I got my first basketball when I was six. I made my first basket a year later. There was a tetherball set; I must have been eight. And a football helmet when I was ten. A Carl Furillo-model baseball mitt at eleven. There were tennis rackets and fishing poles and boxing gloves and shrimp nets and a Mickey Mantle 32-inch Little League bat and one time, even a badminton set.
Every Christmas, I'd play out my dreams and my mind would fly over the rainbow, imagining my propulsion. Of course, I would become a major-leaguer, an All-Star, an all-time great, a Hall of Famer. We all would. My vision extended well beyond the day.
My athletic ability, alas, never kept stride. It was not the worst realization I would ever make.
But I have noticed a direct correlation between Christmas gifts and sporting dreams. The dreams are for the young. So are the gifts. Usually, the two disappear in unison. The rare few who project into greatness discover they do not need imagination to make those lofty flights of fantasy. Hope is not the co-pilot. Expectation is.
It must be a wonderful view.
I was thinking about all of this when another memory nudged me. My 17th Christmas I got a typewriter.