Saturday, February 2, 2013


There are a lot of things I used to do with my dad growing up.  I think with me, he got the best of both worlds because he got a princess and a Tomboy all in one.  I guess to this day, not much has changed in that respect. I don’t like to do some of the same things, but one thing still remains constant to this day….baseball.

When I was younger, my dad really embraced the girly side of me, as well as the Tomboy side, too. Sure, he would take me shopping at Toys'R'Us and we would spend hours sometimes walking up and down the aisle checking out Barbie Dolls. It’s true, I can admit that.

We always used to check out the special edition dolls and after two decades I somehow collected HUNDREDS of Barbie dolls. As much as I enjoyed shopping and finding those special dolls, he did too. That is one of the many things that is so special about him.

Then of course, there was the other side. I liked sports too, but the only thing that we really did together was throw around a baseball. We never explored much else, and maybe that is why I am the maniac that I am today. There is nothing like grabbing a ball and a glove and just throwing it around with your dad. At the time, my dad was renting a house that was on a corner lot and the side yard was actually a giant sunk in valley of grass. On the VERY rare occasion that it rained it would flood, but in the winter and spring when it was cool enough outside we would grab out gloves and a baseball and we could be entertained for hours.

We really had two games that we would try and “out do” each other in. One game we created was starting to toss the ball back and forth staying close together. We would gradually take steps away from each other until it was a game of long toss, just like we get to see the Yankees do on the field when the catcher is warming up the starting pitcher for the game.
Eventually we would get so far away from each other it felt like my little arm was launching it with all my might and I was like Bernie Williams, shagging fly balls in centerfield. My dad had quite the arm, he could definitely hurl it and he had good aim.

I think my favorite game though was what we called, the “pop-up” game. My dad and I would throw the ball sky high and make the other one run after the ball, settle under it and snag it. Letting it hit the ground was not an option, so whoever shagged down the most balls got the ultimate bragging rights. I always thought it would be funny to throw the ball straight up into the air as close to my body as possible. I can still see him racing towards me to try to catch it. I’m pretty sure if you looked close enough you would see a train of dirt circling behind him. I enjoyed wearing my dad out a little too much.

In the back of my mind, when I think about playing catch with my dad the movie Field of Dreams comes to mind and I think that's why this is one of my favorite baseball movies. The first time I saw this movie, I was watching it with my dad. My favorite part of the movie is the end when Ray, the main character, asks his dad to play catch with him before he follows Shoeless Joe Jackson into the cornfields to disappear.

When I was younger I didn’t understand the theme behind it, but now that I do it means a lot more to me. I also feel fortunate that it didn’t take me late into my adult life to share this rite of passage with him.

Baseball season is finally almost here. It felt like it was crawling. During our usual Sunday morning family breakfast, the usual conversation of the Yankees came up. I continued to voice my frustration and complain about the money we no longer spend. He gets a kick out of it since he isn’t really a Yankee fan. Then we started talking about the Spring Training games we will go see together, and then another topic came up… one that we haven’t talked about in a long time. He asked me if I remembered all of the hours we used to spend outside playing ball; and creating our games. It brought back a smile for both of us and it feels like it is a lifetime ago. I miss that feeling.

My dad mentioned that we should go play again. He said he even saved my glove from years ago. It might not fit anymore, but it isn’t something he would get rid of. Next thing I knew he was asking me to play again. That question requires no time to think about a response, unlike the many other baseball questions he asks me about.

Yes dad, let’s grab those gloves again and play ball.

--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ

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