Maybe the great American pastime isn’t for everybody

My wife and I used to have a cat.

Now we have a 5-year-old son.

There are pros and cons to each.

One sheds decidedly less than the other.

One poops in a box in the basement — and for the sake of DHS, I’ll just be up front and note that, in our particular case, it was always just the cat.

Both hate baths.

I’m not a cat person. I wasn’t when my wife rescued the first one, nor was I one when she adopted a second and a third.

And so I gritted my teeth, invested in enough Scotch lint rollers to warrant myself a seat on the board of directors of 3M, and waited them out like a bad student loan — albeit one that pooped in a box in my basement.

My wife loved her cats, although I always made sure to point out that, were she ever to die alone in the house, those same cats would have had absolutely no qualms eating her.

Some days, I look at our 5-year-old son and wonder the same thing.

However, I look back at two things from our days as childless cat owners and still laugh.

One was the notion — my wife’s idea, after reading about it online — that we could potty-train the cats and get them to use the toilet instead of getting litter everywhere.

My wife was obviously trying to appeal to the clean freak in me — bless her — but the idea of a cat on the toilet freaked me out even more.

The second was our purchase of a leash in order to take our cats on walks.

The idea that some company out there even markets “cat leashes” in the first place is preposterous.

Are they a novelty item, like pet rocks, and we just didn’t get the joke?

I mean, have you ever seen a cat being walked?

First of all, I about lost the skin on my forearm trying to put the leash on the cat. Second, once it was finally on, he just flopped over and started chewing on the leash.

Had we wanted to actually walk him, we would have had to just drag him around.

I got to thinking about cats — and the hardships I faced in trying to bend them to my will — this past weekend, when my son slipped on his brand new baseball glove for the first time and I tried to show him how to play catch.

I figured that, with his first tee ball practice scheduled for Saturday, he should at least have some concept of how to use the glove.

This is the moment fathers live for — Dad and Junior out in the yard on a warm spring day, tossing the ol’ baseball back and forth.

But, after this first lesson in Baseball 101, I’m thinking we should just skip directly to how to select the best performance-enhancing drugs and how to fool any urine tests that might be administered during the season by Jefferson Park and Rec.

My kid took to his glove like the cat took to his leash.

In fact, whoever his tee-ball coach is, they already have my respect.

The phrase “herding cats” comes to mind.

I realize that tee ball serves as a child’s introduction to the great American pastime, but saying you’re a tee-ball coach is sort of like saying, “I’m the coach of a donkey basketball team.”

Actually, it would be pretty awesome if Jefferson combined all of its tee-ballers into a single team and they played visiting packs of cats, squirrels and field mice.

One way or another, it’s gonna be pandemonium on the diamond come Thursday evenings this spring.

I guess I can understand how confusing it could be to be handed a baseball glove for the first time.

Up to this point, we’ve only played catch with a bouncy football, and I’ve encouraged him to use his body to catch the ball.

Now I’m saying just the opposite.

Envisioning a ball to the teeth — and knowing that we haven’t yet purchased dental insurance since moving back to town — I decided to change it up and throw him some light grounders instead.

The only problem with that is that he now exclusively wants to roll the ball on the ground back and forth.

Maybe 5 is too young for organized baseball, tee or no tee.

Or maybe he just has too much of me in him.

Grown men, I think, sometimes forget how mediocre they were at sports, preferring to reimagine themselves as superstar jocks.

When I was in Little League here in town, I didn’t once hit the ball anywhere near the fence.

But I recently drove by that same Little League field and, as a grown man, thought about how easy it looked to hit a home run.

I fully confess, though, to having been a below average athlete in my youth.

I mean, when I think back to being in baseball, the first thing that comes to mind is the concession stand, if that says anything.

I can still taste the sweetness of the Laffy Taffy and the Nerds — paired with the saltiness of my tears when I learned I once again hadn’t been voted onto the All-Star team.

It’s a rite of passage to play sports, but truth be told, if my son never wanted to throw a baseball or catch a football or shoot a basketball, I wouldn’t mind.

In fact, maybe we’ll just forget this whole thing and I’ll get him a cat.

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161