My father warned me. He said it was a relationship that wouldn’t last.
But I couldn’t help myself.
I fell in love with baseball.
It started in grade school, as I was invited to leave house every morning. (“If you don’t find something to do, I’ll find something for you.” – Eleanore Sivell.)
My pals were similarly liberated, and we’d gravitate to the schoolyard to play pick-up baseball games.
If there weren’t enough players for complete outfields, we called what side of the field we’d hit to. Even so, there was an awful lot of running. But we didn’t mind. It was fun.
We played Wiffle ball, home run derby, one old cat (a game my father taught us for 3 or 4 players). We played catch.
My love continued into high school and college, even though I was 25th on the team. My roommate, Harvey (Number 24) and I played catch nearly every afternoon before dinner.
As I entered adulthood, though, my father’s prediction – that sooner or later everyone’s baseball career must end – came true. There was no easy way to play baseball, so I quit.
(Playing softball was a pretty good substitute. Anytime someone at work organized a game, I signed up. But it was intermittent.)
Thanks to my father, I had learned to value regular physical activity. He did something everyday, whether it was swimming laps or going for a long walk in the neighborhood. I chose running and bicycling, and, after my knees needed replacing, exercising at the Y.
(My father also played golf, and urged me to take it up. I resisted. I wasn’t ready for the 70s-era canary yellow pants and matching shirt just yet.)
When my son was old enough to play baseball, I felt the siren call. I helped with fundraisers and with practices. I couldn’t play, of course, but could be on the diamond.
It’s been decades since I’ve been able to actually play any semblance of the sport that first got me moving. But when my son, 28, wants to play catch, I always say yes. I know exactly where my glove is.
You never forget your first love.
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|