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The Press Box for July 17

By Staff | Jul 17, 2019

My great grandfather was a great writer, he had a way with words which was often hard to understand. He came to this country as a little boy from Germany and instantly fell in love with baseball. He taught me everything I knew about the game. I never really cared much for baseball, and I wasn’t very good at it, but he kept a ball in my hands every chance he got. He said, no matter how bad you are playing, it’s always possible to play worse.

He was a good old soul who loved kids. He used to tell me to never grow old. I never really knew what he meant by that until he was on his death bed and I went to visit him with my mother. He had it wrote down!

“I’m 93 but still young at heart, I never grew old, I’m going away soon and will meet my maker. He wrote unless you change and become like children you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I am 93 years young, Eddie stay young,” he said.

I kept that note, there was more to it than that, but I wanted to share that part. He told me that day, to choose what I do wisely. “Attitude is a choice, happiness is a choice, optimism is a choice, giving is a choice, respect is a choice, and kindness is a choice,” he said.

I remember that day very clearly, I was 17 years old. I have tried very hard to stay young, but it is a difficult thing to do. All the choices he mentioned have to do with staying young, but kindness is the one I believe matters most.

Recently I watched two older gentlemen who are still young. I watched the one as he put up his bubble machine and the kids gathered round. I watched as he shared his fun with them and if not for his size and years you would think he was one of them. He is everywhere there are kids! I took in three celebrations over the fourth of July week and at each one he was there. Walking on stilts, blowing bubbles, playing with the kids and having fun. He may be getting up in years, but he has not grown old.

At the town of Hundred’s Fourth of July celebration I spotted the Hornets basketball coach with a whistle round his neck. He’s somewhat up in years, but there he was, in charge of the children’s games. I watched as he led the little kids through the sack race, as he laughed when they fell, as he helped the ones struggling. It was a sight to see!

Right next to him was the bubble man. Both men working the magic of not growing old.

Aged but not old, young at heart and full of kindness. Taking the time to make life better for young people, teaching kids what real happiness is, that is what Grandpa meant when he said,” Eddie don’t grow old. “

It makes me wonder why as parents we put so much pressure on our children to participate in sports and never give them time to be young. Starting them out at 4-5 years old playing T-Ball and pee-wee sports. As they mature to middle school it becomes year-round.

From school sports to club ball it never stops. They grow old. They grow tired and weary and soon it’s no longer fun. The pressure builds until they can hardly take any more and they are soon burnt out.

I ask a few kids recently if they were ready for football season. I won’t tell you their answer, but I think you know what it is. You hear it all the time “this is getting old.” I’ve heard it in the work place, I’ve heard it in sports, I’ve heard it from kids and adults. It usually comes from someone who is stuck doing the same thing all the time. They need a break. It’s getting old, they are getting old.

Yes, I know exactually what my Grandpa meant. He was telling me to have fun, enjoy life, be kind to children, stay young at heart and stay young in my mind. Have a sense of humor, kid around a little, don’t worry, be happy, help those in need and love everyone. You will not grow old!

Sports are supposed to be a fun part of growing up. They are designed to keep you young, but in todays age it’s not so much fun anymore. Too much pressure and too much time take the joy out some of your favorite activities. I believe I can say without hesitation that too much of one thing will turn you away from it even if you love it. It doesn’t necassarily have to be sports either. I knew a person who was additcted to video games, he couldn’t get enough of it until it started eating away at his health.

Laying around all day playing games and eating may be the worst thing one can do (next to drugs). However, spending all your time on the basketball court or in the weight room can be just a damaging. I see too much of it today and I honestly believe it is having an adverse affect on our young people. They need to stay involved, but they also have to mix it up a little or their passion will leave them. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com