An adult woman and senior male sit outside listening to baseball on the radio while talking

Play Ball! And Have a Chat

Last updated: August 2022

I enjoy watching sports... Socially. I can't tell you too many stats or facts about the teams I watch; unless it's the 41-33 score of Super Bowl 52 (go, Birds!).

Names of teams, stadiums, and mascots outside of Philadelphia tend to elude me. What I can tell you about is the feeling that comes with watching a game with family and friends. In particular, my growing fondness for baseball.

There's a reason baseball is known as "America's pastime." The slow and steady pace of the game can stretch for hours in the afternoon or evening. You don't have to keep your eyes peeled for a quick slick play, track a breakaway, or follow a fast-moving ball or puck.

All of this made baseball the ideal sport to watch with my Dad. When he was no longer able to keep up with the quick back-and-forth pace of hockey or basketball, baseball was still there.

The play-by-play

As a kid, many weekend afternoons were spent outside. Mostly because there was a lawn to be mowed or gutter to be de-clogged, and my Dad couldn't keep an eye on us if we were inside. While we rode our bikes in circles in the driveway or kicked a soccer ball back and forth, a radio play from the garage.

It was my Dad's way of listening to the play-by-play of the baseball game as he did housework. All of it was background noise to us, but soon enough, my siblings and I realized the same voice from the radio was also the one on the TV.

An opportunity to chat

As we got older, we had less free time on the weekends. Drama club rehearsals or basketball games became the priority, but my Dad never stopped listening.

When my Dad could no longer rake the leaves or spread mulch, he still had baseball. Those long games gave us an opportunity to chat. We might talk about how my Pops (grandpa) would have my Dad and aunt split pretzels and sodas at games. We might talk about when the Phillies won the World Series.

No pressure to keep up with a breakaway or follow which player was passing to who. We could cheer when a home run was hit and be bummed when someone struck out.

Slowed-down time with Dad

I cherished that slowed-down time with my Dad. I would like to think he felt likewise.

Oftentimes Alzheimer's is shown in such a negative light, and for good reason. If you are patient enough, there are moments of good. There could be a 15-minute walk around the block or 2 hours of sitting together talking about mascots or saying nothing at all.

This disease is about forgetting the past, but every once in a while, it reminds you to cherish the present.

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