NO! Not me ! I wasn't ready for this; I am only 47 and way too young. The day that I always feared had become a reality. My son actually wanted to play baseball during the summer of '99. I had heard horror stories about what became of parents who drag their kids to little league baseball games and what they turn into. They mutate into a new form of life which has the need to yell from the aluminum bleachers, spitting David's?Ranch flavored Sunflower Seeds while firmly clutching their Gatorade?

Well that wasn't going to happen to this DOD (dear old Dad)! He was going to be above the riff raff of common parentage, he was going to set a new standard. (Oh brother)! How did it all get started Claude, you ask, (or maybe you didn't)!

I can remember it like it was yesterday. My 8 year old came to me and looked at me with these huge Little Orphan Annie chestnut brown eyes and asked "Dad , could I play baseball with the kids in the little league, please, all the kids I know are going to be there?" Hmmmm, I am thinking to myself, how the heck can I get out of this one? I envision 8 kids climbing into the back of my new Ford Expedition with muddy cleats, old cracker jack boxes and I am ready to say "no" because of all the reasons a parent uses to get out of unpleasantries! You know, stuff like "Son you're a little too young" or "I'm really too busy with the business".

The plaque on the wall in my office is glaring at me:
"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child"

David is looking at me with this "I'm holding my breath and waiting for your highness to give me an answer" look.

I begin to daydream and instantly I am transported to a different time and place. It's April 6th, 1960 in New York City. I am just a kid working inside my Dad's grocery store/deli on the corner of Arden St. and Broadway. I still can recall when I asked my Dad almost the same question that Davey had just asked me. My Dad said "NO" in about a New York minute (1 nano second)! (When my Dad said "no", it was the end of the discussion.) He explained how he couldn't leave the store on Saturdays because it was his busiest day and besides he needed me to slice bologna and deliver the groceries to our customers. I still remember the hurt and resentment I felt towards my Dad for exempting me from this part of life. It wasn't until I grew up and had my own family and business that I understood that this was a man who put the security of his family first. He probably would have liked me to play, but he had to make the hard decisions and baseball was a luxury we couldn't afford. (Explain that to an 8 year old!)

I awake and realize that my Father has been gone almost 13 years and that my life and financial situation is different from his, thanks to his sacrifices. I can try to make things right for both Dad and for myself.

"No Problem Davey, let's play ball !"

Success Rule # 1 Do the Right Thing:
The only point about having your own business is to have the freedom to choose so you can do the right things that are really important in life. When I am gone, my son will never remember the hours I spent in the office, but he will remember the time we spent together going to ball games, fishing, skiing and other good stuff. Never forget what it's really all about and what's important.

Getting Started:
The first thing every good parent must do is head out to the local "Sporting Goods is Us" store. You approach this behemoth sporting goods warehouse with the same naivete of Custer approaching the Little Big Horn. It never occurs to you that they will need new $85.00 baseball shoes in which to play. Then of course, what child can go up to bat without their own specialty gas filled $125.00 aluminum baseball bat and don't forget the leather, velcro micro adjusting batting gloves for $29.95. Deny my child, NEVER I say! When it's all said and done, you have spent more money than your first three cars in high school and college combined.

Memory Lane Note:
I could only remember when I was a kid growing up playing stick ball on the streets of Manhattan. All you had to do was have 25?for a Spaulding?pink rubber ball and someone had to have true grit to steal their Mom's broom and saw off the useless broom part. (Greater bravery was never demonstrated more than by going into Mom's laundry room closet and absconding with the unbeknownst sporting good)! Many an ear was dragged from home plate (the sewer cover) when Mom discovered the culprit.

Success Rule # 2 Money Can Buy Happiness:
Ok, Ok I can hear the arguments already about health, values, love and the rest, but you know when it comes down to it, money can really solve a heck of a lot of problems in life and make the journey lots more fun.

"I have been rich and I have been poor and rich is a heluva lot better!"
- Sophie Tucker

The Journey:
Well it's time to load up the the four wheel drive with all the necessary accoutraments like chairs, cooler, water, fruit, extra summer clothes, extra winter clothes (even in the summer you can have a snowstorm, REALLY), blankets, baseball paraphanalia and venture forth to lands unknown. You are all ready to go and almost get out of the driveway except one of your kids has to go to the bathroom.

I mistakenly figured that all of the games would be played in the ballfield in a town 2 miles down the road where we practiced twice a week. I was visibly shaken when I discovered that I would travel to towns near and very far away. I would put enough miles on the car to go over the lease mileage restrictions. I learned that our first game was 50 miles away in a town near the Wyoming border called Walden, Colorado. After driving through Rabbit Ears Pass crossing the Continental Divide and watching the deer and antelope play (OK, I'll stop) we enter the booming metropolis of Walden, population 891.

This is an old wagon train crossroad town that was settled in 1889. As you approach this town you envision a gunfight on Main Street. It seems everyone here has a pickup truck and is wearing a cowboy hat. (I wonder if I can get a bagel and the New York Times here, dare I ask?) They do have homemade venison jerky! You have to be a little bit of a trail blazer ALA: Lewis and Clark to find these baseball diamonds of glory in small town America. Your mission, should you choose to accept it Mr. Phelps, is to find the darn ballfield. You quickly eye 20 or so pickup trucks with dogs running around. This is akin to vultures circling over the usual road kill and lo and behold there is the ballfield. The signs were all there, kids throwing balls, parents and coaches yelling, dogs running all over , the Lions Club?setting up a yellow 1950 type trailer to sell hot dogs and hamburgers. Yep I was here. David runs out of the car to join his teammates and there is the ritual cry of PLAYBALL by the umpire who looks like he just came from the Woodstock Rock Festival. I proceed to make myself comfortable near the top of the aluminum bleachers. I have my free bank blanket to sit on and the requisite thermos of fresh ground coffee.

Success Principle # 3:
Foresight is much better than hindsight! Translation - a warm butt is a happy butt! ( I may not be eloquent, but as Mom always said, I'm comfortable!)

I open my backpack (old college Jansport©luggage lasts forever) and I proceed to remove all my parental failsafe, toys to get through my son's game. This includes my San Diego digital phone (which doesn't work in the styx, my faithful handheld Newton?computer, the Sunday New York Times from 2 weeks ago and at least two copies of Newsweek. Yes, I am a man prepared to fight the onset of a presumed long boring baseball game.

Success Principle # 4:
Like the Boy Scouts, Be Prepared! Having been stuck too many times in airports, I've learned to always bring the necessities to take proper advantage of our most valuable commodity, our time. This includes a toothbrush, bottles of water, a wine opener, portable computer and tons of reading material.

Little did I know that watching 8 and 9 year olds play this American pastime would be the funniest thing I had seen in a long time. The first kid came up to bat and hit a hard ball grounder. It went past the pitcher and through the legs of the second baseman. The runner is going past first, the ball continues through several more players towards the outfield. OH NO, the batter is rounding second. Finally the ball is recovered and thrown towards the infield. Unfortunately, the second baseman misses it and it rolls to the short stop. He throws it to the catcher and it hits the Ump. The runner scores and Jerry Garcia (the Ump) has a groin injury. Yes, this is baseball like you have never seen it. I can't ever recall laughing so hard at a professional game or at a comedy club for that matter. Hey, this wasn't bad after all. I really didn't need all my toys to kill time!

It is finally time for our team to get up to bat. I witnessed seemingly calm, mature parents begin to froth at the mouth as their prodigies came up to show their genetic gifts from Mom & Dad. Yep, that's my boy! I decided that I wasn't going to get caught up in the parental hysteria. When my son came up to bat I would be in full control. I was after all, a role model.

Well Davey comes to bat smiling from ear to ear demonstrating that missing baby teeth are an enhancement to one's smile.

The first two times Davey gets up to bat he strikes out and has this head hanging down look of despair as he crawls back to face his comrades in the splinter magnet known as the dugout. The third time he hits a pop up and it's caught. This is not a fun day for my son. I am getting depressed and when I get depressed I need food! (Hey, it works for me!) At that very moment the smell of Lions Club?cheeseburgers waft over the stands.

Success Principle # 4:
Give into temptation (once in a while, you deserve it)! There are opportunities everywhere, especially if your olafactory senses are working. I paid my $1.00 for this humungous shades of wimpy burger. It had to be one of the best and juiciest burgers I ever had. I asked the cook, who also happened to be the local sheriff (honest) what kind of meat this was, hoping to hear the story of fresh raised Angus cattle specially slaughtered for the baseball game. He replied, "Safeway?ground round". OK, I felt better now.

I returned to the stands and waited for Davey's last chance up at bat. He swings at the first pitch STRIKE!!! bellows the UMP. I look to the heavens and wonder if G-d is a baseball fan and couldn't he give my kid a break.

Success Principle # 5:
No Free Lunch You can't petition the Lord with prayer during baseball games or you will find yourself praying in the lottery line at the 7-11 while holding a Slurpy? Save it for worthwhile causes!

No problem I tell myself, it's only a game! What will this matter anyway? What college application asks for Little League stats? Harvard, NAH! The next pitch is a ball. David takes a practice swing and thumps the plates just like the pros, the next pitch comes, he swings STRIKE two!!! I'm composed, but a bead of sweat appears on my forehead. The next three pitches are balls and now it's a full count! I feel the strangest sensation as loud words start coming from my mouth. I find myself standing up in the bleachers and yelling "Com'mon Davey, you can do it, hit the ball right out of the park, you can do it!"

My mighty 8 year old takes his stance; his entire 82 lb. frame is ready and then the pitch is thrown. Oh, no I can't watch, (but I do) and bat meets ball with the most wonderful ringing sound you've ever heard. (It's a metal bat.) He runs to first as the ball is recovered by the center fielder. It's thrown to first, but it's high and goes over the head of the first baseman and into the fence by the dugout. Davey decides to run to second base which he slides into and phew, he's safe! I am ecstatic and begin whooping it up, jumping up and down and clapping Œtil my hands begin to swell!

This is me living extemporaneously through my son and I'm loving it. A Mom in the bleachers notices me and says "that sure was a nice hit he had there." "Yep Ma'am, that's MY boy!" I beam.

I begin to breathe again because my world is in balance and everything seems right. It's just then that I have the need for some odd reason to glance over my shoulder and I see my Dad sitting behind me in the bleachers! Dad is Smiling and I know why......

Author's Bio: 

Claude W, Diamond is a Success Mentor and Coach . He is tha author of several tape sets
including creative real estate, sales, consulting, success secrets and more. He is the
publisher of Claude's Success Stories?a free newsletter which you can have by going to or emailing him at