A special man
My previous pincer story chronicled my love for the Atlanta Braves. That love was fostered by TBS and my father Elvin Crabbe Sr., a strong-willed, self-proclaimed encyclopedia. My childhood memories with him are filled with lots of playing catch and musical tunes. He was passionate about many things; baseball and music are the two I remember easily. He loved music!!! Let me paint a picture for you; envision a staircase with metal railings leading to your yard. Then you throwing little pebbles at that railing and hitting it. Now able to call with an absolute certainty what musical notes was echoing from that hit. He was able to do this along with many other talents. Let me name a few more; he was a mechanic, threw ambidextrously, switched hit, could fix TV’s and still remains very funny to this day. Hopefully, this gives everyone and idea of his unique abilities. He has also dealt with schizophrenia most of his life.
Early childhood with him
The early parts of my life, I called a public housing complex named “Warren E. Brown” home. This complex sat up on a hillside overlooking Charlotte Amalie High School; the high school I later attended for my freshmen and sophomore years before heading stateside. My dad informed one of his good friends Sam Daly, he was bringing his baby boy to play for his little league team the "Rebels." Sam was a local photographer and taxi cab driver whose teams was known for being good. I bet Sam was skeptical at first-because several years earlier my dad brought one of my older brothers Junior to play for his team which didn't go well. Junior wasn’t very good at all and really didn’t like baseball; he currently works for Bank of America, and his talent is numbers!!! (LOL) God blessed me with Sam, he was one of those coaches we all hoped to play for. He was the type that genuinely cared for his players, and did everything to see them develop. Sam is the coach responsible for my overly positive attitude towards baseball. This is the power of positive coaching! Now back unto my dad, when I was physically able to play catch we did so often. At least 4 days a week for 30 minutes we played catch. He taught me early on that in order to get really good at something like baseball; I had to do it all the time. He was the 1st person to instill that principal of work ethic, which cultivated that relentless charge for what I wanted to do for the rest of my life...BASEBALL
He passed along some great qualities
Those who grew up with me can attest to my overwhelming passion to include baseball in every aspect of my life. We've heard coaches say you have to eat, sleep and sh** baseball. I totally did!!! I developed a system for practice right under my building. I improved my hand/eye coordination by hitting stones and bottle caps with my mothers broomsticks. I even made her buy dry popcorn seeds to work on my hitting; putting them in my mouth to spit and hit. Why tell you this? To let you know, I was paying attention to a father who did things which seemed to be idiosyncratic to others. I was merely paying attention to his creativity and lack of care for how others viewed him. This is the attitude I have taken most of my life thanks to him.
One of the scariest nights of my life
His most difficult bouts with schizophrenia happened before my existence which meant I didn't see much of his darkest moments. Unfortunately, I wasn’t spared from all. He came upon some difficult times with his illness and became unstable. One night my mother, sister and I were watching Television and heard a loud commotion taking place outside our front door. 30 minutes prior to this incident he was attempting to get in the apartment but my mother wouldn’t let him due to his instability at the moment. My mother hurried to the door and found my father in a tussle with two police officers. One of them actually knew of his issues. This officer wasn't a great man and could care less about his illness. My sister and I rushed to our mother’s side. She was screaming don’t kill him, please don’t kill him, he is sick. Both officers had already drawn their firearms; one had his weapon to my father’s abdomen and the other to his head. To this day, that experience has never left my mind. Thank God the officers listened to my mother's cry and didn’t harm him.
He inspired me to always walk with a purpose
My dad had a way of moving with a purpose although others didn't understand what that purpose was. I can recall moments of him walking long distances to get where he wanted to go, in a collared shirt, khaki pants, and all white Reebok tennis shoes. The Bottom line, if he had somewhere to go and couldn't get a ride, he would just GO! There is no greater example of this than when I was 6 years of age. Unfortunately, I was stuck by a car and broke my leg. A short time after getting my cast removed he made me walk 5 long miles with weak legs because he had somewhere important to GO. Here is a funny story inspired by him; 9 years later while playing for a travel team and about to attend a CABA world series in Dallas,TX my sister who I lived with told me I couldn't go. At the moment, she couldn't afford it. I wish I could find that World Series ring we won, to show you I got there. "LOL," Sorry Afia something told me to GO!!! * (Many thanks to Mr. Owings for letting me crash with them and thanks for feeding me) This is the trait I probably admire most about my dad and paid the closest attention to. He always moved with a purpose!
Don’t let a family issue stop you, find the positives!!!
Why tell this story? It’s not for anyone to feel sympathy for my dad or family, but to inspire others who have faced or currently dealing with similar matters. If anyone in your family has issues like alcoholism, depression, anger management, or my case schizophrenia I encourage them to not dwell on those matters. I recommend taking a deep breath and think it can always be worst. Maybe learn something from them!!! Try not to play the victim because the real victim is the one who needs your help. By the way, he wasn’t so mentally ill after all. He said his son was going to play MLB baseball and he did!!!!!
A special man