What Baseball Means

Trina and I quite often get into long and deep philosophical discussions about child rearing practices and how to best nurture and teach children. Her being an educator she has a vested interest in this and much more practical experience than I have. Inevitably these discussions turn to baseball. That in and of itself should not be all that surprising. Pretty much every discussion that goes on in our house ends up at one point or another including the subject of baseball. What I had not considered was what all of this baseball had done to the children. That suddenly came to light on Christmas morning when I opened a gift from my oldest daughter Ashley.

Inside the package was a book, What Baseball Means to Me. It was edited by Curt Smith and includes photos from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Contained inside the book are essays by many of the great and entertaining players who have played our National Pastime. In all of the excitement of Christmas morning, the book was set aside on an end table to be looked at on another day. Gifts were frantically being handed out and unwrapped as our family continued the Christmas present frenzy. Ashley had not said much when I opened her gift but she knew that it was something that I would enjoy. We’ve long had an understanding of how important the game of baseball is to me so I thought her gift was quite appropriate. In the days since Christmas has ended, I have been busy around the house cleaning up the holiday decorations and helping kids get ready to go back to school. Each time I walk by the end table I see the book Ashley gave me and remind myself that I need to stop and read its contents some time. Almost as quickly as that thought enters my mind it is replaced with some other item that draws my attention and the book is forgotten.

For the past few days I have not been feeling well and as such my sleep patterns have been disrupted. I found myself up early this morning and I sat in the living room watching the sun slowly rise above the horizon. As the first rays of light entered the room they fell upon the end table where my Christmas gift from Ashley sat. I reached over and picked up this book and in the solitude of the morning I opened the cover to begin an exploration of its pages. There on the first page of this book my daughter had taken the time to express to me what the great game of baseball meant in her life. I sat and read each word thinking back at the events she described. Her words touched my heart in a way that only a child can do. For that brief moment we were connected and she was that same little girl that I took down to the stadium and taught the rules to the game. I was taken back to those times where we played catch or hit the ball. She was the eager student and I was the seasoned pro. In the end she learned the skills of the game and practiced it almost daily. Now Ashley is married has left the house to begin her life and her own family. Those moments we shared at Bank One Ballpark have made lasting impressions on her memory and mine. I can read the remaining 270 pages of this book but no essay will have as much meaning to me as that first page written by a loving daughter to her baseball fanatic fan.

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