Kids are funny. As they grow up they idolize you and want to do everything you do. But even when you witness this you become aware of what drives them. I believe everyone has at least one passion. My son Jake was about 6 months old or whenever a kid can sit up on their own without falling backwards when I discovered his. My father had bought Jake a full size basketball when he was born. He brought it to the hospital and presented it with the statement “maybe I’ll have someone to play ball with me before I die”. That basketball laid on the floor of our living room for the next 6 months until I noticed Jake eying it one day. “Is this what you want”? I said as I gently rolled it to his open legs, partly worrying that he’d fall backwards when it hit him. What happened next can only be described as an epiphany. Jake stopped that ball dead with both palms slamming down on the ball. He then proceeded to push it back to me with serious force(accurately I might add), excited and laughing the whole time. At that moment I realized that my kid was predisposed to something that was not part of me.

When I was a kid I wasn’t big on sports, yeah I played soccer because my mother signed me up for it but I could care less if I ever played. I really liked to make things and use my dad’s tools when he was at work. I also liked fishing, a hobby I picked up while listening to stories from the guy that waxed our floors. Most kids bother their fathers to play ball with them, I know I’m experiencing this now. But my Dad used to take me to go shoot baskets with him every weekend. I didn’t particularly like it, I don’t think I really had a choice, but I wanted to relate to my father. Fast Forward 35 or so years, substitute fishing for basketball and you get the picture.

Two years ago I thought it would be a nice idea to take Jake with me to a surf fishing tournament on Island Beach State Park. The alarm went off at 4:30 am and it was freezing cold. When I went to wake up Jake he started crying. The tone had been set for the rest of the morning. When we arrived at the beach he cried because he couldn’t carry his rod. He couldn’t walk in the sand, he was too cold. We set up on a crowed beach and twenty minutes into fishing Jake broke down hysterically crying. The rod was too big for him and he was having trouble casting. His line was a tangled mess. Teary eyed and utterly beaten. I realized that this event was a bust and hugged him and told him we could go home. I could feel his frustration and the fact that he was afraid of disappointing me. He proclaimed that this was the worst day of his life! With that remark I took out my little Lumix point and shoot camera and said we need to commemorate the worst day of your life and he begrudgingly stood for his portrait. Interestedly enough the worst day of my life was knocked down to the second worst day of my life when not a month later Jake went to watch his mother run in the 2008 New York City Marathon and that took top honors.

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