So, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been in the midst of a fairly intense case of edublogging ennui of late, thus the pretty shallow link blogging that’s been showing up here. I’m in one of those grim spaces that I get into with all of this from time to time, the one where it feels like everything is pretty much of an echo, that there’s nothing moving, that I have nothing new, important or even intelligent to say, that there’s nothing new to read. That the world is moving too fast. That the conversation about schools is moving too slowly. That I’ve hit some sort of ceiling.
Thus I’ve been continuing my little respite from deep thinking and air travel (the second of which ends tomorrow with a trip to North Dakota) by playing with my kids, running (10K in 53 mins on Saturday…oy) and reading lots of books, some of which actually have nothing to do with education and learning. (What a concept!) And there have been pony club competitions and soccer games and recitals and parties. And I think I’ve reached the point where my kids are almost…almost…wanting me to go back and spend more time on the computer.
Yep…it’s been that good.
But the most interesting piece has been watching my son’s blooming passion for baseball. I think I may have blogged about this before, but a couple of months ago I was rooting around in my garage for some rust-laden gardening tool when I found a old, faded-red, Converse shoe box packed to the gills with my Topps baseball card collection from the late sixties that somehow had trailed along with me all of these years. The mold on the box was enough to get me wheezing, and the cards had that gritty, hadn’t seen daylight in a while feel, so I turned the cache over to Tucker and said “Hey, you can have these if you want them.” I don’t even think he knew what he was looking at when he first opened the box, but some atavistic baseball gene must of been set afire because ever since he’s been a non-stop baseball question machine, mostly along the lines of “Hey Dad, was Carl Yasertski good?” with me responding “Yas-trem-ski, Tuck, and yes, he was good.”
Over the course of the last couple weeks, he’s actually shifted his computer use from Club Penguin to the Beckett online price guide site where we anted up $4.99 for a month’s worth of searching their gazillion card database to see how much all these “treasures” were worth. And he’s gone through all of them. As in about 750 of ‘em. (Picture a seven-year-old typing in “Red Schoendienst.”) And, since we’re talking about a seven year old’s nascent attempts at creating an organizational scheme to keep track of all of it, we’re talking about, I’d say, 1200-1500 searches at this point. Think teetering piles on the desk, the floor, the couch and an evil sister who “accidentally” knocks them over.
But he’s made some finds, like the Thurman Munson rookie card that in “mint” (not “pseudo-moldy”) condition is worth $100. (We’re calling it $75 for now.) And the three…count ‘em…three Pete Rose cards from 1968 that are each worth $60…er…somewhere around $40. And all the ones he’s found that are worth over $5 and set off a mad dash through the house along the lines of “Dad! Dad! I found a Harmone Killaber for $12! Was he good?” “Kill-e-brew, Tuck, and yes, he was pretty good.”
Anyway, all of this has led to a couple of quality, highly stereotypical father-son moments of Tucker and me lazing on the couch watching a Yankees or Phillies game, (the Mets are forbidden) his new card album in his lap, incessantly asking questions about the game, soaking it all up, and me thinking wistfully how cool it would have been to (wait for it…) have a father to do all this with me when I was growing up. (Sniff.)
But here’s the thing…the intensity of his passion for learning about these badly posed baseball players from 40 years ago and about how the game is played today has really amazed me. And I’m thinking, what does he need second grade for? He’s learning all sorts of math (he really gets batting averages and earned run averages, I think) and geography (think Google Maps of baseball stadiums) and history (“No Tuck, they didn’t have steroids when Hank Aaron played”) and economics (“Why are some cards worth more than others?”) and physics (“How does he make that ball curve like that?”) and reading and spreadsheets and globalization and…you get the idea. There is a lot to learn from baseball, but more importantly, there is a lot to learn from passion. And none of it is happening on a WORKSHEET!
Too. Much. Fun.
Oh, and by the way, there is one thing I’m modeling for him, and that is what passion can do for your memory. My wife sat in complete, dumbstruck silence yesterday as for 15 minutes Tucker waded through a big stack of cards and threw names at me.
Tucker: “Sal Bando”
Me: “Oakland A’s, third base.”
Tucker: “Cookie Rojas”
Me: “Phillies, second base.”
Tucker: “Jim Frogose”
Me: “Fer-go-si…Angels, shortstop.”
And so it went. I missed one…I had Wade Blasingame on the Twins instead of the Astros.
Let’s see, now what do I remember from high school…?
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