The Fades Rant

I'm the Fades, and I rant b/c i have some time to. I dont know..i'll talk about many things on this blog. Religion, girls, life. Thats about it. So really, I'll talk about 3 things.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ode to Abba

I got a recent e-mail from a friend asking us to describe the worst thing we have/seen heard while watching a sporting event (either live or on the boobtube). I don't know the purpose of this e-mail, but I believe it had something to do with helping a friend out with a survey of some sort, and this angers me. I do not like when people do things to help others, thus reminding me of how poor a human being I am.

I couldn't think of a worst moment, or even a bad moment. I could think of only good moments and I owe that to my father, known as Abba. Here is how it went:

We played in the Young Israel little league and it was inexplicably super-competitive. Parents from Beth Shalom would yell at parents from Young Israel of Woodmere; parents would get thrown out of the games; and parents would charge the field and scream in the faces of umpires. I am happy to say that West Hempstead parents were generally less guilty of this behavior, but we still had our fair share. It was a puzzling and discouraging thing for us to see, as a bunch of simple 8 year olds.

On the other hand, the way other had, possibly the 7th furthest hand or limb on an octopus, was my father, Abba. This was his ritual, as I remember it:

(1) Calmly bring me to game, and also fill car with as much of friends as possible.
(2) Unload lawn chair and unfold near third base line.
(3) Proceed to comfortably lounge on chair and enjoy the pleasure of watching your only son play the game of baseball with fun and enthusiasm and an innocent smile. It probably doesn't get better and he realized it.
(4) Remain in chair throughout game. Events of game, will not sway you.
(5) After game, no matter what the outcome, take entire of kids to local ice cream store because they are kids and this is a simple way to give them joy. Why not?

One time, the ritual hit a snag. We were on our way back from a loss to Plainview, and therefore in between steps (4) and (5) above. Abba had WFAN on in the car, as was customary in those days, and a trade was announced. The Mets had traded Lenny Dykstra for Juan Samuel. There may have been other players involved, but I can only remember Dykstra for Samuel. Abba slammed his hands on the steering wheel upon hearing this news, and simultaneously scared the something out of me. Afterwards, we proceeded to get ice cream and enjoyed the rest of our day. I continued to play little league until 8th grade, and I'm still a Mets fan today, besides my best efforts to shake it. Abba continued his serene ritual throughout my little league career, but he was never the same Mets fan.

And that's my answer to that e-mail I got today. Upon further, and intensely deep reflection, I can pinpoint the clear-cut worst moment in my sports fandom. It was this tiny snag in the ritual - when something changed between Abba and the Mets. Something that we had shared as father and son would no longer be shared to the same extent. And that sucks.

But can the worst moment simultaneously be the very best moment? Because what happened after the moment is amazing and spectacular and wonderful to remember. What happened after - Abba's reaction - was to continue the ritual. A smile on his face and we were on our way to unlimited ice cream after another disappointing loss. Because the loss to Plainview really doesn't matter. And neither does the trade of Lenny Dykstra. What matters in the context of sports, among many other things, is the ability it has to bond us and connect us and forge relationships that would otherwise disintegrate. And something as simple as a trade can break that relationship, if a large part of the bond is based on the mutual admiration for a team that will no longer be the same.

But the bond won't break if you take the kids to ice cream afterwards. And the bond won't break if you quietly sit in a lawn chair with a smile glued to your face because you get to watch your son make lucky plays in short center. And the bond won't break if you take your son to S'lichos in the early mornings, because he might just realize that perhaps the only way to reach out to G-d is to scream out for mercy. And when you teach these things to your son so that he can implement them when he becomes a father, the bond will certainly never break.

Lenny Dykstra got traded. Perhaps it signaled the beginning of a lengthy Mets decline. It sucked. Personally, it meant that me and Abba would never look at the Mets in the same way again. That also sucked. But Abba moved on. And little league moved on. And happiness moved on. And it reminded me why sports are powerful and awesome. The Mets trade Lenny Dykstra - the best moment I ever experienced in sports.


  • At 3:43 AM, Blogger Av said…

    emotional s

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