As a kid, my hockey gear was sentenced to the garage long before my playing days were over. I still recall my mother’s disgust as she accurately assessed the origin of the stink and pointed in exile. Head down, I placed my goalie bag in the corner of the garage where I would retrieve it each morning for our 5 AM practices. In the dead of winter, the shock of wearing frozen equipment on frozen ice still makes me shiver.
Apparently our senses, just like our inability to see the biases of our minds, skew the intensity of the particles that propel from our well-worn sports gear. For survival sake I am sure, we are immune to the cloud that wafts and slaps the faces and sinuses of those nearby. One day after batting practice, my youngest, Evan, now 16 and manly, got into the car, his fermented batting gloves preceding him by a good bit. The “Oh!” that escaped me resembled the many I heard when donning my goalie equipment way back when.
Briefly I schooled Evan on the care of batting gloves, explaining the benefits of a lukewarm bath with a hint of anti-bacterial soap. His pushback surprised me, but then again I wasn’t sure if he totally understood why others scattered when he gloved up. One “no” after another until we finally got to the meat. “But Dad, I’m hitting well.”
Flash to one of my favorite movies, and Crash Davis is in my ear, “A player on a streak has to respect the streak… You know why? ‘Cause they don’t happen very often!” A moment of thoughtful silence. A nod of understanding. Suddenly the smell was not so bad. “You are, son. You are hitting well.”
The next morning I noticed the batting gloves on display on the garage floor. Just a few inches away Evan’s bat rose long and proud from the side compartment on his equipment bag. Still life with gear. I held my breath for more than one reason. The joy of fatherhood, the accountability of Karma and… the streak.