January 2012


Present Failures: The Baseball Glove.

Yesterday, while killing some time, I picked up and started to read Mikey Walsh’s Gypsy Boy, an autobiographical tale of his upbringing as a Romany Gypsy in the United Kingdom.

He reflects back upon one of his Christmas presents – the ones when he received, as a four year old, a battery operated quad bike and a pair of boxing gloves. He wanted nothing to do with either, and was warned by his father that, “ You ain’t getting nothing else, you know.”

Oddly enough, this was enough to cause me to reflect back to my childhood, and it’s safe to say that not many of the presents stand out, and the ones that do, tend to stand out for the wrong reasons—with one large exception.

The exception was that in first grade we were doing puppet shows, and for my birthday, I wanted a place to put on puppet shows – and I got one. It was cardboard and it probably lasted a week or two, but even today I remember it fondly. I guess there is some hidden theater-fag inside me.

One of the memorable, for the wrong reasons, presents was a magnetic detector – forgettable because it never really worked. I still remember my grandfather “hiding” a coin somewhere on the dining room floor carpet and I was supposed to “find” it with the metal detector. Yes, the batteries were brand new. Honestly, I doubt the metal detector would have gone off had it been pointed at the metal garbage can that it quickly found itself within.

Another memorable, for the wrong reasons, present was a baseball glove. It was a birthday present, probably back when I was 8 or 9 years old.

It was a gift from my Father.

He was a huge baseball fan and loved playing baseball. He grew up as a Dodgers fan – no, not Los Angeles Dodgers, but the real Dodgers. After they ditched Brooklyn, he ditched them, eventually becoming a New York Mets fan, and then, back in 1993, pretty much became a Rockies fan.

It was expected, naturally, that his children would be interested in baseball – and, I suppose, we all are, but more as fans watching the game both on television and in the stands.

I’m not really clear, as I look back at it, what prompted the gift, other than a father wanting to get his kid to share in something that he truly loved – which, I suppose, is admirable, albeit, in my case, clearly misplaced. I’ve never shown a great interest in playing sport, and, to make matters worse, I have terrible hand-eye coordination. I still remember, running after a baseball (or maybe softball) that had escaped the field my Dad was playing on – only to have a woman get there before me, and throw it to me.

It hit me in the eye.

To this day, I avoid situations where I might be called upon to interact with a ball that’s being used by others in a park. If they’re playing soccer, and I want to get to the other side of the field, I will happily walk way out of my way and make sure that should the ball come near me, that I am not the closest person to it.

The baseball glove fit me, perfectly, and, I suppose, I might have used it once or twice, but it quickly took up a place of faux-honor on top of my fancy desk – collecting dust.

I actually have no idea what happened to it – I assumed that it was still on top of my old desk, but the last time I was in Denver, I was cleaning the desk, and when I looked on top, it wasn’t there.

Honestly, had it been there, I probably would have brought it back to Germany with me and put it on top of my bookcase here.

It was a totally misguided present, but, now that I am pausing to reflect upon it, it had staying power.

2 comments to Present Failures: The Baseball Glove.

  • Mateo

    What kind of puppet show did you put on? I did one of those in school. I also played baseball in little league. However, neither of these interests me now.

    • I don’t remember much — they were hand puppets, and I remember that one was a green dinosaur with spikes, and that the inside of it felt very rough — but beyond that, it comes down to warm fuzzy feelings.