Friday, August 05, 2005

La Question de Cinq

  1. Got any stories about your ball playing days as a youth. (youth being under forty.) (Mark)

    I practically grew up in and around Fountain City Ball Park. From T-Ball age up through junior high school I played Rec League baseball and basketball there. My dad coached several of my teams, and my younger brother played as well. The Park was a place we went, not only to play games but to see others play and generally just run around making fools of ourselves.

    If was a different time then - generally speaking, we could roam the grounds...and frequently did. When my friends and I were not on the field, we were on the sidewalk playing pick-up games of "cup ball". We bummed quarters from our moms to buy Cokes and "suicides" and little plastic fruit-shaped containers full of powdered fruit-flavored sugar to eat. We'd sneak into the press boxes to watch a game. We'd explore the banks of grass and dirt behind the Rec Center. What a great place to have fun, enjoy friends, play outdoors and just grow.

    Oh, yes, we did play ball occasionally. I love baseball, and still do. I enjoy playing first base, then - as now - having the height and reach to do a decent job. I never was a hitter, and was frequently frustrated at constant strike-outs but I never let it get me down, because the game was what mattered, not individual glory or achievement.

    And you know who taught me that? My coach. My dad.

    And I'm trying to do the same thing to BrainyBoy and Tink - teach them that individual accomplishments are nice, but adding your distinctive talent to the whole, whether it's on a ball team, in a play, in a band or symphony or choir, or just a class project - that's what's important. The ability for people to pool their efforts to create something greater than themselves solely for the fun and enjoyment of doing so is far more important than individual acclaim or glory.

    Let's see if I can do as well as my teacher :)

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