After further review…Summer vacation, as I called it way back then, was always a joyful time. School was out about the third week in June and didn’t resume until the Monday after Labor Day. It was a lazy do-what-you-want-to do time until I was 12. At that age, I began having a summer job – still have one! As a high school or college student, teacher, school administrator, or professional speaker, I have always worked during the summer to maintain our family lifestyle. But prior to age 12, it was my bike, the playground, the local swimmin’ pool, and friends.
I relate so well to the story that famed sportswriter and long-time friend Rick Reilly sent me some years back. Reilly has been named National Sports Media Association’s Sportswriter of the year 11 times, and for years served as the “back page” columnist for Sports Illustrated. His story, edited here to reflect present conditions and some brevity, is about a father and his young son lying on the grass on a summer afternoon watching the clouds wander by, in the stillness of the moment the son asked, “Dad, why are we here?”
Dad replied, “Well son, I don’t think it’s all that complicated. I think maybe we’re here just to teach a kid how to bunt, turn two, and eat sunflower seeds without using his hands. Maybe we’re here to see, at least once, the pocket collapse around Andrew Luck, when it’s fourth- and-never with 26 seconds on the clock. Or to sit and watch as the count goes to 3-1 on Aaron Judge with bases loaded, and the pitcher begins wishing he’d gone on to med school.
“We’re here to wear our favorite sweat-soaked Dodgers cap, torn USC sweatshirt and the Jordan basketball shoes we once could afford. It’s one of those Saturday mornings with nowhere we need to go and nowhere special we have to be. We’re here to see Crosby setting up behind the net, tying some poor goaltender’s neck into a Windsor knot. We’re here to watch Kershaw peer-in for a sign, two out, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth. We’re here to witness Spieth lining up a twenty-foot birdie to win the Open.”
Dad continued, “I don’t think we’re here to get on Sportscenter. Or to see grown-ups spend so much time doggedly slaving toward the better car, the perfect house, chasing happiness when happiness is already within themselves. Does that answer your question, son?”
He said, “Not really, Dad.” Dad, with wrinkled brow, said “No?” And the son said, “No, what I meant is, why are we here when Mom said to pick her up forty-minutes ago?
Will you log-in with your favorite summer memories?
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