Trying to Explain Baseball

The bell goes off. It’s time for recess. The majority of the boys run like wild and play whatever sport is in season. Then, there are the rest of the boys who for whatever reason don’t join in. This is BR, my eight-year-old.  Despite his tall, slim, and muscular build, BR shys away from playing organized sports. His o.t. issues and poor coordination hold him back.

BR’s best friend is in the same category and this softens the blow. They enjoy each other’s company.

However, we (my wife and I) don’t want sports to act as a social barrier for BR.

So, we got him books (a biography of Derek Jeter and Everything Kids Baseball Book) about sports. It makes perfect sense. He loves to read and has an amazing memory.  He has a keen interest in numbers and soon enough he will memorize the stats. So he may not play organized sports, but at least, he can be conversant when the other boys talk about sports.

Of course, it’s not so simple. He’s a bit awkward and not always socially appropriate (many adults are not always socially appropriate either, but I think you know what I mean). Anyway, gaining the sports knowledge in addition to our Wii sportsathons and practice sessions in the backyard will hopefully help his ability to socialize with the other boys.

However talking about sports is not simple.

BR was reading down the list of all time home run leaders. It is a virtual who’s who of steroid abusers. I mentioned to him that a number of the players on the list including Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Sammy Sosa were cheaters.

“How did they cheat?”

“They used drugs.”

“Where did they get the drugs?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did they know they were using drugs?”

“They knew.”

“What did the drugs do?”

“It made them stronger.”

“Why can’t you use them?”

“They are illegal.”

“So, how did they get them?”

“I don’t know. I guess someone gave it to them.”

“Who gave it to that person?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did they go to jail?”


“Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“You’re right.”

The conversation went from there. BR remained confused while I emphasized that cheaters and drugs are wrong.

Sports can instill and teach many worthwhile lessons. They helped me, a shy guy, feel good about himself and part of something. I believe sports can help BR find a way to fit in with his peers. However, drugs and cheating have to be part of a conversation about professional sports. And that is a disappointing reality.