The Importance of Being a Father


Don’t forget to call you’re dad today, if he’s still in your life.  They’re important, ya know.

Kids also learn from fathers during a unique form of papa play. Unlike mothers, fathers tend to roughhouse with their children.

“They rile them up, almost to the point that they are going to snap, and then calm them down,” Geary said.

This pattern teaches kids to control their emotions — a trait that garners them popularity among superiors and peers, he said.

This isn’t the most exemplary story about my Dad — behavior-wise — but it is one of my favorites because it involved baseball and something so much more.

Anyway, the setup is one of my final high school baseball games.  Don’t really remember the score or some of the finer details, but I remember my final at bat.

I hit a sharp grounder in the hole and being a relatively quick lefty I could usually make any grounder hit in the hole a difficult play for any shortstop.  On this particular play, the shortstop made a good play on the ball and an even better throw.  It was close and the case could be made that I was safe by half-a-step.  The umpire, probably wanting to go home as soon as possible, banged me out.  And I was getting ready to go talk to him about his incorrect call, I hear my dad start yelling from the stands and then he wouldn’t let up. And he kept yelling and yelling and yelling.  Until, if memory serves correct, he was asked to leave the stands.

Normally, I’d think geez he’s acting like one of those parents.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  But in that moment his passion for baseball and his love for me coalesced into something that he could probably never verbalize.  I’m sure in his mind he wanted my final at bat to be a basehit.  But more than anything, it was a moment I’ll never forget because he fought for me.  It was so crystal as I was hunched over and dejected from not getting the right call, that even if I was never much of a ballplayer my old man would still go to bat for me.

That’s what sons need:  fathers who are willing to fight for them, teach them manners, how to respect other people, act tender and loving towards women, be firm in establishing discipline, teach them to hit a golf ball or baseball or throw a spiral or shoot a free throw, share with them the music of their youth, impress upon them the importance of a firm handshake and making eye contact with others, stress the importance of picking yourselves up off the ground after a colossal disappointment, how to shuck corn and grill slabs of meat, how to tie a tie, and never trying to live their dreams vicariously through their sons.

In essence, kids need fathers to show them how to be well-adjusted men. Luckily, my father gave me everything I need.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • BigSisO June 25, 2009, 1:18 am

    Damn – all I got Dad Oyster was a card. And I haven't even given it to him yet.