Each year, the first weekend in April brings one of my favorite days of the year.
You see, in 1984, I read a book by Lee Eisenberg and Glenn Waggoner called Rotisserie League Baseball, and I convinced my friend, Steve, my cousins, Dave and Paul, my father, and another friend from college to start a Rotisserie baseball league. Rotisserie Baseball is the original game in the now booming fantasy sports industry. 2010 marks our 27th straight year of playing our league. Once a year we gather--14 of us, representing 12 teams--to draft at auction the players that will be on our team in the coming season. The Baker's Dozen, we call ourselves, and my four-time champion team is called Chien Music. That's an ongoing journey that might merit some posts at a later time. However, this post is about the beginning of another journey.
The 2010 draft was held in Poughkeepsie. Afterwards, a few of the team owners gathered at a local pub overlooking the Hudson River to catch up. For some of us, it’s the only time each year that we actually see each other. My cousins Dave and Paul were among the revelers at this post-draft gathering, and at one point, my cousin David said to me, “So, did Paul tell you he’s going to China again?” (He went last year with Dave and his sister, Judy, his mom and dad, and Dave’s wife, Cheryl, and daughter, Jeannette.) “No,” I said. “Tell me about it. Is this a business trip?” (Paul works for UPS.) “No,” Paul tells me, “I’m going with my mom and dad and your father.”
If this were a scene in a movie, a spit take would have been appropriate at this point. “Wait a minute,” I say. ”My father is going to China? How come I don’t know about this?” I pressed Paul for details, but I don’t think I was listening at that point. All I could think was, my father is going to China. For the first time since he was seven years old, when his mother and two brothers fled in the face of Japan’s 1937 invasion, my 80-year-old father is returning to the land of his birth.
Holy crap, I thought. I want to go to China.