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Ours Only For A Little While...

December 23, 2015
Emmetsburg News

There it was, sitting in a display case on my daughters night stand a baseball bearing the name and emblem of Major League Baseball. It brought a smile to my face as I looked over at my daughter, who was in bed reading. She returned the smile, and for a moment we both looked at the ball in silence. It wasn't one of those awkward silences between a dad and teen, but simply a moment that nothing had to be said. The memory of the shared experience was enough.

Amidst the post-season push for division titles and home field advantage, the Kansas City Royals were scheduled to meet the Minnesota Twins in a game that had playoff implications for both clubs. My daughter and I made the trip to Target field that day to cheer on the Royals in what we hoped would be the start of a deep run into the post-season. Baseball...Royals baseball in particular, was a language we both spoke.

Getting settled into our seats, we noticed our royal blue shirts had us in the minority. Another couple behind us was cheering on the Royals starting pitcher and catcher warming up in left field. At least we weren't the only ones we thought. Before we knew it, another Royals player signaled that couple behind us and tossed a couple baseballs up into the stands. One landed next to my daughter and she immediately snatched it up. The look on her face was priceless. After a moment of realizing what had just happened, we both yelled and waved to the catcher who had directed the baseball to us. To our delight, he waved back. Salvador Perez went on to lead the Royals to their 2nd World Series championship, while earning MVP honors for his individual effort.

The moment of pause my teenage daughter and I shared certainly brought back the memories of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. But the baseball itself reminds me of so much more than the story. It reminds me that the best part of that day was already sealed before the baseball before the Royals winbefore home-field advantage. It was simply spending time with my daughter, enjoying a pastime we both loved.

It's difficult for anyone to imagine life without one of their children. The sobering fact is that many families will be dealing with the loss of a child to a traffic crash this holiday season. Statistics continue to show that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers. Much of my professional career has been devoted to ending these tragedies involving our teens. With our daughter getting her permit to drive, this issue moves from professional to personal this spring.

This Christmas season, don't just talk to your teen about good driving habits, model them. Buckle up. Slow down. Avoid distractions. And look for those shared moments of pause with your children. Cherish every moment, because they're ours only for a little while.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz, 495



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