We just sat there, the four of us. The game was going into the ninth and the score was all knotted at 5 a piece. This is why we watch the game. It is not for the blowout, lets face it, even if it is our team. It is not for the long ball, back back back and its out of here. We watch for the nail biting, hair falling out, sweat pouring down our forehead. That is why we watch. That is why we love the game. In the midst of our hectic lives, when the kids are so busy with friend s and MySpace. In the middle of getting the dinner ready after a long days work. When the world news keeps trying to convince us that there is no hope and all is chaos. It still amazes me that a simple game can change the world.
There we were, this family of busy lives, my youngest son kneeling on the carpet hands on his knees and enthralled at what was taking place on the television. My oldest son inches away from me sitting on the edge of the coach holding his breath with every pitch. My better half, having just walked through the door form work in the midst of this mayhem, still dressed from work. She stood there just outside of reach as if she knew if she got to close it would throw the whole event into a tailspin. Then there was me, on the edge of the seat, hands rubbing back and forth on my knees until the clothe of my jeans felt hot. What must have been pain on my face, knowing not one of them even glanced my way. We were all together, in this day and age of cell phones and laptops and instant everything else to do, watching a ball game.
The pitcher went into his wind up and the batter took a mighty whiff. Strike three and all of us, all four of us, let out a sigh of relief. My team had one more chance. that was one of the beautiful things happening in my moment, in my life, right then. This was my team. Each of my sons rooted for a different team than I did and my most wonderful wife, of course had her favorite as well. On this day though, at this moment, they were all on dad's side. All pulling for the old man's team and doing it with every ounce of energy they could muster. With every pitch, swing, shift and check on the runner, they were pulling for his team. "The top of the tenth was next, after these commercial messages" I waited to see what important things the family would run off to do, to my amazement there was nothing. They all stayed in the same spot and still never looked at dear old dad. I could not help but smile.
The top of the tenth came and the manager still brought in the one pitcher I really did not want to see. My oldest said "Don't worry dad, he's got this". With that I cringed. No he didn't. I knew this but the boy was so full of hope. Then it happened, three up and three down. My team would have to hold them off for half an inning more. I stood up, I could not help it. I kept yelling at the television as if it could somehow change what was going to happen. As I glanced around the family had every so slightly moved closer to me, they had tighten out little circle. "Circling the wagons" I said out loud. Not that they could or would have heard me because at that very moment my team walked in the winning run for them. A loss, not again I thought. Can this season get any worse, I said to myself.
Then it hit me as I looked around. This simple game I have spent my whole life loving had brought me something more than any World Series could have ever brought. My family, all of us, sitting, standing and kneeling, all together in a room. Only one purpose was in this. My kids were not asking for something. My wife was not going over the bills or some up coming trip. We were all there to watch my team. We were all there to be together in a moment when one of us needed the rest of us. I never asked them to watch with me. I did not have to plead or bribe them. they just came in and watched with me.
For those out there who say the American family is dead and family values are gone. I have to disagree, strongly in fact. On this day in this house they were strong, true and without compromise. So my baseball team lost, big deal. My team, the one I have to go through the game of life with, won. We won big today. For that I am grateful. For this moment will go down as one of my highlights, one of my top ten, one worth holding onto. I can hope one day it happens again but if not I still have this one. It was wonderful and worth every moment I had to give.