A Delicate Issue

Nate and I were talking yesterday about a certain thing he used to do.

“I did that when I was frustrated,” he confessed.

I was prepared to write about that today. Most of the words had come together this morning, ready to be spilled out.

My computer was open to the Mission of Complex page when I vacated my seat. When I came back to work, there was Nate, scanning through recent posts. I told him I was going to write about what we talked about the day before; he was not pleased.

“No-oo-ooo,” he hiccupped. “Don’t do it. You can’t.” That is the real Nate “no,” as opposed to the other Nate “no” that serves as the default answer to any question or request.

I tried to explain to him that I thought it was OK to write about, but he persisted in his protests. This is the most difficult issue in writing the blog or, fingers-crossed, the book. How do I walk that line between respecting Nate’s privacy and telling our story to the fullest? After all, it’s my life too, but does that really matter? I don’t want to portray Nate as a freak, or humiliate him in any way, but there are parts of the tale that will make members of the family look bad, and in the book these moments must be revealed or the whole story will ring false and shallow.

That’s my take as a writer. But what of my take as a parent? Can I, should I, let the author hold sway over the father? It’s a toughie to be sure.

Not willing to give up quickly, I continued to speak with him about putting this story in the book. Not sure why I thought that would help my argument with  him. It didn’t.

So, what to do? For now, I’ll let today’s planned anecdote rest. Perhaps I’ll get to it at a later date. Or maybe I won’t. Or maybe I will, and feel bad about it.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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