Sunday, October 22, 2006

Deja-vu All Over Again

Sammy & Dory (My Number Two Daughter's "girls")

It was another Sunday and it just so happened that the Ravens had a "bye" week. Nice opportunity to sit back, relax in the recliner, and not piss and moan at the home team. As things go, I found myself in a deja-vu situation. My daughter had called me and she was wanting me to come to her football game at Patterson Park. Number One Son also called that his team would be playing too. The planets must have aligned or something because they would be playing against each other. They both joined the Baltimore Sports & Social Club Touch Football program. It's a decent way for young people to get exercise and socialize at the same time. After a deep search for a parking space, I arrived at the field and that's when the deja-vu happened.

I spent many years watching each of my children participate in activities such as football, soccer, baseball, cheerleading and wrestling. It was either at their schools or for some recreation department programs. I even had the good fortune to coach some of their teams. I always tried real hard to be involved in their lives. It was never ending....constantly on the go.....our daily schedule was entitled "Mayhem". I enjoyed every minute of it and I know they appreciated it. After a certain point in time, their focus is no longer under parental control and I was enjoying a nice long period of "breath". The kids were either working or off doing whatever they choose. Finally, they had grown up. So here I was, standing on the sidelines again.......just as I had done when they were little, rooting them on, and keeping the fingers crossed that they wouldn't get hurt. (Yes, even old dudes do that) What goes around comes around. Instead of my own dogs at the game, it was my daughter's dogs this time. Sammy & Dory, both bulldogs, and very good ones at that, were well behaved.

Standing there in Patterson Park, my thoughts went back to a time when I was a little boy. It was the late 1950s and I lived only a block away on Fleet Street. Our neighbor was like a grandmother to me. She would take me to the park often to feed the pigeons and squirrels, play on the swings, and stroll along the paths that wind through the park. It is sacred ground for me. Some of my happiest and best memories as a kid. It is different at the park now. I do not feel a sense of safety as I did back then. Rapes, cops getting shot, robberies, and an occasional tv weatherman being nabbed for soliciting an undercover police officer for sex, is par for the course these past several years. Yet, during the football game, the only reminder of such was the wailing of Baltimore City police cars speeding by towards the northern side of the park.

Activities like this in Patterson Park are helping the park survive. The more that decent people use it, the less thugs there are. I doubt it can ever go back to the way it once was, but there is a certain sense of safety in numbers. For an hour and a half, my mind roamed to previous times as I watched my kids play. We have all been through alot. I had not imagined that, at this stage, my kids would need me to watch them play.......imagine that........they really need me. I hope they know that I need them as well. I needed those phone calls asking me to come to the game. It was the best day I've had in a while.

(Damn I am getting old!)

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