Posts Tagged ‘Sheldon Bausk’

By Phillip Bausk

Perception. There are few things more important in our lives than the power of perception. Everything we do, everything we see, and everything we feel is directly related to how we physically and emotionally perceive it.

A man I once knew once told me something along the lines of, “Your perception of yourself is how others will perceive you. You can shape the kind of man you become, and do not have to be fearful of what others may think of you.” That man was my father, who I have previously written about on this site. If it were only that easy…

Life takes over. Before you know it, you are working in an office for most of your life, leaving little time for your personal desires, and in some cases, suppressing important issues that arise in your everyday life. By doing this, you are accepting a reality that is not yours, but rather what is expected from you.

Over the last few months, work, life, sports, and other things have become a proverbial jambalaya. Everything has been simmering in one place, without much room for me to grasp certain realities in my life. This has led to me neglecting an outlet of mine I have used for years, stunting my own reflection of my life and leading to emotions that I haven’t been fully able to understand.

Fortunately, I do not have many friends who have lost parents at, or around, the same age as me. I will tell everyone that losing a parent at a young age, assuming your relationship with said parent is a good one, is the hardest thing one will have to encounter in their young-adult life. While I can’t speak for those who suffer from debilitating illness, terminal illness, or other physical or emotional ailments, I can speak for those who I know and those who shared that same relationship with their mom or dad that I got to share with mine.

13 months later and here I am, at my desk at my mind-numbing job, still unable to face the harsh reality. It has created a conflict within me that I do not fully understand, but am taking the necessary steps to piece everything together. It hasn’t completely occurred to me that I will never see my father again, or that I will never hear his voice. I can’t go to him for advice, nor can I tangibly show him my latest accomplishments and achievements. Growing up in a house where I was praised for anything that I did, specifically because at times I was such a massive screw-up, makes the last two aspects of him being gone the hardest.

This brings me back to my point about perception. I didn’t perceive the new reality in front of me as real, but rather as something that I could avoid and deflect, and continue to go on as if not much had occurred. For those 13 months I was able to do that until recently, when all of these misunderstood emotions and feelings hit me. My perception had changed dramatically, and much later than it should’ve.

Before, I viewed myself as someone mentally strong, able to withstand anything that the world could throw at me. If you saw me some time after my father’s passing, you wouldn’t have thought anything was wrong, which wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I didn’t think anything was wrong. I believed I could rise above it, become the Superman of emotional stability. But I had my kryptonite, which in this case was just time. Time slowly caught up to me and forced me to being to perceive life differently. I feel as though the weight of the world is on my shoulders, but my enforcer-type frame isn’t nearly strong enough to keep myself upright.

I turn to the Secret Diary to help me deal with these feelings occasionally, and to also help me vent my frustrations not just about life, but about both sports and entertainment. This battle with perception in my world has brought me back to my true calling, which is something I know my father would be proud of, because its a sign that I am taking his life lessons to heart and helping his memory live on through my own actions.

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By Phil Bausk

Most of us start watching sports at a relatively young age. If we were lucky enough, our parents or older siblings took us to games and helped us chose which teams we would spend the rest of our lives rooting for. Bonds are formed between fathers, sons, and brothers, and one of life’s paths is carved out for us to follow diligently and loyally, though we are still in the cocoon stages of fandom before blossoming into a true sports fanatic.

As the years mature so do we, both physically (wink, wink) and mentally. We start to figure out what the important things in life are. Clearly, certain things are more important to us at different points in our lives. The opposite sex doesn’t even become a factor till the end of Jr. High School, though in today’s blow-first ask questions later society, I think the 8 and 9 year olds are getting in on the action as well.

While sex becomes more important as time goes on, I found that school became less important as I got older. Teachers didn’t care for what I had to say and that immediately would turn me away from any class. School was just something that had to be done, not something that I cared about. One Bachelors degree later, I am where most people are, at a 9-5 job, staring aimlessly at a computer screen while trying to save some ESPN.com articles for when I have to make a bathroom run.

So where do sports come into all of this? I have found in my conversations with other people in life, that sports are not restricted to one time period in someone’s life. Some people have had more intense sports experiences as a child, while others didn’t get into sports until college or later. Whether its your group of friends growing up, or perhaps parents who were more involved in culturally sophisticated endeavors, a child is really only going to get into sports from an outside influence.

For me, sports were a big part of my family’s dynamic. My father taught me about the Red Sox and Celtics, my brother was, and unfortunately still is, a Mets fan, and my mother would just yell at me whenever the Yankees beat the Red Sox. There was one sport, however, that while I loved to play, I never had a favorite team to root for, and that was today’s most popular sport, football. Being that I copied whatever my father did, I was going to listen to him about which team to root for when it came to the National Football League. However, my father wasn’t really into any specific football team. He would leisurely root for the Jets and the Colts, but he was more concerned about the advancements and regressions in the sport, such as how there were no more puddles on the field, or how television announcers had become to bad over time.

My brother grew up a NY Giants fan, though he never attempted to persuade me to root for them. I think he knew that since I was always trying to beat him in sports or video games, that I would never agree to root for the Giants if he was rooting for them as well. Me and my brother are very close, and have been since I was born. I know that growing up, he let me win a lot of games we played, and allowed me to hang out with his friends, even though he is 10 years older than I am. While we did all of these things together, there is still that sibling rivalry in most families that I believe is instilled in children at birth. I could never find myself rooting for the Giants, especially as I was already geared to hate New York teams with my affinity for the Boston Red Sox.

One Sunday afternoon, I turned on the TV to see what games were on, or if  there was a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode on. I saw this marvelous stadium, with fireworks shooting as the players left a giant helmet with a big blue star on the side. I could feel the energy coming from the TV, as both teams got ready for the kickoff. One of the teams was the NY Giants that I had already loathed for no real good reason. The other was a team decked out in all white, and had a swagger (A word that didn’t exist yet) about them that i was immediately drawn to. That team was the Dallas Cowboys.

Growing up, the Cowboys won 3 Super Bowls, and while I was happy that they had won, admittedly, I was too young to truly appreciate the feat that they had accomplished during that era. For me, sports, especially football, took on a whole new meaning once I reached high school. I was playing sports at a much more competitive level and I had somewhat of an idea of how these legends of the gridiron prepared for games. Unfortunately at this time, the Dallas Cowboys had become one of  the most mediocre teams in the NFL, and I was stuck praying for some sort of reversal of fortune in my pathetic sports world (Thank you 2004 NY Yankees). At this point in my life, I was on the edge of my seat for every Pedro Martinez pitch, for every Paul Pierce step back jumper, and every Drew Bledsoe incomplete pass. This meant that sports were slowly taking over my life.

After the Red Sox won the World Series, my sports world turned upside-down. The Red Sox went on to win another championship in 2007, and the Celtics won for the first time in over 20 years, with a title of their own in 2008. Even the Chicago Blackhawks, the team I admittedly care about the least, were able to pull off a Stanley Cup victory in the prime of my sports life. While these events have helped me through certain points in my life, there is still one thing I would like to see before I hit the “Stephon Marbury” years of my career as a sports fanatic.

For the last few seasons, the Dallas Cowboys have been one of the preseason favorites to make it to the Super Bowl, or at least contend for a Super Bowl, but as the saying goes, championships aren’t won in September. Much like the rest of the Dallas media, I had fallen in love in those last few seasons with a man named Tony Romo…

Undrafted out of Eastern Illinois University, Romo subbed in for starter Drew Bledsoe during the first half of the 2006-07 season. After some early struggles, he settled down and helped lead the Cowboys to the playoffs. And then it happened…. the moment that has defined Romo’s career even to this day.

After driving his team the length of the field, Romo was in to hold the snap for game winning field goal. He fumbled the snap, scrambled towards the end-zone, and was tackled at the 1 yard-line, ending the Cowboys season. The image of Romo hunched over, grabbing his face mask resonates in the mind of Cowboys fans everywhere. As the seasons went on, so did the playoff disappointments. A disastrous 2nd half against my brother’s giants, along with a horrendous 3 quarters against the Minnesota Vikings helped strengthen the case against Romo ever becoming a Super Bowl winning quarterback.

It is easy to pin everything on the celebrity QB who dated a knockout, then a blonde sex symbol, and then dumped a fat chick, with two of those being the same person. However, Romo has done a solid job as the starting QB and I feel comfortable with him at the helm, even in games past December 1st.

The team has had a lot of questions over the last few years, such as its secondary, and how it is inexcusable to have Dave Campo as the cornerbacks coach when he hasn’t done anything positive in his entire career as a professional coach. The linebackers starting alongside All-World LB Demarcus Ware have been over-hyped since day 1 with the exception of Bradie James. Greg Ellis was over the hill, Anthony Spencer looks lost, Bobby Carpenter looked like a mentally slow Clay Matthews, and Keith Brooking needs to start taking some form of medication (Though this clip is awesome). Others have come and failed, and it leaves us all wishing Dat Nguyen would suit up and come out of retirement for just one magical season.

On offense, the skill positions have been tended to relatively well, but the big contracts doled out to offensive lineman have worked only in spurts. Leonard Davis isn’t worth the money he is making now, and some of it should be given to Doug Free. Marc Columbo hasn’t played a good game of football in about 18 months and his career looks to be over. Kyle Kosier was an injury prone starter for the Detroit Lions…enough said.

Something has to be done with personnel selections by this team’s front office and that means that Jerry Jones has to give some leeway to Jason Garrett and his coaching staff about what players he wants to put on the field. While Jones has said he would not tinker with Garrett’s roster decisions, it is more than likely Jones’ two cents will be heard come draft day.

But again, here were are with another off-season to tease my generation, the generation that really hasn’t seen a very good Dallas Cowboys team. My generation should not be allowed to fall back on the dynasty of the 1990’s, we were too young to appreciate everything that was going on during that time. Cowboys fans, when was the last time you can remember celebrating so ferociously that you let out curse words you only use during sex or when you stub your toe? If you cheered that way during the Eagles playoff game last year, that shows how much the Cowboys have fallen since its glory days.

Now here in 2011, we sit, patiently waiting to see what Jerry Jones and Co. will do to improve next year’s team that can be anywhere from a 6 win team to the division champ. We wonder if he will go with a need at the draft, or take another game-breaker like Dez Bryant.

(Quick thought here, how awesome does Dez Bryant look? Forget about his overconfidence and his inability to respect other people, he looks like the Akron Scammer in a football jersey. He runs faster than everyone, he jumps higher than everyone, and he catches anything that his his massive banana hands. I get why some teams passed on him in the draft, but still, plenty of teams could have used a number 1 WR , I’m looking at you  San Diego and Jacksonville. Regardless of his attitude, the guy clearly had enough talent to be selected in the top 20, and I can’t remember a number 1 WR coming out of college besides Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald who didn’t have some sort of swagger problem.)

My father always told me that when you win, you act like a gentleman. You go out there, shake your opponents hands with sincerity, and then go and celebrate with your teammates. I watched the 2004 World Series with my father, and we watched something he thought he would never see in his lifetime, a Red Sox championship. We hugged, kissed, and even shared some tears with one another, but that was it. There was the excusable scream when Keith Foulke nabbed that Edgar Renteria grounder but that was it.

In 2007, there was the mandatory scream when Jonathan Papelbon struck out Seth Smith to win the ’07 series. My father called me, we exchanged pleasantries for about an hour and that was it. After the Celtics derailed the Lakers in 2008, I drove home, gave my father a kiss when he was asleep, and we spoke about it the next day in great detail. While I am from the generation of baggy shorts, coarse language, and mainstream rap music, I have managed to gain some sense of humility through my father, compared with a lot of people in our generation.

I have been blessed in the past decade in my world of sports, perhaps the most important decade of sports in my entire life. I would say I am right in the middle of my “Kevin Durant” years of liking sports, as I am hitting my prime and still have a good amount of time left before a family, a real job, and responsibility drag me away from some of the things I love. Before I fade into the abyss known as adulthood, I would like to celebrate a Cowboys Super Bowl, not for gloating or for superficial reasons, but rather so that when I watch with my kids, they can see me get emotional and I can try and teach them how to win, something that the Dallas Cowboys should be trying to learn this off-season.

By Phil Bausk

I grew up in a very independent household. My father worked late nights as a stockbroker and my mother was a teacher and helped run a day camp center throughout my childhood. This led to a lot of after school activities, which included organized sports. The first sport I truly fell in love with was baseball. As a heavier child, I didn’t like to run (Nix basketball, soccer, and football), and I needed something that would teach me how to focus, as opposed to being so ADD that I would end up goofing off at work 18 years later….

This made my father extremely happy. He was a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan for as long as he could remember, and was looking forward to taking me up to Fenway Park for my first baseball game. I remember him carrying me around the park, pointing out things that, at the time, I didn’t care about at all, such as The Green Monster, Pesky’s Pole, and even the Bermuda Triangle out there in Right Center field.

We watched the Red Sox get embarrassed by the Toronto Blue Jays (Yes, they still wore these classics), but I remember leaving that ballpark knowing that I had fallen in love for the first time. Not with Joanna Scott, my adorable 7 year-old next door neighbor, but with the Boston Red Sox, a baseball team that would send me on so many emotional roller coasters throughout my life that I am surprised I have no pictures of me screaming on the way down.

This is what connects me to my father, who passed away this year at the age of 60, more than anything. Sheldon J. Bausk taught me more about life than anyone I have ever known, or will probably meet. From a young age, he would use sports and other aspects of life to teach me valuable life lessons. When teaching me how to shoot a basketball, he would say take your time, line it up, and when your comfortable, let it fly. Not only has this given me a decent jump shot, but it has also prepared me for a lot of situations I’ve come across in my every day life. I find myself still asking him for advice, and while I know he can’t actually say anything back to me, I have a good idea of what his response would’ve been.

This is how I became a Boston Red Sox fan for life. I spent countless hours watching games, whether it be skipping school to watch opening day, or staying up till 4 AM to watch them lose to the Oakland Athletics in Japan, nothing was a bigger priority to me than watching the Sox play. My father would call me after every important game and he would take me to at least one Yankee-Red Sox game a year, reminding me that its more fun to be the underdog and that the Bausk men perform best when everyone is counting them out.

Girlfriends would be upset when I wanted to watch a west coast game, rather than go out or talk on the phone. Homework, tests, and papers were neglected to watch Pedro Martinez pitch, and  then watch his post game press conference. Teachers would complain to my parents that on days where the Red Sox played at 1 o’clock, I would leave class and attempt to get the game on my Walkman (Yeah, I still have it) on the 1080 radio station.  This is what my father had brought upon himself. My mom screaming at him because I was a C student who would rather watch Tim Wakefield lob pitch after pitch over the plate then get above a 60 on any math test (Funfact: I went 19 months without passing a math test in High School).

But that was my Dad. He just didn’t really care as much because he knew that I wasn’t an idiot. He would tell me that I should try harder in school but he never pushed me to. I knew he had my back every time I came home with a failing grade and that in the end, everything would work itself out. Some may say this is irresponsible, but I think it helped me become who I am today, someone I am definitely not complaining about.

4 years ago my father was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. He wasn’t expected to live past 3 years, and his quality of life was expected to be worse than it was at the time. But like I said before, you can’t count out the Bausk men until the final whistle. He managed to live longer than doctors expected, maintaining a high quality of life, which included the most memorable trip I had with him towards the end of his life.

Nearly 2 years ago, my friend Brian Cury and his father were nice enough to take us to Yankees-Red Sox in Fenway Park, something me and my dad had never actually done together. At the time, my father had trouble walking and wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to make the trip. He brought along his cane, a tool he didn’t need to use about a month after that trip, and was able to keep up with me, Brian, and Brian’s father.

Somewhere in my mind, I kind of knew it was probably the last time my dad would see Fenway Park, but I didn’t want to admit it.  We saw a great game, as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-3 in a comeback effort. It was just like any other game between me and my dad. We sat pensively, talking about the game, the rest of the season, and old memories my dad remembered from when he watched games growing up.

The reason why I will never forget that game was because at the end of it, my dad hugged me, kissed me, and thanked me for taking him. While I  wasn’t responsible for getting the tickets, or even driving up to the game, it was the first time my father thanked me for taking him to a sporting event. It was almost like a right of passage, as now I was becoming an adult and he needed me to help take care of him.

My father lived for another 18 months after that game, seeing his youngest daughter get married, his youngest son officially graduate college, and his other children taking care of their own families. He got to see 2 Red Sox World Series championships, 2 more than he told me he thought he would ever see in his lifetime.

After big Red Sox games now, I still expect to get a phone call from him to talk about the game and see how I am doing at my new job (though I don’t know if he’d be thrilled about me blogging at work). It is hard not to think about him while doing the simplest tasks because I know he would be proud of me because that’s just the kind of guy he was. Some people say I am a lot like him, and if that is really the case, that means he did a hell of a job raising me.