My father’s words 不在場的教誨
文章來源:未知 文章作者:meng 發布時間:2009-09-29 00:37 字體: [ ]  進入論壇


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.事實證明這部影片是電影史上的一個里程碑。
  • I think this is a very important milestone in the relations between our two countries.我認為這是我們兩國關系中一個十分重要的里程碑。
2 horrifying 6rezZ3     
  • He went to great pains to show how horrifying the war was. 他極力指出戰爭是多么的恐怖。
  • The possibility of war is too horrifying to contemplate. 戰爭的可能性太可怕了,真不堪細想。
3 repertoire 2BCze     
n.(準備好演出的)節目,保留劇目;(計算機的)指令表,指令系統, <美>(某個人的)全部技能;清單,指令表
  • There is an extensive repertoire of music written for the flute.有很多供長笛演奏的曲目。
  • He has added considerably to his piano repertoire.他的鋼琴演奏曲目大大增加了。
4 affected TzUzg0     
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假裝對我們的課題感到興趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的態度不自然。
5 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.這使他們比對手具有明顯的優勢。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英國人和中國人打招呼的方式有很明顯的區別。
6 retired Njhzyv     
  • The old man retired to the country for rest.這位老人下鄉休息去了。
  • Many retired people take up gardening as a hobby.許多退休的人都以從事園藝為嗜好。
7 stark lGszd     
  • The young man is faced with a stark choice.這位年輕人面臨嚴峻的抉擇。
  • He gave a stark denial to the rumor.他對謠言加以完全的否認。
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為金錢擔憂。
  • I have to put everything away for my retirement.我必須把一切都積蓄起來以便退休后用。
9 spikes jhXzrc     
n.穗( spike的名詞復數 );跑鞋;(防滑)鞋釘;尖狀物v.加烈酒于( spike的第三人稱單數 );偷偷地給某人的飲料加入(更多)酒精( 或藥物);把尖狀物釘入;打亂某人的計劃
  • a row of iron spikes on a wall 墻頭的一排尖鐵
  • There is a row of spikes on top of the prison wall to prevent the prisoners escaping. 監獄墻頭裝有一排尖釘,以防犯人逃跑。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
10 daunting daunting     
  • They were faced with the daunting task of restoring the house.他們面臨著修復房子的艱巨任務。
  • Starting a new job can be a daunting prospect.開始一項新工作有時會讓人望而卻步。
11 crumbling Pyaxy     
  • an old house with crumbling plaster and a leaking roof 一所灰泥剝落、屋頂漏水的老房子
  • The boat was tied up alongside a crumbling limestone jetty. 這條船停泊在一個搖搖欲墜的石灰巖碼頭邊。
12 legacy 59YzD     
  • They are the most precious cultural legacy our forefathers left.它們是我們祖先留下來的最寶貴的文化遺產。
  • He thinks the legacy is a gift from the Gods.他認為這筆遺產是天賜之物。
13 psychiatrist F0qzf     
  • He went to a psychiatrist about his compulsive gambling.他去看精神科醫生治療不能自拔的賭癮。
  • The psychiatrist corrected him gently.精神病醫師彬彬有禮地糾正他。
14 dealing NvjzWP     
  • This store has an excellent reputation for fair dealing.該商店因買賣公道而享有極高的聲譽。
  • His fair dealing earned our confidence.他的誠實的行為獲得我們的信任。
15 racist GSRxZ     
  • a series of racist attacks 一連串的種族襲擊行為
  • His speech presented racist ideas under the guise of nationalism. 他的講話以民族主義為幌子宣揚種族主義思想。
16 hummingbird BcjxW     
  • The hummingbird perches on a twig of the hawthorn.小蜂鳥棲在山楂樹枝上。
  • The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backward.蜂鳥是唯一能倒退向后飛的鳥。
17 journalism kpZzu8     
  • He's a teacher but he does some journalism on the side.他是教師,可還兼職做一些新聞工作。
  • He had an aptitude for journalism.他有從事新聞工作的才能。
18 debut IxGxy     
  • That same year he made his Broadway debut, playing a suave radio journalist.在那同一年里,他初次在百老匯登臺,扮演一個溫文而雅的電臺記者。
  • The actress made her debut in the new comedy.這位演員在那出新喜劇中首次登臺演出。
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