There are a lot of people who spend their entire lives destroyed by the horrible memories of their past, and I do understand why, but I try not to be one of them. It's not because I had a fantastic childhood, because it was horrendous for the most part, but because I like to pick out the one or 2 good things versus the bad.
In this vein, I'm going to tell you a very real and personal story that involves, me, my dad, and sports. Ladies may wish to secure a supply of Kleenex. I'll try to be brief, but no promises.
I was born...okay, we don't have to go back that far. My parents split up in 1979, when I was pretty small. I lived with my mum, assorted weird relatives, and my dad and uncles on various occasions. Sometime around 81 or 82 I moved back in with my mum and saw my dad pretty sporadically for the next 10 years, but occasionally he caused some really cool memories, and this is where I'm going here.
In October of 1992, the Toronto Blue Jays were battling Atlanta in the World Series. Amazingly, my dad showeed up on his bike to pick me up and we went to Toronto to find a place to watch the game. Every joint was packed, save for an A&W that had a little TV set in it. We went in, stuffed our faces, and celebrated when our team took the crown. The party downtown was absolutely insane- hundreds of thousands of folks going nuts. No flaming cop cars or fights, just random strangers of all ages and colours high-fiving and hugging. Needless to say, this sports geek was in her absolute glory.
Cue to the following October. The Jays were in the finals again, and this time the potential deciding game was at home. Pop showed up without notice to pick me up and we sped off to the Big Smoke to go find some fun. We departed to go find the same A&W that we previously hung out at. Dad made me stop at one of the street stands. It was a lady who painted faces in exchange for donations. The very serious me did not want to have her mug oiled and I grumbled a bit, but finally relented. I got the lady to put Juan Guzman's number on one side of my face (he'd lost the previous game, so it was kind of a forgiveness dealio) and the Jays logo on the other. I really was not feeling this but the girl was cute and pop was insistent.
As the lady was finishing the little maple leaf in the logo, my dad pulled a pair of tickets out of his pocket. I stood there completely stupefied and then uttered the first cuss word my dad had heard from me. The paint lady cried . I gave my dad shit for scaring the hell out of me and he told us we had to go and fast. We bought peanuts and a program and found our seats that were behind home plate. There were 2 troopers sitting next to us, but most of the folks occupying these high-priced seats were corporate, like the person my dad was supposed to take to the game. We shared loads of fun with the troopers. Every time a big moment occurred, they would spill beer on the businessdorks below. Some of them even left, which is too bad because they missed the epic battle between Mitch Williams and his high-voltage mullet and Joe Carter in the bottom of the 9th that culminated in this most glorious of sporting moments:
Needless to say, I was stoked. I jumped up and down and may have even proposed to Mr. Carter as he approached the plate. It was the greatest moment in modern Toronto sport history in retrospect, but it was an immensely cool moment in my life because I got to do it with my dad. We enjoyed our night and went back to the normal, which included a 12 year gap in which we never even spoke, but this remains one of the greatest single evenings imaginable and the memory is a supersized bandaid for any previous wounds.
Cheers to you pop for totally punking me large and your newfound sobriety. I'm certain that the latter is far more monumental.
Footage courtesy of Major League Baseball.