Friday, December 03, 2010

Generations of Sportsmen by Robin Gorman Newman

What a nice long Thanksgiving weekend we had.  It passed way too quickly.  But, then I guess the good times so often do.

My senior dad stayed with us for five nights since his live-in aide went home to be with her family.  We kept him mighty busy, in between his regular afternoon naps and various ball games on television.  My dad has always been big on sports, whether watching or playing.  He was a baseball player himself in his prime.  He loves, in fact, to share the story of how he grew up with the famed Phil Rizzuto...he knew him "when.."  And, how he used to take my sister and I to baseball games at now historic Shea Stadium in NY, and he raised us to play tennis and attended the US Open many many times.  My mom was never particularly sporty, though she would take my sister and I ice skating.  I never liked it.  It was cold and wet, and I had a recurring fear of falling on the ice and having my hand run over with a blade (which thankfully never happened....but clearly I was out of my comfort zone in the rink.)  I never took lessons.  Just winged it.  Maybe that was part of the challenge.  A natural I was not.

My dad loves to reminisce, and it's sweet....and I imagine somewhat bittersweet for him.

G-d bless him at 92...many his age don't get around much....and if they do, they are using a cane, walker, etc.  My dad, walks on his own, though his aged body is a constant source of frustration for him.  I saw this particularly this weekend.

We took my father with us to a New York Islanders game.  It was the first for me, and the first for Seth.  We had fabulous seats, and the Islanders broke their losing streak and won the game.  It was pretty exciting to see them win our first time out. And, I liked the energy of the fans and Islander Girls who entertained during game breaks, whether scraping the ice or shooting tshirts out blasters to hungry fans.   My son was totally into it.  He's now proudly proclaiming that the Islanders are his favorite team, and I'd have to say, mine as well.

My dad was at first reluctant to go.  He tends to say "no" to many things these days, presuming he won't feel up to it.  But, my thought is that if he pushes himself, he will likely be fine.  And, he was in this case.  In fact, the seats were quite comfortable....better than I had expected.  So, no complaints about that.

However, when he had to go to the bathroom, he struggled to walk up the stairs at the stadium....since we were seated fairly low down.   He's not used to that kind of effort (I've told him on more than one occasion that he would benefit from more exercise).  Seth said he needed to go too, so he rushed to be by grandpa's side and firmly held his hand, as the two of them walked side by side up the stairs.  It was so heartwarming, I almost cried.  I whipped out my camera to try to get a photo.  For the moment, I thought about who was leading who.  My dad needed assistance walking.  And, my son needed assistance finding the bathroom, navigating through the crowd, and then returning to our seats.  They made a very able duo.

Before my eyes was my beloved father...the aged sportsman.  And, my 7 year old....a little sportsman in the making, growing up quickly.  Two different generations with the same ardent love.  A passion for all things sports.

It made me think back to my childhood and how my dad might have been if he'd had a son.  Not that he doesn't love my sister and I, but I'm not one for watching sports on television.  And, my dad didn't have the opportunity to teach me or anyone to play baseball.  He did teach me to ride a bike, but that's not the same.

Was it frustrating for him?  As parents, we love our children regardless of gender.  And, it's interesting for me to have a son.  I was always the girly girl growing up.  Surrounded by Barbie dolls and play makeup, my Kiddles, costume jewelry, pot holders, etc. were never far behind.  Now, when my son works hard to engage me in play with him, whether we're being spys, firemen, building with legos, acting like military, etc., it's a whole different type of play.  It's not something I'm familiar with, so I endeavor to put on my Rescue Hero hat and rise to the occasion.

But, now that we've shared the experience of attending an Islander game, I look forward to more, and I'm grateful that we have the memories of this first hockey occasion for our family.

PS -- The New York Islanders offer a lot for families.  Check out the following:

Click on this link Islanders Kids Day  -- for info. about special activities on Dec. 5.

Islanders Toy Drive – Before the Dec. 18 game versus the Phoenix Coyotes, donate three unopened gifts and receive a ticket voucher for the Jan. 11 game against the Vancouver Canucks. All toys go to the Wantagh-based John Theissen Children’s Foundation.

Join the Islanders Kids Club! Children under 14 can join this special group to receive exclusive benefits from the Isles! -

Visit to get help on school work from your favorite Islanders. You can join the Blades for Grades program here, too, where students are rewarded for good grades with Islanders tickets!

Also, check out their splash page at to see the deal on holiday packs – Get 2 tickets to 3 different premier games, $40 in food vouchers, a $40 Butera’s Gift Card, 20% merchandise discount and an autographed puck with special display case.

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Blogger Cara Meyers said...

I wish my Dad had lived even a few more years to share "boy" things with Brandon. Your description of them walking hand in hand made my eyes well up. I could see that with my Dad and son also. So glad you captured a beautiful that you will always remember!

12:31 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Very heartfelt moment here. My parents are both 86, and it is touching to see them interact with my children. The cycle of life definitely makes me pause to contemplate such moments in my own life. Thanks for sharing.

7:25 AM  

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