He was athletic and with a lot of energy— “off the wall” kind of energy. But he wasn't thrilled about baseball. He enjoyed playing it, but he wasn't crazy about it the way he was other things. With a Dominican heritage running through his blood, all he heard was that he was destined to play it. But in the end, all he really wanted was to be with his dad. His dad was into sports, baseball especially. He figured he would stick with it. With every hit, with every catch, he would turn his attention to his dad and with his hands lifted in high from uncontrollable excitement, he would say, “Papi, did you see that?!” But equally devastated, his head hung low with every strikeout, every missed catch, or every missed opportunity to do something greater than the rest of the kids. He was certain his dad was disappointed.
There’s something about having your dad around that fills a kid with so much excitement and sometimes with so much pressure. There’s something about his presence that drives a kid do his best— he swings harder, runs faster, and gets dirtier. Some kids who didn't have their fathers do it to prove they don't need him or maybe some do it to grab the attention of any older dude watching them. He thinks to himself— “Is he watching? Does he love me? Am I worth the glance? Does he even care?”. But what if he knew, in a way that couldn't be shaken, that he stood right at the center of his dad’s affections? What if he knew that his achievements could only make his dad proud, but they couldn't make him love his son more or less than he did in that moment? What if he knew that his father loves him simply because he’s his son?