I remember being extra fidgety one Sunday morning while sitting in the stark white Presbyterian church of my childhood. I used to bounce my leg a lot when I was littler -- something one of my own sons does now -- and my dad would pinch my knee between his thumb and forefinger to stop. This particular Sunday, my dad had done this a few times, each with increasing pressure. It was an autumn day and the Cincinnati Reds -- the legendary Big Red Machine of the 1970s -- were in baseball’s playoffs once again, and I was distracted. I really didn’t want to be there. Finally, my dad had to … [Read more...]
On a hot summer morning, I walk stealthily from my car to the covered pavilion in between two rows of tennis courts at the front of the park. I make sure to approach from a particular direction, keeping the small trees and bushes between me and the courts so I remain unnoticed. I sit on a weathered green bench attached to a picnic table. I disrupt a squirrel’s meal and, startled, it scampers away to safety. I’ve given up some things to be a stay-at-home parent — career, money, a large swath of my sanity — but moments like this make the sacrifice worth it. Quiet moments of secretive … [Read more...]
My wife and I were recently given two tickets to an Indianapolis Colts preseason football game. Since my wife, admittedly, pays no attention during games she told me to do whatever I wanted with the tickets. After much debate, I decided to take my oldest daughter. The Colts no longer had Peyton “Nanny” as she calls him, but she was still pumped up and excited to go. We live just a couple of miles from the Lucas Oil Stadium, so it was a quick car ride downtown. I managed to find free street parking, too, and all I had to do was cross four lanes of traffic and cut off two cars to get it. From … [Read more...]
Growing up, there was the constant pop of a baseball hitting a mitt, both mine and my father's, coming from our backyard during the spring and summer. Many times we'd lay bases on the green grass as if to recreate the plays of an actual game. I can recall many a Game 7 of the World Series being won by either striking out the final batter with a high fastball or by the ever elusive walk-off grand slam.
My father coached me from T-ball up through high school, except for one year. It was a source of much frustration for him because, … [Read more...]
Jogging for a good, hard 35 minutes around my neighborhood in southeastern Jerusalem is no different than dropping acid except for the lack of hallucinations, flashbacks and induced schizophrenia. Running simplifies life as it clarifies thought, dousing everyday trivialities in strong, bright colors whose pleasing afterglow continues for hours. There’s not much more to jogging than putting one foot after the other, heel-toe, heel-toe. But these steps, run in a pair of worn-out L.A. Gear sneakers, create the mental callouses I need to weather life’s little tempests. When I begin my run, … [Read more...]