Commodore Notebook - Sept. 16

Sept. 16, 2007


The the phone rang and it was Chase.

"Grandpa, we played t-ball and I slided!"

That was pretty much the entire report, try as I might to get additional details. When you are four years old, there aren't a lot of details. The fun is in the doing and he "slided".

It was his first game and he should have been pretty good; after all, he had already been to one practice. Before his big debut I asked him if he knew how to play.

"The coaches told us how and now we play," he responded somewhat impatiently, suggesting there wasn't too much to it. Little does he understand grown men can discuss proper throwing motion for a weekend and run out of time.

That's the beauty of youth, something we unfortunately lose as we age and become sophisticated. For Chase, the fun of ball is in the doing. There is absolutely no regard to the expertise in which you do it. No kid is concerned with personal statistics, technique or what the parents in the bleachers think.

During the last year I have taken up two new activities and found I seem more concerned with my relative expertise - or, more accurately - my complete lack of expertise than I am with simply participating. I could borrow a page from my grandson's playbook.

"Hey Chase, they showed me how to do the box step and I waltzed," or "he told me how to do yoga and I posed!" That would be a step in the right direction.

I had flashbacks about Chase's phone call as I watched our victorious football players cross Star Walk and enter McGugin Center single file Saturday night.

These big guys, the ones that look as though they could bench press Kirkland Hall when you see them in action, look so much younger, so much more vulnerable when you see them sans helmets and wearing huge grins in their place.

Hoops of joy and laughter reverberated through the Captain's Corridor leading to the locker room. Everyone shared in this victory over Ole Miss, even the guys with clean britches who obviously had not gotten off the sidelines.

But as I watched the happy Commodores float past me, it was easy to imagine that not longer than a decade and a half ago, some of these modern day `Dores were calling to say "hey grandpa, we played a game and I slided!"

It is comforting to realize that these virtues of athletic participation somehow get handed down generation-to-generation. That transfer keeps us all just a bit younger, a bit more alive.



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