks began playing or after the team first took the field in 1998) I was recovering from my second reconstructive shoulder surgery. My shoulder had been suffering from bilateral instability and I had a torn rotator cuff and labrum. After the surgery I would have to be in a brace for eight weeks. This was not your average brace. This monstrosity would hold my arm up 60 degrees from my body from the shoulder to the elbow. The elbow to the hand went out 45 degrees towards the front of my body. I felt like a wide load truck going down the highway as my arm hung out impeding traffic. Trina at this time was 9 months pregnant so we made quite a couple. I was as wide as she was deep. Our spatial footprint looked like a couple of Sumo wrestlers without the towel wedgies. During the morning of April 27, 1 BD (1997 for those who are Diamondbacks date challenged), Trina came to me to announce that she had gone into labor and that it was time to go to the hospital. This information presented two problems for me.

First, it would mean I was probably going to miss watching the Chicago Cubs game against the Pittsburgh Pirates that day. Since we were still in the year 1 BD I was clinging to being a Cubs fan (the pain of which still haunts me). It’s funny; at that point the Pirates were the team to beat as they were only 2.5 games out of first place while the Cubs were in mid-season form already in 5th place 9.5 games out of first place. The game was relatively meaningless since we were only in the first month of the season but still I was going to miss a game. (This thought process continues to go on today so really Trina should have kind of anticipated my behavior once the Diamondbacks began play). Looking back, that game featured several players who would one time play for the Diamondbacks. Tony Womack was the starting second baseman for the Pirates and was a member of the 2001 world championship team. Joe Randa was the starting third baseman for the Pirates and would later become the third round first pick selection of the Diamondbacks in the Expansion Draft in November. Midre Cummings was a pinch hitter for the Pirates and would play a similar role with the Diamondbacks in their run to a World Series. Mark Grace was the first baseman for the Cubs and came to the Diamondbacks where he won his only World Series title in 2001. Amaury Telemaco was the starting pitcher for the Cubs and lost that game. He would be acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 15, 1998 in a waivers claim. Telemaco would pitch for the Diamondbacks for 2 years. It’s funny how things are connected.

Second, and probably the more important problem was that we had a transportation problem. Remember my description of my arm position and brace and you will realize that my arm would not fit in the car on the driver’s side. Even if I rolled down the window and hung my arm in the wind the brace did not allow the car door to shut. This coupled with the fact that I was heavily drugged with pain medication made it impossible for me to drive. Since Trina and I were the only licensed drivers in our household that meant that Trina would be driving herself to the hospital. It is generally at this point of the story that the audience splits along gender lines. Women are appalled at the thoughts that I would make my wife drive to the hospital while in labor. Guys on the other hand all pull me aside to find out how I got away with that and lived to tell the story. Honestly, what choice did I really have? Do you think Trina would have been safer if I had been driving with the car door open and my arm hanging out the window while drugged to the gills? It was an interesting trip to the hospital to say the least. I could always tell when Trina began another labor pain as we accelerated like the space shuttle. I was never so grateful for pain medication in my life as I was at that moment. No one should have to go through that sober and sane. In what can only be described as a modern miracle, we arrived at the hospital unscathed.

After countless forms and even more explanations of why the pregnant lady was behind the wheel of the car we were finally admitted. They took Trina to the delivery room while a team of doctors/nurses/interns did a complete makeover with me to get me and my arm dressed to go into the delivery room. I attempted to explain that I would be fine just waiting outside but the tirade outburst from my wife made everyone believe otherwise. Surgical gowns were not built for this kind of brace so we improvised using what I think was a painter’s drop cloth and duct tape. Soon I was dressed for the party and taken into the delivery room. There was the doctor, the nurse, and my screaming wife. In what could best be described as the smartest thing I ever did, I kept my mouth shut instead of asking whether the television in the room got WGN and did anyone know whether the Cubs were winning. No I stood in the corner and between screams I would say “Don’t forget to breathe dear”. I have this theory when it comes to child birth. If you are in town you should probably go into the delivery room with your wife or you’ll never hear the end of it but if you have a choice try not to be in town. There is just not a lot there for husbands to do. They get yelled at for no reason, their wives are strapped to a table screaming their heads off, and there are sights and sounds you just don’t want to have to experience.

In my condition I figured the best thing for me would be to stay out of the way. The doctor though seemed to think otherwise. The doctor kept motioning to me to get closer which is definitely not what I wanted. I’ve never liked upper deck seats but at this exact moment I was wishing I could be placed in the seat farthest away from home plate. That didn’t seem to be an option though as the doctor and nurse positioned me so that I was right next to the action. The doctor started wielding appliances and hand tools like some sort of crazed ninja. As she finished with one implement she would hook it to my protruded arm. I realized my presence was not as a spectator but more like a storage device. By the end of the procedure I looked like the front window of a butcher shop. As the baby arrived the doctor announced it was a healthy little boy. The doctor then asked if I would like to cut the cord. That had to be a joke right? Hey doc, if you haven’t noticed I am drugged, I’m left-handed and my arm is kind of preoccupied as a temporary storage facility. I learned early on in kindergarten that I can’t use right-handed scissors worth crap. If I tried to cut that cord right-handed my only son would become my youngest daughter. So unless you want to remove all the crap from my arm then move my wife and my kid 60 degrees up and 45 degrees to the right this probably isn’t going to work out too well. In the end it all worked out. I let the doctor do the cutting and the doctor let me do the passing out.

Dakota Jeffery Summers was born and as soon as he got cleaned up he received his first Arizona Diamondbacks hat and shirt. It took him a few months to grow into that shirt and a couple of years before the hat would fit but from the day of his birth he has been a Diamondbacks fan. So to celebrate his tenth birthday there was little doubt where we would be going. Dakota and I spent the evening at Chase Field watching the Arizona Diamondbacks host the San Francisco Giants. We spent some quality time together cheering the local team and booing Barry Bonds every time he touched the ball or came to the plate. It was a day we’ll both remember for our entire lives. The baseball generational torch is being passed. Every game we attend Dakota appreciates this game more and more. It is something that I hope one day he will pass along to his children to continue the streak of baseball fans in our family.

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