I have never been much of a sports enthusiast. In fact, one might say there is a long list of sports I am not very interested in, if at all. as a kid about the only time I developed an interest in baseball was on opening day. That interest waned quickly after opening day but opening day was important because school let out early to enable us to get home in time for the first pitch. While in High School I usually attended the Friday night foot ball or Basketball game, not for the thrill of the sport but because it got me out of the house. As a young lad, I was required to provide a reason for going out. I was not permitted to just go out to hang out. To further prove my point, I should mention that although I was born and raised in Cincinnati, a known professional sports town, I only attended one baseball game at Crosley Field, I never made it the Great American Ballpark, I have attended one game at the current facility, and the only time I ever attended a Bengal’s game was if I were being paid to be there.
I realize that in the minds of many, the above confession makes me a pariah in the world of sports enthusiasts. After all, how can a person who hails from the city that has consistently hosted a professional baseball team since 1881 not be infected with the sports bug. How could it be possible that a boy who grew up during an era when basketball greats such as Jack Twyman and Oscar Robertson were putting Cincinnati on the map. The simple answer is, I just don’t know. I was not encouraged as a kid to participate in sports. I spent either one or two years as a member of a local Knothole team but certainly did not excel. That does explain my one attendance at Crosley Field as I attended one year on Knothole Day. My father did not push me into sports. In fact, he too was not much of a fan. The only sport I remember him following was professional boxing. He did encourage me in that direction, and as a kid I put the gloves on once or twice. However, it did not take long for me to realize that it hurt when my opponent punched me so in that sport also, I quickly lost interest. Now I have told you all that to tell you this. Things are changing. Suddenly I am becoming an avid spectator in witnessing the thrill of the victory and the agony of defeat.
This past spring, my seven-year old grandson became involved in flag football. I, as a dutiful grandpa attended each game. I did not expect to have fun, but to my amazement, I found my self highly stimulated by the accomplishments of my Grandson, AJ. And his team mates. I felt the adrenalin flow as he made a long run to score a touchdown. I was supercharged when he threw the game winning pass. I was overjoyed when his team was the “winningest” team in the league, winning seven and losing two. And it did not end there. Realizing that he enjoyed the game, and with the encouragement of his father and uncle (who I believe are living vicariously through him), he has now gone on to his first season of tackle football. He is now a proud member of the Glen Este Trojans 2nd grade team, and his winning career continues as his team is currently undefeated after three games. Just in case you are wondering, one of his coaches dubbed him “Smokescreen” at an early practice and hence the title of this article.
Because of my Grandson’s involvement in the sport, I am becoming more involved as a spectator as well. I am even learning some the terms and can say tight end without snickering. With that, there is only one thing left to say. GO SMOKESCREEN!!
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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