One day the dark haired beauty is going to be a big girl and she is going to have a lot of questions to ask me about my life. That is not to say that her big brother won’t, but his will be different. I know that she isn’t always going to be the cute five year-old who climbs into my lap and stares at me.
She won’t always be the little girl who likes to hug and kiss me. The girl who squeals with delight when I pick her up and run around the house will one day be too big for that game. The dark haired beauty who insists that I sit so that she can read me stories already shows a few signs of the girl she is turning into and the woman she’ll become..
So I know that one day she will sit me down and demand that I answer a few questions about who I am and who I was before I became her daddy. And I rather suspect that one of them will be something along the lines of, “tell me about your first love.”
And when that day comes I am going to smile and play this song for her.
Baseball was my first love. I’ll tell her about a five year-old boy who grew up last century thinking that he was going to play in the major leagues. She’ll hear about how I used to sleep with my glove and how much fun it was to just play catch.
I’ll tell her about the triumphs and the tragedies. She’ll learn about how I cried when I made the last out in the championship game when I was nine. I’ll talk about how I led the league in home runs when I was 12.
The stories of the Dodgers of the 70s will be a part of that. The anger I felt in the ’78 series when Reggie Jackson wasn’t called out for interfering with a throw and the redemption of the ’81 season.
I’ll tell her about how good I once was and how life got in the way of my dreams. We’ll talk about whether I would have come close to making it, had things gone a different way. I’ll be honest and say that there is no way to say that I would have made it. I stopped playing so long ago that I can’t say that my skills would have been close.
In some respects I can lay claim to having been forced to retire at the top of my game. It is not an exaggeration to say that in my league there wasn’t anyone better than I was, maybe equal, but not better. It is a nice memory, but it is just that.
The death of that dream doesn’t bother me much anymore. It is so far away, not to mention that it is highly questionable whether it could have translated from my head to reality.
But in that conversation or another I’ll talk to my girl about dreams. I’ll tell her what I really think. I’ll let her know that I think that dreams are critical to being happy and that sometimes they don’t have to remain just a dream.
Because I really do believe that life is meant to be lived. I don’t want to live a life in which I fill the empty places with dreams of what could be. I want to live those dreams and that is a lesson worth passing along.