My father passed away Thursday, September 24, 2009. He lived with us, in an in-law suite, and we were pleased to have him in our house for the last 2.5 years. My dad was a sports fan. A huge fan of whatever sport he had the opportunioty to watch and learn. He never missed one of his 4 sons (I am #3 of 4) soccer or basketball games, and he absolutely loved attending games involving his grandchildren - even the unbelievably boring T-Ball games where you aren't allowed to run further than one base at a time.
My dad moved to St. Catharines in the early 1950s and the local hockey team was the Junior "A" farm team for the Chicago Blackhawks. Through the years, the influence of his 2nd wife made him a pseudo-Maple Leafs fan, but the link to Booby and Dennis Hull, Stan Makita and the Blackhawks stayed strong. He also would use any available summer evening to catch a local softball/fastball/baseball game. He was a very social being, and would chat with whoever sat closeby.
I have a strong passion for sports, and it no doubt was a result of my father's love of games and competition. I too can watch almost any sport, once I get a basic understanding of the rules. The Toronto Blue Jays World Series wins in 92 and 93 remain a life highlight for us, as we were able to follow the Jays from birth, through the tough growing years, to contention, and finally to championships. I find it fitting that the last time I spoke with Dad, Wednesday night last week, he was having an ice cream, watching the Jays win their third game in a row. He got to see some Jays victories, and was spared many more Maple Leaf losses.
Most male sports fans credit their fathers for the introduction to and love for sports. I see a lot of him in me, and certainly sports is one of the key links we shared. Thanks Dad... and I'll raise a toast should the Blackhawks or Maple Leafs win Stanley's mug during my lifetime.