Dear Athletic Support: My son plays football and basketball. He’s still pretty young, but is already showing promise in both of those sports.
As much as I like watching him score touchdowns and drain three pointers, I really wish he’d play baseball too. He played tee ball one season, way back when he was still in kindergarten. He hated it then, and seems to still feel that way. Anytime I bring baseball up, he always just talks about that one tee ball season and how boring it was. That really gets under my skin. I love baseball. I can remember listening to games on the radio with my dad while we worked on his truck. It's always been nostalgic like that for me. I enjoy the slower pace of the game. It’s not just one continuous stream of high-flying action. Baseball is a thinking man’s game. And it’s safe. I guess basketball is pretty safe too, but football scares me. My son is still young enough I don’t worry too much about him playing football, but I know the dangers of the game will only get worse the older — and bigger — he becomes. Anyway, I guess what I’m asking is how do I make a case for baseball. I don’t want to be one of “those” dads. I don’t want to force my son to play a sport just because I like it, but I really would love for him to play. I’m from Arkansas, and we have a great college baseball team year in and year out. Seeing my son step foot on that diamond in a Razorback jersey would be a dream come true.
— Roy Hobbs
Dear Roy: First off, your name isn’t really “Roy Hobbs,” is it? I’m guessing that’s a sly nod to The Natural, which is a great movie starring Robert Redford, but an even better novel by Bernard Malamud.
Back to your question: I can tell you have a true love for baseball. That bit about the pace of the game really strikes a chord in me. I like to listen to baseball games when I’m writing. I love hearing the smack of the bat and the organ winding up for the seventh inning stretch.
All that being said, though, your son just might have different tastes from us. I didn’t play baseball in high school. I was like your son. I thought it was boring. But I never had anyone tell me everything you just wrote in your question. I was never exposed to the small beauties of “America’s Pastime.”
Try expressing the same sentiments to your son as what you wrote in this column, and you’ll be well on your way to making a compelling case for baseball.
Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. His debut novel, Don’t Know Tough, is available wherever books are sold. Send in questions for “Athletic Support” by using the “Contact” page at elicranor.com.