When Ryan retreats to his room and begins banging away at the computer keyboard, we never know quite what to expect. Often the result are exquisitely typed, perfectly aligned, mathematically correct NHL standings files for seasons that exist only in Ryan’s mind. The problem with those is that once in a while they don’t align and the numbers don’t add up, or the repetitive nature of the work makes Ryan upset. So we
encourage demand he take breaks and encourage him to produce things that are a little more creative.
Every once in a while he emerges with an output that stuns us. There was “Diary of a Cool Kid” and its sequel. Other times, he comes up with game recaps.
Lately, Ryan has discussed a plan to get everyone in our neighborhood to love sports as much as he does. He said he he was going to go house-to-house, selling subscriptions to Sports Illustrated.
We kind of nodded and said “OK,” thinking that this was something that would either pass with no action, or which we would have to talk him out of by pointing out that he has no subscriptions to sell.
Over the weekend, Ryan sat down at his computer and began typing. He didn’t stop for a couple of hours. When he was done, he had produced his own version of Sports Illustrated. It was a five-page document of made-up game stories covering his two favorite sports leagues, the NHL and NFL.
I read it over and was amazed at the detail. Not so much in the hockey portion, since he has been following, and occasionally writing about, hockey for several years. But football is a new passion for him, and the amount of detail that he has absorbed about the game in just a few months is stunning.
His writing showed an understanding of the playoff races. He knew the Buffalo Bills played a home game in Toronto. He used the names of virtually every starting quarterback in the league.
We were impressed by his output. We printed it out and encouraged him to show it to his grandfather, a one-time sportswriter.
But Ryan had bigger plans. He nagged us all day Sunday to take it next door to show our neighbors, something we discouraged because we knew they were watching the New York Giants game as a family and things weren’t going well for the G-men. Undeterred, Ryan burst out of the house before 9 a.m. this morning to take his “magazine” next door.
He came back a few minutes later, without the printout of his writing, telling us he needed to give our neighbors $0.95 in change. He sold his magazine for a nickel.
When that kid latches on to plan, he is incredibly determined to see it through. He announced he would sell additional copies around the neighborhood in the coming days. Concerned about the return on his investment, I asked him why he sold it for so little money.
I should have seen the answer coming. The money doesn’t mean anything to Ryan. It never has. His goal is to share his love of sports, which he explained to me in a way that made perfect, logical sense. He does not care about making money. His reward will be for other people to love sports as much as he does.
Ryan has not been as outwardly excited for Christmas this year as in years passed — to the point both Veronica and I are concerned. But I guess he’s into the holiday spirit of giving after all.