Yes, to answer one comment from an everyday reader, there were sufficiently crazy things that happened in this last week, but, in my pledge not to alienate family and friends who read this blog, I must hold back. Think of a big
where blogs about this last week ought to have been. Maybe I will write about going to the acupuncturist. Mañana.
So, we start again with today:
When we were kids, our dad used to take us on more-or-less yearly pilgrimages to Paragon Sports on 18th Street and Broadway to get outfitted for the Spring and warm weather sports (we also did an ancillary run in late June, just before camp, but it was epic in a different way). We all grew over the winter (why do kids grow over winter?) so the prior year’s gear didn’t fit anymore.
For me, this was our family’s official opening day of Spring. Passover was religious but this was visceral. The promise of warmer, longer days leading into endless summer. I still hold on to the fantasy even though I am 45 years-old and haven’t had a summer of play in 28 years. I bet my siblings don’t remember this, but I do. My father, in his hat that looked vaguely Russian, with a dress coat and wing-tipped shoes, in a sports mecca. In fact, I would bet money that my brother doesn’t remember these excursions because he can only remember that Dad dressed him in a Mets outfit at a Mets game (in 1969 when they were the champs). But you have to remember that my dad wore wing-tipped shoes on the weekends until the mid-80s, so the man did the best he could.
In truth, since my siblings were 3 and 4 years older than me, these outings probably lasted until I was in 8th grade, after which it was impossibly embarrassing to shop with my dad. Maybe in my mind’s eye, these trips loom larger than they really did, although I associate Paragon with Dad. Also, in the 1970s, to schlep from the upper east side to 18th Street and Broadway with kids in tow was not for the faint-of-heart because Union Square was a needle park and there were many unsavory characters all around. And in these 28 years, that area transformed, so it is not like going parent-and-child into a combat zone.
Maybe today it felt like a Family Event because my son and I made the trek to Paragon, this time from the Upper West Side. My son wanted to stay home because it was raining cats-and-dogs (which is one of the stupidest expressions ever) and the wind was howling. No way we are staying in. We are going on a pilgrimage, young man. You have outgrown all of the sports gear you have. And, now that you are interested in football, hockey, baseball and basketball, we are going to get you the right stuff. Yes, sir. You may have two moms, AND you are going to have the right sports gear. Even if you NEVER use it.
My son is more of an intellectual sports fan. He likes facts and information and he likes to watch others play. So, this trip was a little, eensy, bit more about me than him. Never mind, one of the joys of parenting is that you can thrust your desires upon them and then pay for the years of resulting, required therapy.
We get to Paragon, which has gotten bigger over the years, but it essentially the same store (ok, I have been back over the years, but it is amazing how much the same it is). A young man, Vladimir, helped us get the right size baseball mitt (I got one, too), basketball, soccer ball and football. Also a solid, well-made baseball and an air pump. I inquired about oil for the glove and how long he needs to sleep with the ball in the glove under his pillow to mold the mitt. My son was browsing the sports jerseys for his favorite teams. Ok, this really was all about me.
I did not get him hockey gear because there is no way he is playing that insane sport. Oh, and, football, you ask? Only two-hand touch, thank-you-very-much. I did not bring him into this world to watch him go out on a stretcher.
I wanted to play with everything once we got home (even if doing so violated the house rules I set). He wanted to play Star Wars: The Clone Wars on the computer. Ah the picture becomes even clearer, you think.
At one point, I worried that I bought all of this gear and didn’t get my son a “cup”. Then I realized that I am the only one who will be playing with this equipment and I need different protective gear, including some for my ego, my heart and my hopes of playing ball with my son.