Questions don’t make you a fisherman. Concentration makes you a fisherman. So practice. Practice fishing now – by concentrating on this ballgame.

– David James Duncan, The Brothers K

While a game between the Yankees and Indians plays on the television in July of 1960, Hugh “Smoke” Chance admonishes his son Kade for allowing himself to be distracted during Sunday morning baseball. The boy is excited. He is missing church, home watching baseball, and pondering an afternoon of fishing with his dad; a miracle of sorts.

His attention wanes, though, as he tries to understand what concentration has to do with fishing. In a round about way his dad tries to explain that, to excel at fishing, one must also be adept at focusing on the task at hand; to be able to concentrate. The father asks him to concentrate on the ballgame.

It is 2013 and the Padres are playing the Pirates in August. I reflect on the line from Duncan’s novel and realize that I am not different from a child who lacks the ability to concentrate on the task at hand. It pains me to admit it to myself but I realize that my lack of concentration is ruining my ability to watch a ballgame.

I close my laptop. I place my phone on the armrest of the couch and vow to only check the conversation between innings.

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