Blue Jays Clinch

Who Cries About Professional Sports?

There I sat on my couch with my 7 year old son, watching the Toronto Blue Jays clinch the AL East title for the first time in 22 years. It was nice to be able to share something I enjoy with my son and I assumed that we would watch it and then go on with bedtime as we do every night. That isn’t exactly what happened though.

As we watched the Blue Jays celebrate, my son snuggled up next to me, I started to feel the sting that usually precedes a good cry. Trust me, I had the same thought you just did, “Who cries about professional sports?”. It only took me a minute to figure out what was going on and once I did I took an extra couple minutes with my son to sit and enjoy the moment we were experiencing.

It was 22 years ago that I sat in my basement with my dad, watching as Joe Carter hit a home run to win the World Series. I remember jumping up and down, numerous high fives and the feeling of pure joy in that moment. Every time I see that clip and hear the famous, “Touch ’em all, Joe”, I am transported back to that moment and I can’t help but smile at remembering that special time with my father.

I often worry that my memories of my father are going to disappear but this was an excellent reminder that they are just being stored away for when I really need them. My son is younger than I was on that day 22 years ago but that doesn’t mean his mind won’t come back to this moment one day when he is experience something similar with his own kids.

So I guess the answer to the question, “Who cries about pro sports?” is, I do, and I’m perfectly okay with that.

Cottage Life

Serenity Now

The waves crashed into the rocks on the shore. In the distance a low flying plane rumbled by. The squirrels and seagulls congregate on the beach to discuss the day’s happenings while I sat quietly on the deck, enjoying my coffee and the serenity of being the only one awake. I’m not usually this chipper to be the first one out of bed but then again, this isn’t my usual morning view. I watched the animals run around and wondered if they actually communicate with each other, but only because there was no one else for me to talk to.

The day will soon be filled with sand castles, beaches, games and laughter, but for now it is as peaceful as you could ever imagine. Almost an hour goes by before the first sounds arrive. The very familiar “Hi-Ya!” sound of Michelangelo, to be exact. The ninja turtle, not the artist. I often wonder if my son was destined to someday become a ninja turtle with the amount of time he spends acting out scenes.

“Hi Daddy”
“Hey buddy, did you have a good sleep?” I’m not the least bit upset by his presence. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve had my quiet time and it was more than enough serenity to recharge my mind.
“Yes. Do you want to play soccer with me?” He hasn’t been awake 10 minutes and he has already begun planning out our day together. We played barefoot soccer in our PJ’s before retiring for breakfast with the rest of the family.

As expected, the day was action packed and full of laughs. We left paradise that day and returned home to our own beds and busy lives, but held on to the new memories that were created. Now, whenever life hands me that overwhelming feeling it sometimes does, I simply shut down all my devices, close my eyes and picture the waves and the coffee and playing soccer barefoot in my PJ’s.

Fearless Kid


“C’mon, dad! Let’s go exploring!”, she yelled as she ran into the small forested area we would soon refer to as “The Jungle”. She didn’t need me to follow along but invited me anyway, which was nice. Though you wouldn’t know from the fearless way that she leaped into the woods, part of me wanted to believe that my presence made her feel safer in there.

We ran through the jungle carrying sticks, just in case we ran into trouble, and popped out at an old wooden bridge that covered a small stream. I tried to explain to her that this was the bridge I used to hide under with my friends when I was her age, but she was way ahead of me in making her way underneath. She’s adventurous, this one. Just like her dad was at that age. We played troll under the bridge for a few minutes, with her insisting on being the troll even though I was perfect for the part, before moving on to the next adventure at a nearby park.

As we walked down the pathway to the park, I felt like I was walking through my past. We passed the creek where I used to catch frogs, the baseball diamond where I found out that I made my first competitive team, the high school where I broke out of my shell, and the park that I spent countless hours pushing my limits. You’d think twenty plus years would have had their way with these places but they all looked exactly the same as I had left them.

Exploring is tough work, so while I didn’t get the chance to stop and take in all the memories that were crashing around in my brain, I did relish the opportunity to create a new memory with her in a place that meant so much to me in my youth.

We left the park, walked through the baseball diamond across from the high school, crawled under the bridge and ran through the jungle back to our original starting point. “Did you have fun exploring with me, daddy?”

More than you will ever know, sweetheart.

The Sting Before The Tears

I can still remember fighting back the tears on the long drive home with my Dad. I had just blown my chance to play softball for Team Ontario, a team he coached, and we both knew it. Just a kid, it felt like my whole world was coming to an end. How was I going to look my buddies in the face and explain how I couldn’t even make a team that my Dad coached?

The real truth, though, is that I didn’t belong there in the first place. I had a surgically repaired knee and a skill set that was slightly below the other players. We sat silently as I stared out the car window, feeling the familiar sting of emotion rising up inside of me. I wasn’t accustomed to crying in front of my father and I wasn’t about to start now. I wondered why he wasn’t saying anything and remember getting upset at the silence, even though I had nothing to say that wouldn’t have ended up in tears.

My Dad was good like that. Many years and many disappointments later and I’m thankful that I was lucky enough to have someone who understood that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. As we got closer to home that day, he reached over, grabbed my shoulder and gave it a consoling shake, as parents often do. It was only an instant but was enough to tip my teetering emotions from controlled to suspect. I started to feel that sting you get in your chest when you try to fight the emotions away, and I lost the fight. He allowed me to continue staring out the window, trying to hide my tears as if he didn’t know what was going on.

This is one of my favourite memories of my father and I think it sticks because it’s a lesson that I hope to pass on to my children through my actions as a father.

The New Hat

My son got a new hat the other day. There was really nothing special about it. If anything, it looked like one of the many poorly crafted hats that I had enjoyed in my younger days.

“I picked it for Grampy in heaven, because he liked baseball” he said with a proud smile. I gently leaned in, kissed his forehead and told him that my Dad would have loved the hat. I did this calmly and in full control of my emotions, however, on the inside, my heart was racing, the tears building as my lungs gasped for air and I was suddenly flooded with a swell of memories from my days with my father.

What my son doesn’t know is that, over 6 years later, I do the same thing. It seems that almost everything reminds me of my father in some way or another. Ultimately, it’s the reason I stopped playing fastball, because that’s the thing we shared more than anything else and every time I took the field, after his death, the emotions became too overwhelming.

There’s also my unreasonable love for anything Sherlock Holmes and the sudden instinct to purchase old Hardy Boys books whenever I spot them. There are many other situations I can think of that, good or bad, have me instinctively doing something with no rhyme or reason attached to them. I’m no head doctor, so I’m not about to try to figure them all out but I’m assuming its normal behavior for anyone who has lost someone so close to them.

I thought about how I was distancing myself from the things we shared together instead of embracing them. It’s not that I wanted to forget, it’s just that I don’t want to be constantly reminded of it, if that makes any sense. It’s hard, man. Life has definitely become easier but those last days certainly haven’t vanished from my memory. That said, I didn’t want to return to that anxiety ridden “Why me” place that I spent so much time in. I want to be the story of the guy who fought through adversity and came out stronger on the other side, not the guy who caved to the memories and hurt his own family in the process.

You may look at my son’s new hat and just see a poorly made hat from any department store in the world, but to me, it’s a symbol that I’m doing better now. It taught me that life can go on, even with the heart break, and that my father’s memory will live on in my children even though they never had the chance to actually meet him.

I dusted off my ball cleats last weekend in hopes of making a comeback next season; because I know my Dad would have liked that.

Bunnies + Goats + Kids = Cute Explosion

Bunny Girl

I’m a little under the weather this week. You’d think that would give me plenty of time to write but I just don’t have the energy to come up with anything at the moment. That said, this is something that has been making me smile the last couple days, so I thought I’d share.

We heard about a cool photo shoot that was taking place at a local ranch and decided to take part. The photographer was Christina from Tia Photography and we couldn’t be happier with how the pictures turned out. On a funny “the pictures you don’t see” note, my daughter started laughing when it was her turn to hold the bunny, but that laugh quickly turned into a nervous laugh and then to a full blown panic attack in about 10 seconds. We eventually calmed her down and she loved the experience. I have included some of our favourites below.

Smiling KidsSuper Smiles

Love That BunnyBaby Goat























A big thanks to Tia Photography and Pinto Valley Ranch for giving us this awesome memory! We’ll be back next time for sure. Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have to get back to resting this flu…

Walking in the Shadows

Hockey Hallway

It was one of those situations where you don’t really think about what you are about to do until you actually do it. When I signed my son up for skating lessons, I did so under the pressured haze of our city’s crazy registration system. Other than being excited to share another of my favourite things with him, I hadn’t really considered all of the underlying factors.

When we arrived for his first lesson, something immediately struck me as odd. I hadn’t been to this rink in a while. It happened to be the same place where I got my start as a young skater and I had spent many very early mornings at this rink with my Dad as I traveled through the hockey ranks. The canteen here was also where I held my very first job and learned the art of slacking off.

The very first thing that hit me though, was the smell. It may sound ridiculous but anyone who has had any kind of positive experience inside a local hockey rink will tell you that it has a very specific smell. After a while you kind of forget it’s even there, but coming back to it after so many years I can only compare it to how people describe new car smell. I missed it and beamed a huge smile as the memories started flowing back.

We were told our dressing room number and made our way to the tunnel. I can remember the exact moment the next flash happened. Just as we passed the referee’s dressing room I got hit with a wave of memories all at once and actually had to stop for a minute to process it all. It’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I had a great father who passed away far too soon. And in that hallway I felt like I was remembering everything all at the same time. I remembered him carrying my bag down the hallway for me because it was too heavy or because I was too wimpy, tying my skates a little too tight for my liking and always buying me a slush puppie after the game. These are great memories and even though I miss my Dad every single day, I am blessed to have them.

As for my son’s skating experience, it was truly awesome. To see the determination in his eyes as he struggled to stay on his feet, reminded me of a young me, never giving up and always looking to do it better. I’d lost a little bit of that in the past few years but seeing it in my son reminded me how important having that determination is. I’m so proud to be his father and I’m lucky to have had the great parents I did growing up, because I know my children will benefit from that.

It’s pretty amazing how something so simple as skating lessons can bring on such a swell of emotions. In the end, I’m glad that it did because it reinforces how important it is as parents to create great memories for your kids. And as for the slush puppie, my son isn’t a huge fan yet, but we’ll get there.