Consider yourself warned of quirky Hommel genes

Dear nieces, (whose names could possibly rhyme with Nev and Raegan)

I won’t use your last names because I know this public letter could be mortifying, but I felt an urgent need to warn you.

Your dad, (my youngest brother) will be embarrassing you soon. How do I know, you might ask?

I know for three obvious reasons:

1) When a child is 10 to 18, everything a parent does can conceivably be an embarrassment — even breathing. (Ask your college-age and adult cousins about this, although they would probably raise the age to 25.)

2) Since your dad, Aunt Debbie and I began playing volleyball again last Saturday, I noticed he has that glint in his eyes — the glint of reliving a personal goal.

3) I know my brother.

The last time I remember seeing that glint was about 20 years ago when we all played sand volleyball together. If you haven’t learned by now, all guys have a thing. Your grandfather Frank is known for his left-handed “Hommel hook” in basketball.

Your grandfather Lester Waskom is known for his spinning slow pitch in softball. On the volleyball court, your dad is known for ‘mixing it up’ during his serves. One minute he is serving overhand, the next minute he serves an underhanded sky ball — where outdoors the volleyball has actually burst a few rain clouds before returning to the court.

Twenty years ago when we played sand volleyball at the Indianapolis Sports Park, I recall the FAA began redirecting air traffic around the volleyball courts because your dad’s sky balls were coming dangerously close to denting the bottom sides of passing aircraft. The sky balls were always followed by that “Hommel grin” of satisfaction — of a job well done.

So dear nieces, I just wanted to warn you that I saw that familiar glint in your dad’s eyes last Saturday night when we played together at the Mount Pleasant Christian Church Community Life Center. Thankfully at the center, they have overhead lights and a ceiling that is not conducive to cloud-bursting sky-ball serves.

But between games, I overheard your dad excitedly explain that all the parents get to help during your practices at Grove Volleyball at New Hope Church. His exact words were: “Their roof has a huge pitch — I can’t wait to serve in there!”

Monday when I dropped your cousin Grace off at practice, your coach told me that rules stipulate a 23-foot clearance. I peaked in at the gym and noticed New Hope has an A-frame roof pitch in the gymnasium where the highest point is about 55-feet tall — your dad is going to try and sky-ball serve it 54 feet.

Oh, dear sweet nieces, I just want to explain that this quirky gene does run in the family — and I can’t even apologize for something that I too possess. I will warn you that if you roll your eyes or act embarrassed, this will give your dad added incentive and joy — at least it did me when I embarrassed my girls.

But if it’s any consolation, your 14-year old cousin Grace told me she gets embarrassed when her mom sings in the car with her friends. She also added, “I suppose at my age everything my parents do can potentially embarrass me.”

Upon closing, my precious nieces, consider yourself warned. (And if you do roll your eyes in embarrassment, please look up and see how close he gets to the peak of the roof.)