Getting to the office a few hours before most people show up gives a chance to stroll thru a mostly open parking lot and a few moments to take in scenery without glares of possible mental health problems from another corporate drones. No cars zooming thru the front road, sprinklers saturating the bits of grass between the concrete dividers, and a smoke monster waffing thru the edges of once sizable marsh that now has a center of ledger balancing for an unnamed retail store standing in the middle. It's a scene out of your favorite zombie movie, 28 Days Later sticks out in my mind despite my horrible attempts at a British accent. The pavement is calm, no other walks of life within an corrected eye-sight radius just morning calm before the storm of deadlines and deciphering emails from people who speak English as their second or third language.
Its the quiet walk that allows 10 minutes of reflection, breathing the fresh air before stuffing one's self into a cubical with pumped in freon to battle the near-summer humidity. Before retiring last night I got to watch my son's first at bat from a thrown ball on the camcorder we had purchased around Christmas time but have only used sparingly and looked in disgust. There he was holding the bat a little bit differently than practiced in the backyard over the last couple of years, knuckles not making the straight line, knees looking a bit stiff, and eyes more focused on the pitcher rather than the softened red-stiched ball they use. He would swing a total of ten times, feebly fouling off a few like Nick Punto having to face Mo Riveria but mostly finding air. No stomping, no throwing the bat, just continued patience of trying again and again to get one between the chalk.
But, that wasn't my source ire watching the video. It was the little figure in the polo shirt on the third base line behind the fence. It was the father of that kid with gestures of WHY, turning around not understanding the seemingly smooth swing not connecting with the ball, embarrassed with his child's lack of skill as other parents tried to watch and wait for their little tikes turn.
The embarrassment was on me. I hated that person for not encouraging his son more, the fact that the much more mature baseball player wore the number three on the purple shirt with gold lettering that cost $5 more. The player who could have packed it in after five whiffs instead gutted it out until he was directed to the bench and told to try again the next loop thru the numerical order was the man on the field not that selfish s.o.b. wincing in the background.
Maybe it's due to this new parenting step of seeing my little athletes run around outside my body with my last name and wanting success before years of practice, wanting the natural home run swing and dedication to the sport laid out on a particular day. The horrible feeling of becoming "that dad" when all I wanted to see was a smile on his face made me wonder if showing up for the games is a good idea. My negative presence could not have helped in the least, only damaging the passing of the love of the diamond on to my son and daughter. Time will tell if the asshole in the stands can take his son at face value and encourage what is there instead of trying to force what isn't.
Good thing there's a blog to talk to myself without worries of a doctor trying to cram Clonazepam down my throat. And being able to reflect on a short walk is more therapy than that $250/hour master of the DSM could offer. Now the part will reside in the father growing up to be the nurturing parent versus heckling fan.