I am part of the fence gang.
When you look down the foul lines at baseball games, I am one of the dads leaning on the fence watching the game.
I can't speak for the others dads, although we probably feel the same, but I cannot sit still.
Call it nerves (which it is), or just being antsy (it's that, too), or therapy, but I cannot watch a game sitting down.
A few years ago when my son, Alek, starting playing baseball, my wife and I bought these nice folding chairs, complete with beverage holders, to leisurely watch our son play baseball.
It started out with my wife, daughter, Claire, and I sitting down to watch. After a few innings, I was standing behind the chair. That led to pacing, and now I don't even bother to try and sit. At some point my wife asked me if we needed to bother bringing my chair.
We still have the chairs — hanging up in the garage — but they do not make it to games anymore.
My wife has taken to the stands with the other moms. Claire is too busy to make it to many games, and I help hold up the fence.
Those of us hanging around the fence, usually the left field fence — right field just doesn't have the same feel — have developed a camaraderie.
If our sons do something great, we congratulate each other, like we actually had something to do with it.
If our sons are having a tough game, we can all relate because it's baseball and failure is part of it.
We commiserate over plays, innings, games. In that sense, it is the best therapy. There's nothing like talking it out to help us get over the trauma of watching a game gone bad.
We understand how each other feels when things do not go well and try to soften the moment, reminding each other that we all have those moments.
Best of all, you get to know the other parents and kids after spending so much time with them.
You root for the kids, who, like your own son, want to excel. You look into their faces and see them wear the emotion of the game. It is a great feeling to see the smiles and understand what a great moment they are experiencing and what a great time it is in their lives.
And even if we try to conceal our pride in our sons, you know what the dads are feeling because, like you, they were the first coach for these boys, the ones who taught them the right way to throw a ball and how to hold a bat.
The expectations grow with the boys, and sometimes they become too high for father and son, but at the end of the game they are still our sons and that has nothing to do with what they do on the field.
So we gather along the fence, talk about the last game, check out the opponent and share a lot of laughs.
Years from now, when our kids have moved on, we will find our way back to the ballfield. There will probably be a new set of dads holding up the fence, and we'll remember what that was like.
Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.