My father’s words 不在场的教诲
文章来源:未知 文章作者:meng 发布时间:2009-09-29 00:37 字体: [ ]  进入论坛


Before they closed my father’s casket, I left him with a gift. After all he had given me, it was the least and best I could do. He passed away the day I got my 1,000th career hit, in the final game of the 2002 season, so at his side I left the ball from my milestone1.

Besides the surreal and horrifying2 last moment of seeing him lying in permanent stasis, it was also the first time I could remember giving him a special game ball without him slipping a $10 bill into my hands to congratulate me. His illness kept him out of whatever stadium I was playing in during the latter years of my career, though that didn’t stop him from patting me on the back from afar with a phone call or by what I could best describe as a “spiritual moment,” one when I would feel him sitting on my shoulder advising me while referencing a page out of his psychiatric repertoire3.

I left baseball in 2005, with a Triple-A contract on the table from the San Diego Padres. I left not for physical reasons — I’d had a torn hamstring tendon in 2003, but it hadn’t affected4 my speed — but because it was my season for change. So I decided5 to walk away and once I did, like the vast majority of players, I was lost. It would be the first time since I learned to swing a bat that I would spend an entire summer without ever putting on a uniform. Even if you get a going-away party like the one the Phillies gave me on June 25th, 2005, when I threw out the first pitch of the Philadelphia-Boston game on a national TV, once the last partygoer walks out the door it’s no longer you against that fastball, it is you against yourself.

So you swim around trying to figure out what young, retired6 baseball players do with their lives. For me, the moment was stark7 without the guiding wisdom of my father, who could communicate with me with just a nod of his head.

Since my retirement8, I have searched for the next passion that could fill the void that a life playing baseball creates when you are no longer putting on those spikes9. It is a daunting10 journey, and many players never find that closure or that next love. But they keep looking, even if other parts of their lives are crumbling11 behind them. Maybe that was part of the problem: searching. I found myself agreeing when I heard John Locke, the main character on “Lost,” say, “I found it just like you find anything else, I stopped looking.”

Of course my father could never be replaced, though that didn’t stop me from trying to find ways to preserve his legacy12, his worldview and his work. He was a practicing psychiatrist13, but his passion was writing. He left behind a body of poetry that guides me now that I can’t ask him how he handled his sons when we wanted to sleep in our parents’ bed, or what the best course of action would be in dealing14 with a difficult business partner, or a racist15 coach.

I have always remembered those moments when my father would be spontaneously inspired to write a poem. He would just walk off and lock in, pen to paper. He could turn his already phenomenal vocabulary into music. When I found out that he started writing poetry at age 7, I was amazed. Outside of the original collection of poetry I have, he left behind two books he published on his own.

I didn’t stay lost forever. I found something that I wasn’t looking for: a voice through writing. Only later did I understand that this would be a bridge to understanding my father in another way. A way that led me to connect to a passion I didn’t realize we both shared.

Writing introduced me to people who were otherwise strangers and made them guests at my table. Words can appear to be part of a one-way mirror, but they are in fact surprisingly reciprocal — a dynamic I’m reminded of when I call upon my father through his poetry. In this way, my father stays with me. I can preserve his inspiring legacy more powerfully through writing than through the hummingbird16 pendant I wear around my neck to honor his homeland of Trinidad, or a picture or heirloom.

After my first column, I went as a guest to a friend’s church in Chicago. In the foyer, a woman who also knew our host was waiting. She asked me whether I had written that opinion piece on fear, steroids and baseball. I told her I had. She proceeded to tell me that she taught journalism17 at Northwestern and that she thought it was the quintessential opinion piece. I had already known that for me writing was passion and even therapy, but now I also thought that maybe I’d found my next profession.

Thankfully, I always knew my father was proud of me — before the major league debut18, before the Ivy-league degree that was unfathomable to a generation of people who had only recently earned the right to vote. But despite living the dream of so many Americans and reaching its highest level, I have no doubt that he would be even prouder of what I am doing with my words. Words that I can leave for my son to day.


1 milestone c78zM     
  • The film proved to be a milestone in the history of cinema.事实证明这部影片是电影史上的一个里程碑。
  • I think this is a very important milestone in the relations between our two countries.我认为这是我们两国关系中一个十分重要的里程碑。
2 horrifying 6rezZ3     
  • He went to great pains to show how horrifying the war was. 他极力指出战争是多么的恐怖。
  • The possibility of war is too horrifying to contemplate. 战争的可能性太可怕了,真不堪细想。
3 repertoire 2BCze     
n.(准备好演出的)节目,保留剧目;(计算机的)指令表,指令系统, <美>(某个人的)全部技能;清单,指令表
  • There is an extensive repertoire of music written for the flute.有很多供长笛演奏的曲目。
  • He has added considerably to his piano repertoire.他的钢琴演奏曲目大大增加了。
4 affected TzUzg0     
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假装对我们的课题感到兴趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的态度不自然。
5 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
6 retired Njhzyv     
  • The old man retired to the country for rest.这位老人下乡休息去了。
  • Many retired people take up gardening as a hobby.许多退休的人都以从事园艺为嗜好。
7 stark lGszd     
  • The young man is faced with a stark choice.这位年轻人面临严峻的抉择。
  • He gave a stark denial to the rumor.他对谣言加以完全的否认。
8 retirement TWoxH     
  • She wanted to enjoy her retirement without being beset by financial worries.她想享受退休生活而不必为金钱担忧。
  • I have to put everything away for my retirement.我必须把一切都积蓄起来以便退休后用。
9 spikes jhXzrc     
n.穗( spike的名词复数 );跑鞋;(防滑)鞋钉;尖状物v.加烈酒于( spike的第三人称单数 );偷偷地给某人的饮料加入(更多)酒精( 或药物);把尖状物钉入;打乱某人的计划
  • a row of iron spikes on a wall 墙头的一排尖铁
  • There is a row of spikes on top of the prison wall to prevent the prisoners escaping. 监狱墙头装有一排尖钉,以防犯人逃跑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 daunting daunting     
  • They were faced with the daunting task of restoring the house.他们面临着修复房子的艰巨任务。
  • Starting a new job can be a daunting prospect.开始一项新工作有时会让人望而却步。
11 crumbling Pyaxy     
  • an old house with crumbling plaster and a leaking roof 一所灰泥剥落、屋顶漏水的老房子
  • The boat was tied up alongside a crumbling limestone jetty. 这条船停泊在一个摇摇欲坠的石灰岩码头边。
12 legacy 59YzD     
  • They are the most precious cultural legacy our forefathers left.它们是我们祖先留下来的最宝贵的文化遗产。
  • He thinks the legacy is a gift from the Gods.他认为这笔遗产是天赐之物。
13 psychiatrist F0qzf     
  • He went to a psychiatrist about his compulsive gambling.他去看精神科医生治疗不能自拔的赌瘾。
  • The psychiatrist corrected him gently.精神病医师彬彬有礼地纠正他。
14 dealing NvjzWP     
  • This store has an excellent reputation for fair dealing.该商店因买卖公道而享有极高的声誉。
  • His fair dealing earned our confidence.他的诚实的行为获得我们的信任。
15 racist GSRxZ     
  • a series of racist attacks 一连串的种族袭击行为
  • His speech presented racist ideas under the guise of nationalism. 他的讲话以民族主义为幌子宣扬种族主义思想。
16 hummingbird BcjxW     
  • The hummingbird perches on a twig of the hawthorn.小蜂鸟栖在山楂树枝上。
  • The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backward.蜂鸟是唯一能倒退向后飞的鸟。
17 journalism kpZzu8     
  • He's a teacher but he does some journalism on the side.他是教师,可还兼职做一些新闻工作。
  • He had an aptitude for journalism.他有从事新闻工作的才能。
18 debut IxGxy     
  • That same year he made his Broadway debut, playing a suave radio journalist.在那同一年里,他初次在百老汇登台,扮演一个温文而雅的电台记者。
  • The actress made her debut in the new comedy.这位演员在那出新喜剧中首次登台演出。
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