The Gospel Truth

My Boy’s Boy | June 4, 2010

After attending a banquet for the Italian-American organization UNICO, I was fortunate to meet the late Dean Martin’s oldest daughter Deana Martin and her husband.

I always liked the films that he did with comedian Jerry Lewis.

One of the earlier one I saw when I was about eight years old was That’s My Boy, which also starred Eddie Mayehoff.

He played Jarring Jack Jackson, a former gridiron hero who wished that his son would be the All-American player he had been.

Well after a series of plot twists and subplots, Mayehoff gets his earthly wish and utters the title of the movie with great parental pride:

THAT’S MY BOY!

During my two sons’ active sports life, I had a number of occasions to summon a similar kind of paternal pride.

I guess the high point of all the games I coached and watched had to be my son Matthew’s seven straight foul shots for Priory’s 7th Grade team to win the game by two points.

I kept yelling to myself Bend your knee and dip and shoot before each one hit the cords.

But the biggest accomplishment had to be the year–1977 I think it was–when my oldest son, Mark and our 2nd through 4th grade team went 12-0.

It was truly THE PERFECT SEASON.

Mark was a good little left-hander, who could throw a ball before he could walk.

He couldn’t break a pane of glass but he consistently got people out.

I started calling him, the Mad Bavarian, a mock salute to a local player, Al The Mad Hungarian, Hrabosky.

The latter would stomp around the mound, pounding the ball into his glove to get himself all lathered up!

He was also a lefty and like most of them, somewhat on the eccentric side.  He had this dark Fu-Manchu mustache that I wanted Mark to have.

Well he wasn’t 10 yet and so I thought about pasting some blonde hair from his head over his upper lip.

As great as these memories were, having grandchildren is an entirely a new and different ball game.

With my interest in baseball, I thought for sure that my three children would bless their mother and me with at least enough for a Borst Family team.

But as my destiny would seem to have it, I have just enough for BRIDGE!

What kind of name is that for a game?

It sounds like something a dentist would do!

And I don’t even know how to play…though I am told they do have a rubber like baseball.

So I have to resign myself to the fact that I have just the one grandson.

Perhaps that’s the way it was meant to play.  This is no reflection on his two sisters or his one female cousin.

I often tell him he is my favorite grandson. The first time I used that line he thought for a minute and finally said:  Daddy B (that’s what they call me– sort of glorified uncle because I am not mature enough to be a grandfather.) I’m your ONLY grandson!”

And I tell him: That’s right and that means you got it LOCKED!

I have tried to bond with him but being his grandfather is much different then when I was teaching, coaching, cheering and disciplining his father.

I don’t have that awesome responsibility any more and quite frankly I don’t miss it.

But there is something extraordinary about having just the one and only grandson.

And Tyler is very special indeed.

I have not over-indulged him the way I did his father, whom I coached for six baseball seasons and  a pair of  basketball teams.

I have only gone to a dozen or so of his games over the years but what I have seen has given me a boatload of thrills.

Baseball was the family sports when I was a new father.

Tyler’s first experience with baseball was not a pleasant one.  He was a year younger than most of the players–it was obvious that he was not ready.  He was timid and shied away from the ball.

Like kids his age, he liked to pick flowers in the outfield.

I fought the fear that my only grandson might have been…a…. But I still would have loved him anyway!

It was at a flag football game a few years later that I saw the big change in his athletic demeanor.

All my grandchildren can run like the wind–that was the only sport I had a modicum of success with–track.  I garnered three medals in my life and got one of them just for finishing the race.

Well in this one game he is running all over the field, anticipating every play in an uncanny fashion.

Finally he corners one runner at the sidelines.  The poor boy falls–maybe I tripped him–I can’t remember– and I saw something I had never seen in all of the kids I have coached or watched in my life.

It was his eye–his absolute focus on the ribbon or flag, hanging from the fallen player’s belt.

Rocky Balboa called it the Eye of the Tiger.

I called it the Eye of the Tyler.

Daddy B and the Eye

Never taking his eye off the goal he pounced like a tiger on the other player and separated him from his flag and held it up high in a moment of triumph like an Iroquois warrior ripping the scalp from a fallen colonial in a James Fenimore Cooper novel.

Since then I have seen him play tackle football, soccer, lacrosse and basketball.

While his dad thinks lacrosse will be his best sport, I love to watch him play basketball.  He has a court-awareness that neither his dad nor his uncle ever had.

But alas he can’t shot foul shots like Uncle Matt.  I still yell Bend your knee…dip and…

He drives to the hoop on every basket and more often than not, pays the price with a quick bounce on the hard court floor.

When I see him drive without a license and with total self-abandonment I want to stand up and shout…like Eddie Mayehoff.

That’s My Boy’s Boy!

Look for Part II Next Week.

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5 Comments »

  1. BB, your batting a Thousand….I am looking forward for part II

    Comment by Jim Vondras — June 4, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  2. Are You Going to talk about your favorite Grandaughter Next week?

    Comment by Katie. Borst — June 4, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

  3. Nice blog daddy b! We need 2 play madden next time I see u

    Comment by Ty borst — June 4, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

  4. Katie:
    All three of them! BB

    Comment by bbprof — June 4, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

  5. Ty:

    Just won a barn-burner from Uncle Matt. It was 49-40. I had a 28-14 lead at the half; old Kurt threw for six TDs. need help on my “D.” Bradshaw made my day with a 100 yd KO return. First time I have ever down that I think–maybe second.

    Comment by bbprof — June 4, 2010 @ 10:56 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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