Can You Say, Ball?

July 5th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

My kid’s first word was “ball”. Yeah. You’d think as a parent, I’d be bummed about that. I wasn’t. No, because I’m a father. And like many other fathers, I’ve dreamt of my kid being a star athlete. So, when he blew right past “Mama” and “Dada” and went straight to “ball”, I turned to my wife in fascinated delight, “Is he saying ball? I think he’s saying ball.” Once confirmed, I stood up, inhaled deeply and beamed with pride, “Well, would you look at that.”

The kid is a pretty good athlete. More than freakish natural ability, he possesses a competitive spirit and a solid work ethic. Is he going to be signing a multi-million dollar contract to play in front of thousands of adoring fans? Not likely. Will his athletic prowess garner him a free ride through college? Not discounting it. But really, how many kids get that?

I’ve learned: dreams are mine, reality is ours. I can try to wedge him into my dream, or meet him in our reality. In this real life, I’ve jumped up and down in cheer. Watched as he made that catch and beat the rest to the wall. I’ve put my arm around him to console him, and I’ve barked at him to spur him on. I’ve coached him on the importance of balance, and on not letting the ball get into his palm. We’ve talked of courage. And that you never, ever give up. More than anything, we’ve played ball together – stood out front and tossed it around. And really, isn’t this the dream?

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