PRYOR, OK —
The other day, I found myself in one of those “back in my day” moments, and I couldn’t help but laugh at all the things I did with my summer vacation away from that horrible place we called school.
Not that school was bad. I actually like school now that I am a parent, and I have new found respect for teachers these days. Although kids today have the world at their fingertips, one thing missing in their lives is an imagination.
I was telling my twin 14-year old boys the other day, about how I played sports from sun up till sun down during my summer vacation, and often times how I played many games of wiffle ball by myself in the backyard, in some of the best baseball stadiums around, including Fenway Park, Royals Stadium and Wrigley Field.
They didn’t understand where I was coming from, so I enlightened them.
I would throw the ball up in the air, and take my swings to the best of my ability. I’d call “ghost runners” and if I thought the hit would be a routine out, I’d call it so. I’d keep score in my head or on paper, and would track everything about my “games." I even interviewed myself after the game, and recorded it to play back to my mom. (Can you tell I was an only child?)
Occasionally, I’d get a timeout called by the head umpire (my mom) for lunch or supper, but then I was back to playing ball. In left field, where my dad had his garden, was around six rows of corn stalks, therefore that was my “Wrigley Field.” I’ve hit many of balls into the “ivy” of the corn stalks, some never to be seen again. Of curse, after the movie “Field of Dreams,” I was a little leery of walking into the corn stalks.
In center field, were the fountains of Royals Stadium. Dad would water his garden with a flat water hose, so during my game days, I would drag the hose out of the garden and place it in center field, just like the fountains at Royals Stadium. It was nice to hit a homer in the fountains at my house, because it meant that I got wet. Next to playing ball in the summer, playing in the water was also a favorite of mine.
In right field, stood our green storage building, which I called the “Green Monster.” Although it was in right field and not in left like at Fenway Park in Boston, it was still cool to hit one “over the monster” at my house, because it took a pretty a good shot to do that.
I sure miss the good old days. Although my kids may not have the imagination that I did, they have a lot more going for them then I ever did at their age.
Of course, I haven’t told them how I played football for OU, the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears in the backyard yet.