Monday, February 3, 2014

What's in it for me? A Super Bowl postscript

Meir had the time time of his life at the game, so why do I feel so empty?

There's a great scene at the end of “Field of Dreams”, the movie version of the wonderful W.P. Kinsella book “Shoeless Joe” where Ray, in one of Kevin Costner's better roles is told he can not follow “Shoeless” Joe Jackson into the corn field. He's sacrificed a lot to make things work out and now he is told that he, seemingly, can not see the fruits of his labors. Exasperated, he asks “What's in it for me?”.

When I first wrote about getting Meir to the Super Bowl, some people wondered if my quest was all about Meir, or whether it was also about me. The more perceptive ones thought there might be some ego wrapped into it, where I wanted to see if I could pull off something with such a high degree of difficulty. While I can not deny that my ego entered the equation, the quest was about something else.

Being a father to my sons is one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do. Not because of them. Each one is a wonderful kid with personality, intelligence and humor. I struggle to not push my (as of yet?) unfulfilled dreams and goals on them. While in the classroom I am able to educate for the long term, as a father I struggle to focus on anything but the here and now.

I had hoped that getting Meir a ticket to the Super Bowl would somehow strengthen the bond between us, but after I dropped him off at the train station, I started to cry as I realized that, at best, I would even truly be a spectator for one of the happier days of his life. I knew from the pictures, smiles and recap that he was happy, but I yearned to know more.

Of course, I don't regret getting the ticket. I have tremendous appreciation for the man who helped make it happen. While It didn't know him when this whole quest began, I now count him as a friend. Whenever I consider that he did this for a boy he never met, I am moved beyond words. Still, as I look at pictures from the game, with Meir smiling his million dollar smile, as he stands next to do someone else, I feel an ache that I just can't get rid of.

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