Friday, November 06, 2009

A Quantum of Solace in the World Series

As a home of devoted Yankee-haters we are unhappy with the World Series outcome. But there is one small point of satisfaction. GoofBoy was becoming convinced that he was the cause of the losses. I let him stay up late and watch games 3 & 4. Through tears he told me, “Whenever I watch a game the team I root for loses, always, always!”

He blamed himself (he gets that habit from me.) I calmly told him that this was unreasonable. He began citing examples. He marshaled qualitative and quantitative data supporting his position. He noted the many instances of times when he rooted for the favored team and it lost, whereas when he made predictions about possible winners but did not watch the game he was very accurate. He had many specific examples going back for most of his life. The raw numbers were impressive and the findings were statistically significant.

The dad in me wanted to offer comfort, but the grad student in me was getting excited. What if my son were a living demonstration of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle who affected events just by observing them? Think of the groundbreaking research.

I tried to convince my son that this was a super-power.

“But dad…” he looked miserable.

“I know it’s a sacrifice, but that’s how it is with special powers. You think Spiderman has it easy, or Harry Potter, or Shazam?”

He had to go to bed early Monday night and the Phillies won. GoofBoy was pleased because it meant the Yankees lost, but it did nothing to relieve his concerns for his curse. He envisioned a long future of rooting for losers. I tried to console him with the lessons to be learned in loss. I told him how Toots Shor used to make his son watch the Mets because, “I want him to know life. It’s a history lesson. He’ll understand the depression.”

The cultural references were lost on him. Meanwhile visions of fellowships were dancing in my head.

Then the Phillies lost the series Wednesday night. He didn’t watch. The next morning when I told him, GoofBoy was pretty upset.

“Hey Buddy,” I explained, “Think on the bright side. You weren’t watching. They lost without you. It wasn’t because of you.”

GoofBoy looked at me gravely (well, as gravely as a little boy in spaceship pajamas can) and said, “I’m sorry dad.”

“For what?”

“Well, if I had the power to make teams lose by rooting for them, I would have learned to love the Yankees. I know you would have disowned me as your son for being a Yankees fan, but you would be so happy because then the Yankees would always lose.”

“Buddy, no…” I began.

“It’s ok dad, I thought about what you said, about Spiderman. With great power comes great responsibility. If I could make the Yankees lose, then I have to do it.”

“But we’ve proven it buddy, you don’t have the power so don’t worry about it. A little boy shouldn’t have that much responsibility. Harry Potter only had to fight Voldemort – not the Bronx Bombers.”


Angela J Reeves said...

I don't remember how I found your blog, but I love it. This story made my heart swell up with happiness that you are so creative, and that your son is so generous. Thank you for sharing!

Father Goof said...

Hey - thanks so much for reading.

I often mock him (gently) in my writing, but he is really an awesome kid.