The poor guy is slowly turning into Darth Vader. He now has replaced two hips and a shoulder. Ok, so he is not trying to rid the world of Jedis or take over the galactic empire, but going through this much surgery in the past several years is probably getting old.
His spirits have been good despite all of this. While the road to recovery will take some time, it is my hope he will stay focused. Between Courtney and I and Marian and Darryl, we all want to provide mom and dad with some grandkids one day. Hopefully dad will take this opportunity to work hard at his recovery so he can be active will little grandkids in the future.
Enough talk about grandkids. Let's move towards feeling like a kid. Realizing as we get older and older it becomes more difficult to find those euphoric feelings which remind you of childhood. The simple reminder of your grandparents favorite ice cream. Tossing the baseball in the front yard. Shooting hoops at your old elementary school. In some cases it is a trip.
I had an opportunity like that last week as Courtney and I traveled to Toronto, ON. For those of you who may not know me that well, I have been a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball organization for a little over 25 years. Why? Well it all started with a George Bell rookie card from 1982, and I'll leave it at that.
Following the Jays has been something I've enjoyed. It is unusual, which I'm sure many would claim fits with me. I've always been one to make my own path, and once I started following Bell's stats in the weekly Sunday edition of the Winston-Salem Journal, I was hooked. That was my team and there was no doubt about it.
Never before had I ventured north of the border. Sure I bugged my parents every year about going, but it never quite made it on the trip list. I've seen the Jays play live in about 6 other stadiums, just none in Toronto. With the Jays starting out hot the first month of the season, I started bugging Courtney. Maybe this would be the year that the pilgrimage would be made. Low and behold we found some inexpensive tickets to Buffalo, used points for a hotel and rental car and we were in business.
After walking around the very cheesy shops of Niagara Falls we drove up to a small town called Niagara On The Lake. Several people had suggested it and understandably so. It is this perfect little town with a great main street ... lots of shopping, nice restaurants. We were amazed at how beautifully maintained the area was. Lots of pretty flowers and landscaping all around. We pretty much decided we could live there some day or at least have a summer home there.
We stopped by a couple of other wineries on the way back to our hotel but never really found any must haves. The closest for Courtney was a peach wine from Konzelmann. Apparently they sell it in Georgia so we are on the lookout.
The CN Tower is directly beside the Rogers Centre. We missed the tour that day but wandered in to the Jays Shop. Had to have some time to scout my purchases for the next day.
We had a 1pm lunch Friday with a friend but took some time wandering around the city. We stumbled across the Hockey Hall of Fame and more shops. We decided not to do the Hockey Hall of Fame tour. Maybe next time. Following lunch we took our tour of the Rogers Centre. This was one of those moments I was referring to.
Walking in the building I did get some goose bumps. For as much hell as I've taken over the years for being a Jays fan, walking into the facility made every bit of it worth it. I instantly thought about that famous home run from 1993.
So the disappointment of not seeing the trophies was erased when we walked up to the window to pick up our tickets. Over 25 years of fandom all came to a head. I felt like a kid. Totally. I was so excited to step in that building and cheer on my team. One thing which tends to get lost working in athletics is fandom. You are around it all the time so you are used to the coaches and players. You rarely have opportunities to tailgate or really enjoy events because you are working. This was my chance to really be a fan.
So with some stadium food and a beer in hand, we watched a great pitchers duel. The Jays beat Tamp Bay with a base hit in the bottom of the 7th to take the 2-1 lead. The game was intense and everything I hoped I would see. The bats the Jays are known for this season weren't connecting with the long ball but hit just enough to get the win.
The next morning we had breakfast at Cora's right near Rogers Centre. Great spot. They probably had ten things on their menu I wanted to try. We gassed up on food and coffee and made our way to the stadium for the second game of the series.
The Jays pitchers held on late for the 17-11 victory. We felt pretty good about seeing two amazing but very different games. I honestly thought Courtney was going to be bored to tears watching two straight baseball games. She seemed to enjoy it. Maybe it was because she actually found out she liked baseball, or maybe it was because she saw that little kid in me thoroughly loving the weekend. After taking a few pictures before we exited the stadium we made our way to grab some dinner and have a few celebratory drinks.
All in all it was a great last vacation before the school year gets hectic. The time Courtney and I can spend during the academic year does get limited because of work commitments. Hey, we made the decisions to work in these jobs so we live with it, but it is very nice to take some time away when we can it.
And yes, there were several times the little kid in me wanted to scream, "I'm in Toronto!" I saved it though and relished the fact I was able to explore a new place and take in my first couple of Blue Jays games with my wife. Thanks my love. Totally worth the trip.