There is park
that is not far from my house.
As a child,
I aptly named it
“The Park behind Our House,”
though truthfully,
it was more to the East
than really behind.

My father took me there
whenever we had the chance.
His job never really allowed him
much free time,
so we made it count.

He took me to the baseball fields
and I knew that day
that I wanted to be a professional
baseball player.
He would pitch me to until the sun went down,
and I cannot tell you how many times I swung
only to hear the sound of my bat
cutting through air.
He would laugh
and say,
“You got the fire, kiddo,
you just gotta know how to control it.”

Then he brought me to the soccer fields,
a soft brown,
because it was an old park,
you see.
And from sun up
until sun down,
we would pass the ball to each other.
I went to the library
and got as many books as my little arms could carry,
to teach myself
on how to be a professional soccer player.
I can always envision
seeing the goal,
my little legs pounding across the
russet fields,
and with all my might,
send that ball hurtling towards the goal.

But I always missed.
“You got the fire, kiddo.”

Then he introduced me to basketball,
and oh boy,
was I going to be the best basketball
this world had ever seen.
I watched as many games I could
and taught myself all the different positions.
I would get the ball in my hands
the orange pebbling brushing against
my hands.
I would shoot with the grace of Jordan,
but not once
did I hear the satisfying swish
I so desperately wanted to hear.

“You got the fire, kiddo.”

Try as I might,
I simply was not good
at baseball
or soccer
or basketball,
or just about every other thing
I tried.
But the one constant
throughout all of my failures,
as the smile my dad had on his face.
Somehow, that was more important
than being the best at something.

I saw that you could make people happy
with these things,
and that’s why I was so attracted to them.
But I failed at all of them because
I didn’t really want to be the best player,
I wanted to make people happy.
To do something good that matters.
To direct this fire
in a way that made others happy.

I always felt that I was wasting
this precious life I had
because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
But maybe,
as long as we are making
or ourselves,
then it doesn’t really matter
if we don’t know what’s going to happen.

Maybe we just have to ride the wind a bit.


3 thoughts on “Pastime

Add yours

  1. Making someone else happy is the most joyful sincere feeling. I know this. But if they are happy, and you’re not, I don’t know how long you can deal with that, surely not forever. After all, in my opinion, we all deserve that same type of love and appreciation back. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

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