Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I (Still) Gotta Believe

This is one of the weeks each year when I remember my Dad most. 

My Dad would have turned 69 this past Monday. This was the 24th birthday without him here.   

And as with last year, the Phillies being in the postseason and (as I write this) appearing to be headed for the World Series, I'm once again thinking of this time last year, and this time many, many years ago, in 1980.  

Betty just woke up to go potty, and we're cuddling on the sofa watching the Phillies.   Here, then, is an encore of a post that I wrote and published here on October 27, 2008.    

Ya Gotta Believe
I don't know what's more unbelievable tonight: the fact that the Phillies are thisclose to winning their first World Series since 1980, or the fact that I am voluntarily choosing to watch Game 5 of the World Series while The Dean abstains.

No one would ever mistake me for a sports fan. But the reality is that I grew up on the Phillies and some of my most memorable life moments have a red and white pinstriped background. There was Game 5 of the 1980 World Series, which was on in the background of my cousin's baptism party. It was a special occasion to begin with, but even moreso because she had multiple disabilities; in addition to being blind and deaf, she had a cleft palate and significant heart problems.

She was almost 1 that October when we celebrated her baptism with dozens of relatives crowded around the television in my aunt and uncle's Philadelphia rowhouse, cheering on the Phils. It's possible that my uncle entertained the family by playing the piano for awhile; I'm not sure. But what I remember most about that day was my little cousin propped in a special seat by the TV with the happiest expression on her little face, somehow sensing the palpable excitement that the Phillies brought to the party. (She died exactly six months later following open heart surgery.)

And then there was August 15, 1990, the night of Terry Mulholland's no-hitter and my first date with The Dean ... and winning a lottery for tickets to a 1993 playoff game ... and last year, taking the kids to their first professional baseball game. Truth be told, they were more interested in the PhunZone for kids than the game. And we can probably add tonight to that, since Betty has just ventured down here to the family room to rest on the sofa, unable to fall asleep because of a pesky cough.

My interest in tonight's game certainly has a lot to do with hometown pride. But it's more along the lines of what country star Tim McGraw did on Saturday night when he scattered some of his dad's ashes on the pitcher's mound. (Tim's dad was Tug McGraw, who struck out Willie Wilson to win the 1980 World Series for the Phils.)

Even though there are three of us watching the game (and one sleeping upstairs), in many ways our family room feels very, very full.

copyright 2009 MelissaF


Cindy said...

I know what you mean exactly. I also lost mine about 10 yrs ago, when I was 13. will be the anniversary of his death next month. I dread it!

Hope you get to feeling better!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a lovely, touching post. You really are a good writer!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Cindy, my condolences to you. Never an easy thing, is it?

Rhapsody - why, thank you so very much. That means a great deal, since your blog is so well-written.

bermudaonion said...

Nice post. My dad will be 90 on November 4. He and my mom lived in Philly from 1950 to 1953 and he's been a Phillies fan ever since. I talked to him this morning and he was thrilled with the Phillies win last night. I am dreading the day I have to root for the Phillies without him.

Stephanie said...

Hi Melissa-
I am so sorry for your loss. Must have been terrible to loose him as such a young age. He would be proud of you I am sure.
I can so relate to this post. As I was doing some writing today, my thoughts drifted off to the Philles. Not so much the win but what they represent to so many of us who grew up with them. My family is made up of huge Philly sports fans and many of our best most memorable moments are set against the backdrop of red/white, green/white and orange/black. Sports teams unite communities and families.
This post made my heart smile.

Belle said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post! Thank you for sharing it with us.