I am grateful for losing my voice from hooting and hollering, hanging out our van, as we cruised downtown.
Tonight I felt like a kid again – high fiving people, sharing joy, and cheering on the Blue Jays. I grew up listening to baseball on the radio and watching baseball at family parties. My fondest memories of baseball watching include my Uncle Frank, my mom’s oldest sister’s husband. I spent a lot of time sleeping over at my aunt’s house with my cousins and I remember my uncle cheering on the Jays.
I also remember where I was 22 years ago when we won the last World Series. My entire extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents – were in a large party room in a hotel and we watched that game together. After we won, we all marched out onto the streets downtown and high fived everyone we met. It was a joyous and peaceful atmosphere. I remember feeling a camaraderie with everyone we encountered. Our kids love to hear our stories of where we were and what it felt like to win.
I must admit that I am a bandwagoner. Although the Jays have been a staple in our family, my grandmother was a fan too, I was never a diehard follower. I celebrated during the good times and casually watched with my husband. My husband played baseball and although I love watching most sports with him, baseball was always tough to sit through. He is the fan. He is the one that teaches the kids the difference between the types of pitches and fixes their batting stance.
My love for baseball was renewed on a mid-August car ride home from Ohio. We were listening to a sports station. I had vaguely been aware of the Jays’ late summer hot streak. Before this regular season game, the Jays were honouring the 30th anniversary of the 1985 Blue Jays team who were the American League Division Champs that season. Most of them were there – Barfield, Bell, Moseby, Stieb, Gruber, Henke, Mulliniks, and of course, Buck Martinez. Based on position, a current Blue Jay honoured the corresponding alumnus. My husband was overwhelmed with emotion and surprisingly, I felt the same. It brought us back to our childhoods. My husband started to share memories from his childhood. I started to get excited about baseball again.
Through our mutual excitement, our children have found an interest in baseball. They play catch or take out the bats whenever they get the chance. We have played baseball games with friends. The kids don their Jays jerseys and sit and watch with us, ask questions, cheer their favourite players (“TULO!” “It’s the ED-WING!” “Jose Jose Jose Jose! Jo-se! Jo-se!” “M-V-P!”), suffer with them when they lose, and celebrate their victories.
This brings me to today.
It was my brother’s birthday and we were out to dinner at a nice restaurant, the one where he works. It’s a pretty fancy place but we arrived early and had a table towards the back, near the kitchen. My stepfather set up the laptop and we watched the game, my family decked out in Blue Jay gear. The restaurant started to fill up but I couldn’t contain myself after that 7th inning homer. I whooped and twirled my son’s Jays towel. My daughter told me to calm down but I really couldn’t. Life is too short to not feel that child-like joy.
On the drive home, across the city, through the downtown core, the kids loved seeing the positive energy. My son said, “Mama! Look! Strangers are all high fiving!!!” My husband and I were little kids again – he was honking the horn and I was hanging out the car window screaming at the top of my lungs “Let’s go Jays!” and waving a Jays towel. The kids were cheering. Strangers were waving and cheering back. It reminded me of 1993.
I am grateful to share this experience with the kids. When we got home, the kids were still pumped from all that crazy energy driving home from the other side of the city. We watched highlights as a family and the kids wanted to see all the replays and the celebrations before bed. My #4 daughter came downstairs an hour ago. As I was about to reprimand her for still being awake, she told me that she was listening to the FAN 590 on the radio in her room and if she could listen to it a little bit more before going to sleep. She wanted to hear more about the Jays winning.
I softened and then gave her a big smile. I gave her a kiss goodnight and then we high-fived.
42 days of gratitude…feeling grateful for it ALL.