Monday, May 28, 2007

Father's Day looms. Which explains what follows. Sort of.

A year and a half after I was discharged from the Air Force, I played left field for a slow pitch softball team sponsored by a company called Trico Vendors. Trico stood for the three counties the company served: Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin. All of which are located in western Massachusetts.

I played basketball and soccer in high school. The games I played used to define me. This was back in the 1960s, before "soccer moms " crawled under the flap of the vocabulary tent. I cannot recall my father or my mother ever attending a game in which I played. And that was OK. Playing those games was a " step " or two out of the nest, from which we'd soon be flying.

But after I got out of the service, after I survived those four years, the worst years of the Vietnam War...

My father couldn't get enough of watching me play.

I'd be out there in left field. Waiting for the ball to be hit my way. I'd look over my shoulder, and there he'd be. My dad. Watching me play left field. I was good. I was very good. I had an arm like a cannon. Threw guys out at second and third.

It didn't hurt that my father was out there. I played better when he was out there. Impressing your dad. It's something we sons did, and do. Still.

Happy Father's Day you fathers. Watch your sons every chance you get. And remember - They're watching you back.

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