My father is no sports fan. The furthest thing from it, actually. He's got no time for sports; never has, never will. And that's cool.
Dad grew up in India. Sure, he played some cricket in his day, but he didn't have the New Delhi Nuggets to cheer for, watch on the television every night, and read about in the newspaper the next day. Dad grew up in a different time, a different place.
As young kids in Toronto, my older brother and I were smitten over baseball. We treasured our Blue Jays. Loved them. With every ounce of our being. Dad didn't get it, but he sure as hell supported our passion. Back in the early 90s, we, a family of four, would head down to the SkyDome, 500 level tickets in hand, numerous times a season. Thinking back, one of the most exciting days of the year was when we received a letter in the mail from the Toronto Blue Jays, asking us to select which games we'd be attending that season.
Over the years, we went to a lot of games with Dad. While he never took a liking to the team, or the game, he did love one part of being in attendance in the summertime: the SkyDome. A civil engineer by trade, Dad marveled at the stadium's technology. (Classic immigrant story: Dad's education, from the best institution in India, wasn't recognized in Canada.) Sometimes I wished for the Dome to be closed mid-game, just so he could see the roof in action.
Dad also loved the wave. He'd sit back and watch in amazement as 45,000 fans rose, section by section, when it was their turn.
To this day, what I love about Major League Baseball in the fine city of Toronto is its affordability. A man can take his family of four down to the ball park, feed them, and not have to worry about the next mortgage payment, or the next rent cheque. Unbeknownst to me as an oblivious youth, there were times when Dad's wallet wasn't as fat as it is today. But he never let me or my brother find out. The last thing he was going to do was take baseball away from us. Now, years later, I want him to know just how much I appreciated that.
Thank you, Dad. Thanks for the trips down to the stadium, the program my brother could keep score in, the hot dogs, the nachos, and the soft-serve ice cream cones from the truck after the game. Looking back, I'm sure there were times Dad could have said no to the program, or to the hot dogs, so he could have had a beer. But he never did; he never said no.
It didn't matter to Dad that he could have cared less whether Robbie Alomar, my most-favourite player in the whole wide world, had a good game or not. Or whether the Jays got the win. But I know in my heart that he hoped Alomar would perform, and that the Jays would win. So his boys could ride the subway back up north with a smile on their faces.
Thank you, Dad. You are an inspiration. Every single day. Happy Father's Day.