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Kathy Tofflemire, Published July 05 2011

Parenting Perspectives: Grandma’s sporting life

I love watching my oldest grandson play baseball.

First, because he’s good at it.

And, second, because I actually understand what’s happening on the field, maybe because appreciation for the sport runs in my family.

And it’s not like I don’t watch his other sporting experiences.

But after several autumns of football exposure, I’m still confused about the sport.

My daughter bought me a “Football for Dummies” book as a joke. But I really need to read that before the season is upon us again.

My grandson gave track and field a try before school ended. As a runner/hurdler, he enjoyed it. But as a spectator sport, it’s a whole lot of hurry up and wait – long periods between events that last for a nanosecond, or maybe two.

He went to Bruins basketball camp for a week, which he has done for several years. This year, sessions were early in the morning, and I rarely do early mornings, even for a boy I adore. I did intend to go

to the awards ceremony at week’s end, but I had a senior memory moment. Too bad I missed it: He got two ribbons and a small trophy.

Ah, but baseball. By the end of the season, I will have watched more than a dozen afternoon games and acquired a good tan, to boot.

The first game of the season, his mother was there with both camera and camcorder. She noted that her son bites his lip when he pitches and that, like her, he looks good in yellow, the color of this year’s team T-shirts.

Grandma just admires his natural form when he’s up at bat.

His great-grandfather would be so proud. Nobody loved baseball more than my dad. Sometimes he would watch one game on TV while listening to another on the radio. He was so devoted that he would go out and listen to

a game in the car if the radio reception was poor in the house.

The Twins and the Braves were his teams. Of course, that was before TV was flooded with sports channels. How he would have enjoyed being able to watch a baseball game being played somewhere every day.

I believe my dad planned trips to Minneapolis to see my brother and his family around the Twins home games, although I doubt he would have admitted it.

When scheduling my June wedding, I hoped it wouldn’t fall on a game day. I could envision him walking me down the aisle with a transistor radio in his pocket.

My mother was never a sports fan, but a broken hip and Parkinson’s disease made her a captive audience, so she watched the games with him. As his own health deteriorated, baseball was one of the few things that could take his mind off how he felt.

He died the year before the Twins won the 1987 pennant.

I told my brother that I felt so bad that Dad didn’t live to see it.

“How do you know he didn’t have something to do with it?” my brother replied.

Maybe he did, and just maybe he can see his 12-year-old great-grandson rounding the bases.


Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5514