Why Couldn't I Have Been Bryce Harper's Father?

Why couldn’t I have been Bryce Harper's father?

If you are a baseball fan, or a resident of the DC region, you probably know about Bryce Harper. This 17-year-old phenom, already featured on a cover of Sports Illustrated and heralded as the “LeBron James of Baseball,” was chosen by the Washington Nationals with the first pick in the 2010 Amateur Baseball Draft yesterday. He is being billed as the greatest hitting prospect in the past 50 years. Harper is already a legend. Once, when he was ten years old playing on a 12-year-old team, he went 12 for 12 in a tournament with 11 home runs and a double. This spring, when he should have been finishing his junior year of high school, Bryce was playing for a junior college in Nevada in order to be eligible for the draft. He set records and wowed the scouts with his prodigious talent. Soon he will be a multi-millionaire.

If Bryce Harper was my son, I would be quoted in the daily papers, know all the scouts on a first-name basis, have unlimited access to the highest thrones of Major League Baseball, and never need to work another day for the rest of my life.

Why couldn’t I have been Bryce Harper's father?

Instead, I am stuck with the three boys who happen to live in my house—none of whom projects as a first-round draft pick, none of whom will play Major League Baseball, appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, or become a millionaire. I have been given a raw deal.

Consider Jonathan, for instance. He’s 17—same age as Bryce Harper. He’s never hit a home run in a game, though he’s given up a few. Truth be told, he likes to play guitar more than he likes to practice baseball. And get this: The other day he was sitting in church with his friends. A friend of our family, Miss Patty, the mom of one of Jonathan’s best friends, who’s been coming to church by herself for about three months, came in after the service started. She always sits with us, but we were scattered about, so she sat down by herself in the row behind Jon. And wouldn’t you know it, my son, ignoring all decorum and blowing off his friends, put his dirty shoes on the seat cushion right there in the middle of church and climbed over the seat, plopping down beside Miss Patty. The nerve of that kid! I wish he was Bryce Harper.

Or consider Timothy. He’s 15—only two years younger than Bryce Harper. He doesn’t play baseball anymore—he gave it up for tennis, of all things. What’s the future in that? Last night he was working on his homework for hours, trying to get his grades up. He says he wants to go to Grove City College—where Karen and I went to school, and more importantly, where his cousin goes now. Grove City is not exactly a professional athletic factory, if you know what I mean. And get this: After only three hours of studying, he gets lazy. Instead of studying terms like Blitzkrieg and Armistice, he gets a bucket of water and sponge and goes crazy scrubbing our refrigerator. He even threw away valuable pieces of art that have been hanging on there for years. When he was done, I didn’t even recognize it anymore (it’s white – I didn’t’ know that). The nerve of that kid! I wish he was Bryce Harper.

Or consider Thomas. He’s 12—two years older than Bryce Harper was when he was crushing those 11 home runs in a single weekend. The only home runs Thomas hits are when he assumes the identity of "Joe Random" and tries to make his way to the majors in a video game. He likes baseball and is pretty good at it, but he’s not even on the travel team in our little town. Instead, he spends most of his time sitting at the piano composing arrangements of praise songs. And get this: He can’t even leave the house or go to sleep without telling us that he loves us. Just the other night, as Karen was leaving his room and turning out the light, Thomas said to her, half-asleep, “Tell Dad I love him and thanks for being my dad.” What kind of feeble attempt at parental manipulation is that? The nerve of that kid! I wish he was Bryce Harper.

Okay, I’m done venting now. I guess I’m stuck with my three sons—limited as they are--with their bad manners, poor study habits and manipulative affections. You get what God gives you. Like the cliché says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I’ll try not to sound sour about it.

But why couldn't I have been Bryce Harper's father?