Happy Father’s Day
â€œCan you imagine that?Â An American boy refusing to have a catch with his father?â€â€”Ray KinsellaÂ
At the end of â€œField of Dreams,â€ Kevin Costnerâ€™s Ray Kinsella reunites with the baseball-playing ghost of his father John.Â They share a long stare, not knowing what to say.Â Then Ray breaks the tension.Â â€œDad,â€ he says, â€œYou want to have a catch?â€
â€œIâ€™d like that,â€ John chokes back tears in response.
The camera pans out as the two estranged grown menâ€”one an Iowa farm owner, the other the ghost of a dead catcherâ€”have a catch.Â My living room always gets a little dusty during that scene.Â You know yours does too.
A few weeks ago, my sister and I decided to see the new â€œStar Trekâ€ movie.Â Without any hesitation, we both made sure to call my dad.Â So there we were, a twenty-year-old college student and a 26-year-old teacher, sitting in the movie theater with our father.Â Watching â€œStar Trek.â€Â I flashed back to sitting on the floor of our living room, turning on the TV, and soaring through the galaxy with Captain Picard on â€œStar Trek: The Next Generation.â€Â I thought about my trip to Washington, D.C. when I contracted strep throat and spent the next few days tearing through the old â€œStar Trekâ€ movies. Â The main characters of every flashback: myself, my sister, and my father.
As Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and J.J. Abrams deftly re-imagined characters that intrigued me 20 years ago, I looked down the aisle at the faces of my sister and my father turned up towards the screen.Â I thought over the hours he spent driving me to baseball games.Â It didnâ€™t matter if they were ten minutes from home in Tarrytown or fourteen hours away in Wheeling, West Virginia.Â I remembered the thousands of batting practice pitches he tossed from forty feet without an L-screen.Â He bravely held his ground even when I stopped pulling everything and began shooting the ball up the middle.Â I pictured catches, talks, and rounds of soft toss.Â I recalled the times I needed a kick in the ass to get to the field on an early Saturday morning and the moments that called for a consolatory arm on the shoulder.Â
When I first walked into the old Yankee Stadium, my dad was there.Â Same with the new ballpark in the Bronx.Â Whether it was Little League in Croton, NY; high school at Van Cortland Park; or even college in St. Louis; if I was playing, my dad was there.Â The same holds true for my sister.
Whether itâ€™s a love of baseball, Batman, and â€œStar Trek,â€ to an interest in writing and classical literature, I have my dad to thank.Â Iâ€™ll never be Moises Alou playing in the outfield as my father manages or Ken Griffey Jr. hitting my 500th career home run on the third Sunday in June, but I do have this outlet and tomorrow is Fatherâ€™s Day.Â Ultimately, 500 words could never fully illustrate the impact my dad has had on my life. Â A million wouldnâ€™t do it either.Â But, keeping in line with the â€œStar Trekâ€ impetus of this column, Iâ€™ll use â€œStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khanâ€ to sum everything up.
â€œThe needs of the many outweigh the needs of the fewâ€¦or the one.â€
Umm, I don’t think thatâ€™s relevant.
Nope, not even close.Â
Wait, here we go.
â€œI have been, and shall always be, your friend.â€Â