From time to time to time, I guest blog for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. In the past, I’ve written about being a father and frogs (of all things). I’m not a prolific writer for them, but my best friend works there, and I know with other staff, so I like to keep an eye on what they’re doing and support in my own, very small way. When I recently learned of their new exhibition 100 Toys that Define Our Childhood, the brain cogs started turning. Legos, lunchboxes, Hot Wheels, Star Wars, robots, sledding, and more – yes please. Aren’t toys wonderful?
Of all the toys I played with as a kid, video games really stand out. I sometimes joke that they helped raise me. If that’s the case, Super Mario Brothers, Track and Field, Sky Kid, Legend of Zelda, and Tecmo Bowl would be my Aunts, Uncles, and babysitters. I pressed ‘A’ and ‘B” a lot. I’ve thought a lot about that time period, some 25 years ago. 25!!! Looking back, I was a skinny, lanky teenager that wore an Atlanta Braves hat daily, tuned into TBS to watch the Braves and Dale Murphy (with an insane baseball card collection), and would insert the R.B.I. Baseball cartridge into my old Nintendo Entertainment System and play for hours with my best friend. What fond memories.
I feel old. 25 years is a long time. It’s been filled with incredible moments and unforgiveable mistakes. Almost 40, I’m in a reflective state of mind. As a 14 year old, my idol was Dale Murphy. I definitely took some detours along the way. I’m no Dale Murphy. I have a lot of work to do.
In 1987, Dale Murphy batted .295, cranked out 45 home runs and brought home 105 batters. They were incredible statistics during the pre-steriod era. With limited baseball video game options, my best friend and next door neighbor, Mike Aruta, turned to R.B.I. Baseball as a way of reliving a sport we loved and to represent our favorite players of the time. R.B.I. Baseball featured select teams (no Braves, because they were awful), but did have the ’87 American and National League All Star teams. Murph was on the NL team, but not a starter. My first move in every game? Subbing in Dale Murphy for Pedriq. Btw – read this if you’re a true R.B.I. fan and want to know who this Pedriq character is. I felt great pride when he knocked one, way back, way back, way back, and over the wall.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped following baseball. Murphy retired. I grew suspicious of all the record breaking escapades occurring in baseball. And life happened. But this year, I bought myself an Atlanta Braves hat, started following the Braves again, and went to a Triple A game. And then I started thinking of Dale Murphy. Teenage me had his rookie baseball card, his poster on my wall, and his stats memorized.
And this happened….on Twitter, of course.
How cool is that? It took me way back. 25 years back. 25lbs back. Lots wrinkles and gray hairs back. As cheesy as it sounds, Murphy hit a home run with me. For a short time, I felt like a kid again. It was exhilarating. And it reminded me of what a special gift I have with my family. I can’t wait for Lea and I to experience Oliver as a skinny, lanky teenager. It’s what really matters in life.
Thank you Dale Murphy.