Baby, you're the greatest

Updated: May 19, 2005, 10:15 AM ET
By Tom Farrey
It's noontime in small-town Connecticut as Kellen, my 1-year-old, awakens from his nap. The shades are drawn, the room dark, the air purifier on a low hum, as I slowly push open the door. He's sitting up in his crib, one hand holding his favorite blue blanket, the other rubbing blue eyes that blink back the hall light. Next to him is the music-box pillow that had sung him to sleep to the ting-ting-ting of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail."

"Hi, kicker boy," I say, using his nickname du jour, so given because of his diaper-time obsession with whacking his heels on the changing table as rapidly as possible, like a Benihana chef with new knives. Kellen, of course, does not get my reference, as he does not yet talk, or walk.

But he does drool. And it's a sample of that saliva that I'm looking to harvest right now -- because his wipe-away spit, clear as a crystal ball, offers genetic insight into his future as an athlete. As Kellen squints back up at me, I slide the end of a Q-tip into the side of his mouth, rub it around the gum area for 20 seconds and drop it into a "Sample Transportation Bag" with his name scrawled in pen on the outside.

Tom Farrey | email

ESPN Senior Writer