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Field of Screams

Field of Screams

By John Christmann

On warm spring days I can’t wait to toss the baseball around. “How about a game of catch?” I asked my son enthusiastically one glorious Saturday morning.  “No thanks, Dad,” he replied nonchalantly, oblivious of my pained expression, “I’d rather play lacrosse.”

Lacrosse?

These days, lacrosse is an increasingly popular springtime sport, complete with well-organized youth leagues and overly engaged parents.  But for Dads like me who somehow grew up believing that baseball was the quintessential American sport, lacrosse still seems like a silly stick game introduced by communist Frenchmen with a disdain for peanuts and Cracker Jack.

But the real problem is this: the only thing I knew about La Crosse is that it is somewhere in Wisconsin and home to Old Style beer and the G. Heileman Brewing Company.   So until my kids are old enough to drink beer, lacrosse is probably not a sport I can help them with.

Still, not wanting to miss out on a father-son bonding experience, I came up with a compromise.  “You use your stick and I will catch with my mitt!” I told him

We took our hallowed positions in silence at opposite ends of the yard.  I pounded the ball into my mitt a few times, then wound up and stiffly tossed him the ball.  Being the first throw of the season it was a bit high and wide for him to catch.  But he deftly raised the stick in the air and snatched the ball clean in the net.  And then, with one continuous motion he brought the stick around in a long graceful arc and flung the ball back to me.   It went like a missile, straight over the top of my mitt and into my forehead, knocking me flat to the ground.

And then, a dark shadow crossed the brilliant sky.  It hovered above me, a black silhouette against the sun.  It was the head of an Imperial Storm Trooper from the G. Heileman brewing company.  “Dad!  Dad!” it shouted, “Are you OK?”

As I said, I don’t know much about lacrosse, but I am sure glad his toss wasn’t three feet lower.

John Christmann is a freelance writer and all around good guy. He lives in Summit, NJ with his very tolerant wife and three children. His favorite color is plaid and he is afraid of machines and small dogs. You can check out his unique take on parenting at www.dadinthebox.com or fill up his inbox at john.christmann@dadinthebox.com.