My first real experience with sports was playing soccer at the YMCA (ACM) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
My father was a missionary and taught at the Bible school there but always wanted to make sure I was acclimated to the local sports scene.
It’s hard not to love soccer in a country were the legend of Pele looms large over everything.
Especially when just a year later, in 1982, World Cup Soccer Fever took over the country and didn’t miss our little neighborhood.
You couldn’t walk outside without hearing fireworks and singing, and the beautiful site of Samba dancing and homemade hot air balloons floating through the sky.
I was a decent goalie but never really had a chance to excel at the sport since just a few years later we had to head back to The U.S. for deputation.
As we traveled around the country, my father promised me he would take me to a baseball game if we happened to be on a city with a game going on during won of our nights off.
That never happened but one night while we were about to go to sleep in our motor home which was parked at a KOA campsite, we happened to find the 1986 World Series, Detroit Tigers vs San Diego Padres, on the radio.
Between bouts of static, I had my first experience with, “Americas Favorite Pastime,” and after digging through the baseball cards my Grandmother had given me at Christmas, I found a Lance Parrish rookie card and I was hooked.