Friday, October 10, 2008

Spandau Ballet

Game 1, NLCS - Dodgers @ Phillies

Phillies 3, Dodgers 2
Series: Phillies 1, Dodgers 0
It’s difficult to begin crystallizing my thoughts this morning. My mind is addled with worn out clichés. What’s more, I am plagued by the fear that I will rehash some mediocre morsels that I long ago distributed back during those blissfully ignorant days of the season gone by. What I experienced last night was akin to that feeling Chris Matthews gets when Barack speaks.

Still, post I must and so here it goes.

My oldest son Peter is a fairly bright young man. He’s 9 years old and demonstrates the intellectual curiosity that reassures a parent that the kid is in fact, alright. The boy posits rather extraordinary questions I must say. I’m not talking about where babies come from or why school buses are yellow. I am talking about questions related to existentialism, materialism and truth. No kidding, the lad recently asked me about truth and how we can come to know it. That puts him a step ahead of Pontius Pilate who feebly cried “Uncle!” when Truth twisted his arm. When he lands such sucker punches on my unsuspecting chin, I scramble furiously into damage control more quickly than a campaign operative fending off a bribery scandal. It’s not so much that his questions waylay me; of course they do. It’s that he deftly produces them from the cover of a series of mundane, 9 year old level questions. And so I lay awake at nights rehearsing for these moments but when the pressure is on, I flail about meekly like John Kruk fending off Randy Johnson in the 1993 All-Star game. My modus operandi is to go all shock and awe on him. I let forth a blitzkrieg of mangled Thomistic philosophy that I barely understand myself. He usually tunes me out pretty quickly and before long, we move on from such weighty questions to more childlike inquiries about which Star Wars character I think is cooler - Jango or Boba Fett? I’ll sense I am losing him and so I’ll try to stay one step ahead by turning the tables on him, getting him to answer the question himself. The end result is that, well….we won’t know until he goes off to college and either starts wearing black eye liner or takes a semester abroad studying ancient Prussian history.

This all brings me to last night’s game. Peter was be bopping along on the family computer searching for all things related to Republican Gun Ships while I took in the first 5 frames of the NLCS occasionally shouting to him whenever his favorite player – Pat Burrell – came to the plate. Derek Lowe was most effectively reinforcing conventional wisdom as he effortlessly cruised through the Phillies’ lineup once and then twice. The Phillies repeatedly pounded the ball into the infield turf so that it now resembles the old concrete floor of the Vet. However, as someone somewhere in history supposedly said, "the third time's a charm." Shane Victorino’s speed was the cause behind Rafael Furcal’s errant throw’s effect. As these events usually unfold, the result was Derek Lowe’s comfort level being greatly disrupted. Chase Utley rocketed the first Lowe offering into the absurdly short right field porch changing the direction of the game irreversibly in the Phillies favor. In a mixture of extreme elation and comforting relief, I screamed over to Peter to come witness this shot. He ambled over and with his interest peaked, stuck around to watch Ryan Howard and the meat of the order. I credit the boy, he knows that after hitter number six, it’s OK to find something to do until Jimmy comes up again. Anyway, Howard hit into The Shift and up came Pat the Bat. Peter was pumped. He was fake swinging a home run cut. Burrell, as he often times does, worked the count. Lowes’ 3-1 offering was jettisoned in no time at all just beyond the flower beds in left center and Peter and I awkwardly (but not unexpectedly) missed each other badly on a father-son high five. We righted ourselves immediately by trying it again; this time in slow motion.

So what does this have to do with my son? I think it gives me some street cred. Look, I talk so damn much that there is no doubt in my mind the boy knows I am half full of shit. However, I do want him to know that the other half must be filled with something good. He needs to know the old man isn’t a complete poser. Granted, the outcome of a league championship series has little to do with my value as a father but we do share moments of baseball talk where I explain what a slider does and why sinker ballers are tough on home run hitters. I gave him the pregame skinny on why the Phils would be in for a long night and how they needed to approach the game. “Lowe” and behold, they came through as hoped and for one night, what I said was the truth actually was the truth.


rob said...

the truth was revealed last night, as it so often is, in the derek lowe face.

Nick said...

My Sox buddy at work commented on the Lowe face just now!

TJ said...

Nice work on the colored font.