Nature or Nurture? What is in the Cards for Brady?

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The nature vs. nurture debate has raged in American culture since Francis Galton coined the term while discussing heredity and environment in 1869. I've often wondered which, if either, was the cause of the differences in people, or if it was some combination of both.

Most people use this term when discussing social issues like politics, sexual orientation, and religion. I want to test it with baseball.

As my fiancé Abby and I began to prepare for the birth of our son, Brady, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to create a nursery that would be both comforting to him and serve to establish the same passion for Cardinals baseball that I have. I expressed my desire to create a baby Cardinal fan paradise to Abby and she was astonishingly receptive to the idea. Abby became a Cardinals fan through our relationship but has grown to love them nearly as much as me (this might be because she knows it's the only way to spend time with me six months a year).

This past week, as the nursery has started coming together, I've been wondering, will it be in his blood to be a Cardinals fan or is it the environment I am going to be exposing him to? A part of me would like to believe that he will be a born winner and would naturally pick the Cardinals as his favorite team, but the realist in me knows that I am conditioning him to do what I want him to do before he is even born.

Is this a bad thing? Should I, as his Dad, be gently forcing him to love something simply because I do? The way I see it is I am starting as early as possible to establish the positive characteristics portrayed by the Cardinals organization as well as the love of the game. Obviously, I want him to be successful in life, and I think the Cardinals exemplify that. I also want him to learn that teamwork is the key to success. I want him to realize he is an individual, free to make his own decisions, but also know that his decisions impact far more people than just him.

Cardinals baseball, or baseball in general, can teach any of us this important fact of life. I want him to be charitable, and as soon as he is old enough, I would like to get him involved in Cardinals Care or one of the many charitable organizations established by or supported by the team. I want him to love the game of baseball and sports in general. Far too many kids today would rather sit in front of a television with a Playstation controller in their hand. Too often, the most social interaction kids get is from other game players connected to the Internet. Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but I want Brady to have the same childhood I had. I want him to have several neighborhood friends with whom he can ride bikes, play sports, climb trees, and come in only when dinner is ready.

Another, more personal, reason for wanting to decorate his nursery in a Cardinals theme is that I want him to love the same things as me. I want us to both enjoy being with each other no matter what we are doing. I hope and pray that the two of us are more than just father and son. Every father wants his son to be a "mini-me" of sorts, and what better time to start instilling those passions than at birth?

When I try to imagine what he will be like as a child, I see him being the best baseball player on his little league team. I see him as the kid that hustles after every ball, the kid that will take a pitch in the back to advance the runners, the kid that encourages his teammates and leads them by example. I imagine myself sitting in a lawn chair cheering his team on, while my eyes tear up with overwhelming pride in the young man he is and will become. 

When I try to imagine him as a teen, I see the guy everybody likes because he always does what is right. I see him being the guy that stops a bully from picking on someone else. I see him being involved in student government to make his school a better place for not only his class, but those that follow. I see him working hard at school and at his first job. Through all that, I see him still playing baseball, or at least having a passion for it.

As an adult, I imagine him and me talking for hours about roster moves and what the team needs to be better. I imagine us telling each other our best Cubs joke. I imagine taking him to get his first Cardinals tattoo. I imagine us taking frequent father/son trips to Busch Stadium with the chance to witness some historical baseball moment like a triple play, a perfect game, record breaking home run, or any other host of magical possibilities. I imagine sharing the jubilation of winning the World Series. Finally, I imagine that he passes the love for this game, and this team, to his own son. I hope his memories and stories of me will be good ones, many of them about the time we went to the game against this team or that team. 

Most importantly, I want him to be happy. I hope Cardinals baseball will be one of the things that make him happy, but even if it isn't I hope he adopts many of the qualities we can learn from the game of baseball. The reality is, my best-made plans may not happen. He may hate baseball. He might decide that computers or writing or acting, or, God forbid, soccer make him happy. In that case, I will always fully support him and do anything in my power to help him reach his dreams.

Whether or not Brady grows up to have the same passion for Cardinals baseball as I do remains to be seen, but what is already evident is that I love that little boy more than I could possibly express in words.

Writers Note: If anyone has a St Louis Cardinals Fred Bird musical mobile that they would like to sell, please contact me at:


About the Author
Steve spends his time here at The Peorian analyzing data and networking to develop solutions to bridge the gap between…no wait, that’s what he does as a career. He’s here at The Peorian to write about other things. And in order to facilitate these efforts, we have banned him from using any forms of the words “data”, “engineering” and “antidisestablishmentarianism”. The latter should be for obvious reasons. I mean, really, how could anyone be FOR the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in 19th-century Britain?