Friday, October 11, 2013

On Baseball and a Boy

At night before he tucks into bed, JT loads up an app on his iPad to check the sports scores for all the games being played.  Checking the scores is his very first act in the morning.  During breakfast, he watches Sportscenter.  In short, he loves all sorts of sports and stays informed about all the games.  But it is baseball that most captures his interest.  He can talk batting order and ERA about every team in the major league.  His knowledge of the last five years of baseball is encyclopedic and he is systematically learning the history of the game.  He can hold his own with any adult in a conversation about the game and spends at least an hour every week on the phone with his grandfather, hashing out details of the national pastime.

This sort of obsession love deserves to be nourished.  Last weekend, T and I delivered the boy to his personal mecca, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  The boy is already a virtual baseball encyclopedia, with strongly held opinions and the facts to back them up.    In Cooperstown, he would have the chance to appreciate the national pastime accompanied by his fellow enthusiasts.
I am complicit in his interest in the game, having encouraged it.  From his grandfather, a man who texted me over the weekend to remind us to pause before the Stan Musial display for a moment of silence, JT has inherited a love of the St. Louis Cardinals.  His only wardrobe for the weekend was Cardinals t-shirts.  When we began the trip, he owned four.  Now he owns five.  
Over the course of our day in the museum, he took over 200 pictures of the things that thrilled him most.  Not surprisingly, many featured a certain favorite team.
He explored the display of baseball records, absorbing all the details for future conversations and baseball debates.
On Friday evening, when we rolled into downtown and sighted the Hall of Fame and a half dozen sports card and sports collectible stores ,JT sighed and announced, "I'm in baseball heaven."  In heaven, he learned even more about the greats in his favorite game.
And I was reminded that there is nothing as powerful as love of a subject when it comes to engaging a boy's mind and imagination.

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