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  • Writer's pictureSteve Gamel

Please don't let that home run be his last

Updated: Jul 19, 2019

For the first time in nearly 20 years, I was actually angry that I was "stuck" covering a high school game on a Tuesday night.

Everyone who knows me is aware how much I love sports, and my job in general. I mean, what's better than getting paid to sit on your butt and cover a game? Isn't that every guy's dream? But on that one night while I was watching a volleyball match in Argyle, my oldest son, Christian, hit his first career home run across town in Denton.

I missed it.

It's a crushing blow for any parent who misses a "first" of anything that their kids do. Maybe it's their first steps, or the first word they utter — I had one friend who missed taking his daughter to daycare on her first day and was miserable. There are examples all over the place, and I've missed a few minor things here and there. But my boy's dinger ranks right up there as one of the crummiest moments of my life.

I was "stuck" doing what I love doing for a living — but it cost me a chance at a family memory.

I felt so bad that I actually prayed it was one of those cheap little league home runs you see where the batter crushes a slow roller to the shortstop, who kicks the ball around about four times before dropping his glove and hurling the ball over the first baseman's head. By the time the defense knows what's going on, your kid is already rounding third for an easy score.

My wife, Leslie, had texted me to let me know. So naturally, my question was, "Did it leave the infield?" I hoped she'd say no, but instead I got, "He hit it in the outfield." As it turns out, it was a pretty decent shot to right field and no one could field it. Christian, of course, says the ball went all the way to the fence.

I guess I have no choice but to believe him. After all, I wasn't there.

At the end of the day, I couldn't be more proud of Christian. I can remember hitting home run after home run (I'm not embellishing on that statement, by the way) in various neighborhood pickup games and batting practice. But in a legitimate game, when something was actually on the line, I couldn't duplicate that power. And until recently, neither did Christian.

I couldn't wait to get home that night so he could recount the entire at-bat. It wasn't the same as being there in person, but he was so incredibly excited and vivid in his description. He'll have another game on Saturday, and guess who wouldn't miss it for the world? Me.

Hopefully for his sake — and mine — that one home run won't be his last.

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