Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Planetarium and Baseball....

Sometimes being a dad is hard. My dad is probably the greatest person I know, and now that I have a little boy of my own, my appreciation for my dad has gotten deeper. My dad just retired from being a high school English teacher for 35 years. I loved going to Cyprus where my dad taught and I was happy that I got to share a lot of great times together growing up.

My dad isn't made out of money, but the way my sisters and I were raised, we never felt like we were going without. There are things in my life that I look back on and realize that my dad was there and loves me unconditionally. When I was in elementary school and middle school, I was considered a nerd. I got beat up from time to time and was teased well beyond what normal kids get teased.

I remember in the early to mid 1990s, one of the fashion trends going around were kids wearing Starter Sports Coats. A lot of kids at school had them from all different teams and even sports. NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and NCAA. I remember my dad coming to me and said that if I helped him do some stuff around the house that he would get me a Starter jacket. They were expensive too. Like, between $90.00 to $120.00. We went to The Pro Image at the mall which is what Fanzz used to be called back in the day. We were looking at the jackets and we spotted a Salt Lake Buzz Starter Jacket. Franklin Quest Park, now Smiths Ballpark, opened in 1994 and my dad took me and my four best friends, Kevin, Darin, Kendall and Spencer to see a game. The team started out as The Buzz, but got threatening letters from Georgia Tech, since they refer to their mascot as "The Buzz" and that people were buying Salt Lake stuff instead of theirs. Anyway, that happened after a few years. The team changed from The Buzz to the Salt Lake Stingers, and after a few seasons, Larry Miller bought the team and renamed them the Bees, since a team way back in the middle of the 20th century that played in Salt Lake was called The Bees.

Anyway, we saw the jacket. My dad played college baseball and had a short stint on a minor league team. We love baseball in our family. I remember my dad telling me how awesome the jacket was and I agreed. We went home with a $95.00 Starter jacket, and I couldn't wait to wear it to school the next day. I went to school feeling excited. When I got there, I started walking down the halls, and the kids started making fun of me as usual, except they were all bragging that I was stupid to get a Buzz jacket. They were teasing me about this jacket that I loved not just because it was an expensive jacket, but because of the emotions of love and gratitude, and now a lifetime memory of my dad showing his unconditional love and pride in me. I still have that jacket today. I don't wear it. I wore it out to a few April games the following season when it was still cold in the evening. I got some great comments from strangers about the jacket. I didn't wear it too much, not because of the teasing I got for it at school, but because when I look at that jacket, my heart feels full and heavy. My dad loved me and he thought it was so neat, and I did too.

Sometimes I have a nightmare or hear a news story where people in my life have died or people around me in general. I can't help but wonder sometimes how much more time I have with my dad on this earth. He isn't too old, but when I look back on pictures or family videos, he has changed. I still feel like that four year old little boy who dressed as Superman, but even superman had an amazing dad to teach him how the world works and how to live your life the best you can. His love, kindness and example won't leave me when he finally does go. He will live on in my heart and thoughts, and hopefully I will be able to pass that down to Elliot and have my dad's legacy live on from generation to generation because I made it a point of him sticking with me.

So every time I have Elliot over, I try to do something fun with him. I don't have a lot of money, but I try to do things with him that show him how much I love him and how much I love my time with him. This past Saturday, I took Elliot to the Clark Planetarium at the Gateway Mall. I hadn't been there for a few years and they had some new, well, new to me, exhibits. I thought we would only be in there for half an hour tops. We spent three hours there between playing with the exhibits over and over again and trying to decide on what toy or treat we should get from the science toy store there in the planetarium. We were going to buy astronaut ice cream, but for a dollar more we found a fun kit with some Mentos candy with a pipe and stopper that you screw onto the top of a two litter bottle of Diet Coke, put the Mentos in with the stopper plugged up, and then release the stopper. The Coke shoots up over 25 feet high. It's a really fun toy. Anyway, here is a picture of Elliot playing on the Moon.

I have a really great friend who works for the Salt Lake Bees. We were in a play together, and so whenever we want to go down to a Bees game, he comps us a few tickets. So, earlier this evening My dad, Elliot and I went to the Bees game. It was great weather, except for the rain in the 9th inning. We had a bunch of $1.00 hot dogs. It was great. I got some fun pictures here.

I hope that one day Elliot will feel the same way I do about my dad, but with me. I want him to know that I don't have a lot, but I have a lot to give where it counts. I want him to experience as much of life as a person can have, especially while still being a kid. I hope that that lasts a long time. The best part is, I don't think I have grown up much. I am a big kid as well. I love learning and exploring new things all the time. My friend Stephen probably knows that more than anyone, but it's okay because Stephen is where I learn a lot about things like comic books and Anime. Point is, both of us have a hard time finding girls to date! (Don't curse me, Stephen, I still have your Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, so you need me if you ever want those things back!).

Anyway, I hope that you all love your family members. If not, try to maybe not thing about how much you disagree with them and pray or wish good things for them. My dad is the best. I hope I can be that way for Elliot, and I hope and pray that Elliot will be that way for my grand kids. Now there is a scary thought.

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