Today is my boy’s BIRTHDAY. To fathers, daughters are special, but sons are special in their own way. There is a bond and connection between a father and a son, an invisible binding force. I’ve heard it said that no outsider can really understand the Russian soul. Likewise,There is a bond and connection between a father and a son, an invisible binding force.
I was in the delivery room when Dr. Montague delivered Coleman. We were talking about Virginia football and the season Shawn Moore was about to have. Coleman popped out and Dr. M kept on talking about the Hoos. A propitious begining for our relationship. Soon thereafter, Coleman would sit up and want to roll a ball back and forth on the floor, over and over. He hadn’t spoken his first word, but the glee and joy on his face as the ball approached was all the communication we needed. He and I were immersed in that special, indescribable feeling of father-son “guydom.”
Later, I would come home from work and Coleman would be sitting on the front stoop waiting for me with
his glove, my glove and a baseball in his hand. A dad’s roll is to teach his son how to be a man ( not to mention an example for daughters as to how a man should be). Sports are a great venue for teaching virility and the importance of manly character and nobility towards others.
Our house abutted St. Christopher’s school and we had complete use of their facilities and playing fields. I taught Coleman how to run pass patterns and we would work on our routes for hours and hours. I was the kind of Dad where the neighborhood kids would knock on the door and ask me to come out and play, so naturally I was full time QB for lots of sandlot football. I can remember a church retreat at Shrine Mont. Co was 8 or 9 and all the other boys were 14 or 15. Co and I could read each other’s minds. We ripped the other defense apart. It might not sound like much, just a sandlot football game years ago, but the kinetic energy, the connection and bond between a father and a son scoring touchdowns and having fun is like no other feeling in the world. Perhaps it is emblamatic of the divine, spiritual, sheer joy relationship that God wants his children to experience with Him.
Another memory. Co was 9, he “played up” in the 11-12 baseball league. While on the mound, he beaned the league’s star 12 year old pitcher, a big kid. The boy cried like a little girl. When Coleman was up to bat, the boy beaned Coleman. Coleman quitely walked to first base as though he didn’t feel a thing. To this day, Coleman and I occasionally think about that boy squealing the way he did, laugh and shake our heads. If you are a Harvard socialogist and think children can pick their own gender, I don’t expect you to understand. It’s a guy thing, but we are amused by it. Guys are basically Vikings at heart.
Coleman is a funny son of a bitch. He’s relaxed and entertaining, no matter the company. He and I don’t throw the ball as much as we did, but when we hang out, we are constantly dissing each other and laughing and just being immature guys. I love Coleman and am proud of him for many reasons. Most of all, I am thankful. Parents, perhaps fathers more so than mothers have certain dreams and aspirations for their sons. However, as I have aged, I have learned the most important characteristic in a son (or daughter), above all other qualities, is that they be really good people. Co nailed that one.
When I think of my relationship with Coleman, my mind floods back to all those years that revolved around a “ball,” whether we were playing or watching the Hoos, the Orioles or some other team. It is hard to explain, but there is no better feeling or combination in the history of the world than a father, a son and a ball.