And so did my kids.
Every man, every husband and father knows what I’m talking about. It’s the moment when you become cosmically aware that there’s a higher power, a bigger-than-me situation going on, where history is about to be made and, damn it, you may have to start dinner without me.
It’s the moment you’ll remember what you were doing at that precise second, from the time of day right down to dinner’s burpy aftertaste (although your child’s exact birth weight slips the mind, for some reason).
You know what I’m talking about, guys, girls, and sports fans everywhere. You know how it is to ride the wave, navigate through the choppy waters of “Baby, don’t be jumping on the couch,” “Don’t bounce that ball in the house!” and “Daddy, don’t we have other channels besides the baseball one?” while the game is on and potential history is about to unfold.
“Seriously, another parking ticket?”
And even though I know it’s not my wife and children’s fault Kurt Suzuki nailed a chest high Lester offering into the gap in left-center, last Thursday, I can’t help but think, If I had only been more focused, more able to offer my share of mental karma the outcome would have been different. In short, there was that primal urge to tell everyone in the house to shut the fuck up (in the most loving of ways, of course).
I am am passionate when it comes to my sports teams.
And like many sports fans, specifically A’s fans, we know that with such passion, we are all cursed. We’re all prone to ignoring the world around us as we sit there, transfixed with every pitch, every rotational change of the baseball as it leaves Lester’s left hand. We’re laser focused, at least we want to be, when 15 straight Minnesota Twins batters have failed to reach first base because, well because this was our perfect game, too! My wife, of course, knows this. It’s the latter half of the “better-worse” equation she signed up for. For the good qualities I might have, there’s a strong realization that I am a moron…
Keep an eye on that roast in the oven while I give the kids a bath upstairs, ok?
Screw it. Lester’s perfect game wasn’t meant to be. But I’ll tell you, this is a strange and wonderful and angst-filled time of the year if you’re like me. It’s when the baseball world collides with NFL football and the promise of the NBA is only weeks away. This isn’t the first time I’ve ranted about how sports are the ultimate reality show, where nothing is scripted and anything is possible.
More than anything, those magical sports moments trigger significant memories of whom we got to share them with. I was knee-high to a wastebasket back in 1984 when Boston College stunned the football world behind Doug Flutie’s miracle Hail Mary pass in 1984. I’m not sure who had more of a good time, the BC players and fans we saw on our little television set or my parents and four brothers, jumping and screaming for joy like ferrets on crack.
All the same, I remember feeling the shock of a clutch Kirk Gibson home run off of Dennis Eckersley in the ’88 World Series. That disappointment would be replaced with utter elation one year later with a World Series sweep of the hated San Francisco Giants.
I can keep going. From the Miracle on Ice to Jordan’s Flu game, sports have a way of taking us away from the real world, from the Middle East conflicts, the evils of ISIS and sad celebrity suicides. It’s an escape.
My father and I would sit in the car and listen to the game on the radio even though we had already pulled up to the house a half-hour before. The hell with homework and doing the dishes – for a little while.
As a dad to four kids I know I can draw from such memories, help teach the rules of the game and how they can be applied to their every day lives. And for this I say to you, “Now who’s the moron?”
Daddy why is there smoke coming out of the oven?
Phillip Cortez is the author of Night Rhythms and When I Close My Eyes/Al cerrar mis ojos. Summer Son and Ava & The Monsters are due out in 2014/2015.