America’s Pastime (if you want it to be)

Can anyone honestly say that baseball is not America’s pastime?

Anyone who loves baseball and is over 30 years old can remember the good ‘ol days of playing ball outside, collecting cards and listening to games on the radio. In today’s world of high-priced collectibles and Nintendo Wii, it has become very common for “over-the-hill” fans like myself (I am 33) to long for the days when you spend all day outside shagging fly balls.

As a kid, I would play from dawn until dusk (or later if my mom would let me). I can remember when my dad had one of those bright lights installed on the front of our house. To him, that meant a well-lit, safer place to live. To me, it meant whiffle ball night games in the front yard! I have broken my share of windows and totally destroyed the siding on the house by throwing rubber balls against the chimney.

Now, fast forward to today…

Baseball takes effort and commitment. You need a bat, ball and glove at least. You also need a place big enough to play. Ball fields are not in every neighborhood the way they used to be. Baseball equipment can also get expensive. It is much easier to get several friends, one of which is bound to have a basketball, and go find a hoop. Strike 1.

I also will admit that I am a video gamer. I love technology. My family has a Wii. My kids and I have a Nintendo DS. I have a BlackBerry that I play around with constantly. I also write one of those blog-type things. Strike 2.

Oh no, two strikes…now it is time to choke up and rip one in the gap.

Is baseball popular in our household? My wife and I coach our kids’ team. My kids and I actually have an Opening Day dance. You can’t walk 10 feet in our backyard without stepping on a whiffle ball. My son wears his Reds hat just the way I did when I was his age. Why? Because I showed my kids how much fun it actually is to play the game.

Anyone taking the time to read this blog most likely already loves baseball. But what about their kids? Are they taking the time to play ball in the backyard? Did they show them the proper way to field a ground ball? Did they explain the proper way to wear their uniform, even if it is t-ball?

I don’t believe in making your kids play baseball, or any other sport for that matter.. But at least expose them to sports. I feel it is my responsibility as a parent. It’s also fun! You loved baseball as a kid. Share one of your childhood passions with your child and see what happens. Chances are you find something magical that will form an even tighter bond and allow you to see the game through the eyes of a child.

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