Not sure if he coined the phrase, but college hoops broadcaster Dick Vitale certainly has made "diaper dandy" synonymous with himself by selecting an honorary team each season of the best freshmen players in college basketball. It’s one of the biggest honors for the best young players in the game.
Well, move over Dickie V, because I have my own "diaper dandies" squad to brag about, literally. My family and I were blessed with a second addition to our team last week, another baby boy for his 2-year-old brother to eventually play with, wrestle with, assist in ill-advised stunts, but ultimately love. Luckily for Dickie V his "diaper dandies" team doesn’t actually include diapers. Mine does, a lot — potty-training can’t happen quick enough.
It’s quite something when you have a pair of boys in your family. Fathers of sporting backgrounds can certainly relate as many of our first thoughts go straight into the realm of future athletic accomplishments. I’ll admit when my first son was born, I was trying everything I could to encourage him to be left-handed. Despite my efforts it’s become apparent any Clayton Kershaw-style success will have to come from the right hand, although it’s tough to hit a lefty with a good slider.
The second time around it was no different. April 8 is a fairly significant day in sports, baseball specifically, so my wife was gracious enough to grant a last-minute middle name change. I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite baseball broadcast moments of all time happened on April 8, 1974. Although that date predated yours truly, as a child I came across recordings of Milo Hamilton calling Henry Aaron’s historic 715th home run, which made him the all-time leader (still to this day in many baseball purists’ hearts).
It was influential in my career as a broadcaster, remembering Hamilton’s delivery that evening, his perfect description of the moment. How he set the stage and after contact emphatically said, “That ball is gonna be … outta here! It’s gone! It’s 715!” For some reason I always loved the words that followed: “There’s a new home run champion of all time, and it's Henry Aaron.”
I never knew why I dug that call so much, but I guess 45 years later it made some sense and so Stetson Henry Costelloe it was. Luckily “Hammerin’ Hank” was right-handed, so maybe this little Hank can put a few baseballs in the seats too without his dad having to try to change the course of nature.
There’s nothing this dad wants to change at this point with either of my boys. I’m just in that stage where I don’t want to mess anything up. It’s like coaching a team where the stakes are extremely high, and each move could have major implications in the future. I’m also coaching with rules that some might feel are outdated, but I’m on a mission to let my boy be boys, and to remind them of the important priorities: God, family, country and the Oakland Athletics. The rest is just cream cheese.
Of course, I’d love sports to be a major part of their lives as they are with mine. I would like them to learn some of the lessons that only competition can provide; that being a good teammate translates into being a good man and leader down the road. Either way they’ll be loved and supported, even if their passion exists outside of the diamonds, fields and courts that have blessed me with so many life lessons of my own. I guess they’ll get passed down to them one way or another.
So, we’ll see where Team Costelloe ends up now that we’re four strong. Right now, my role is to help the Mrs. with too-many-to-count diaper changes for the littlest one and chasing a toddler around. But eventually I’ll be the third base coach giving them the signs for life. Hopefully they listen, and we can create something special together.
There’s no telling, and there certainly are no guarantees, but that’s what makes fatherhood the best job in the world.
Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides in Tehachapi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed are his own.