Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Father of the Year


We’re a strange lot, aren’t we? Active participants in the creation of a child, but relegated to the sidelines to watch for nine months after conception. I found it a really weird spot to be in and the idea of a child growing inside my wife was just mind boggling. Watching her give birth to our kids is sitting atop my list of the most awe-inspiring events I have ever witnessed. Second place is so far removed from this that you can hardly consider it a list. It looks something like this:

Once your child is born, your job as a father is to be a teacher; a role model. Your kids will look to you for advice and guidance, and you best be prepared because they will ask you questions and do things that you’ve never even dreamed of. I find that most of the time I just have to think WAY back to when I was young and carefree to figure out how to respond.

When I broke my arm the first thing I did was find my father and look for him to take care of me and get me to the hospital, so when I saw my 18-month old son running through the living room and take a nasty header the first thing I did was run over to him to pick him up. Of course, this was just a couple days after my vasectomy so when I bent down to pick him up I got him off the ground to about knee height and the pain in my nuts was so intense that I dropped him. The point is I was there to drop him in the first place.

Me, my little brother, and our dad – taking in an inter-county baseball game

When I was learning how to play sports, whether it was baseball or hockey or either of my ill-fated single seasons of soccer or lacrosse, my dad was there to show me the ropes and help me practice, so when my little girl wanted to start playing soccer the first thing I did was head over to the park to kick the ball around with her. When trying to encourage her to run like the wind after the ball I couldn’t resist kicking it as hard and far as I could into the wide open field so she could chase it. Of course, the odds of me hitting her right in the middle of her face with the ball and knocking her over were astronomical. The point is I was there to kick a soccer ball into her face in the first place.

When I wanted a haircut my dad would take me across town to his barber and read the newspaper while this old Italian guy would fix me up with the perfect haircut, so when my son wanted a mohawk the first thing I did was get out the clippers. Okay, this one of those times where deviating from the fatherly guidance I received would work out, right? Of course, realizing that we had a big family photo shoot next week, I opted for no mohawk and ended up shaving his head and “ruining his life”. The point is I had well maintained professional hair clippers to use in the first place.

Lastly, when I wanted to know how to behave and what words to use for any given situation I would keep a keen ear open for what my father was saying. He was a very well-read man with an English degree and always chose his words carefully, so when my wife sent me running upstairs to get the camera because our daughter was doing something cute and I heard, “Never mind. She stopped doing it,” I naturally yelled out, “Shit!” Of course, this would have to be the precise moment our daughter would choose to speak her first distinguishable word. The point is she’s going to need words a lot worse than that out in the real world and I’d rather she learn them at home first instead of on the street or the Internet. How else would I have been able to take her to see her first movie rated 14A last night? I’d like to think the solid foundation of expletives I’ve taught her more than prepared her for the movie Spy, which didn’t quite rival Wolf of Wall Street for f-bombs but still had a fuckload of swearing in it (and two brief glimpses of a penis).

In another mind-boggling mystery, I can’t quite figure out why I haven’t received my Father of the Year award yet. There’s always next year, I guess.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad (whose own award is in the mail I’m sure) and to all the other dads out there lucky enough to have kids as great as mine.

My kids “Princess Pants” and (The) “Dude”

~ Andrew

For Dad

Not surprisingly, a good number of the memories I have that involve my father also involve sports. Whether it was sitting on the porch listening to the Toronto Blue Jays on the radio; me with a lemonade, Dad with a can of Schlitz, or him taking me downtown on the subway to sit in General Admission at Exhibition Stadium and watch them play live. I can still hear the chants of “Er-nie! Er-nie!” echoing through the ball field and out onto the cool waters of Lake Ontario.

If I was really lucky we’d sit in Right Field – Reserved Bench!

I have a family of my own now and my wife’s father enjoys heading down to the ballpark as well, so every so often for Father’s Day she and I will buy tickets for our dads and we’ll all go down to the ballpark and catch a Jays game (preferably against the Yankees). Where do you think Dad likes to sit? Yup, out in left field above the Jays bullpen – not too far from the old General Admission days at Exhibition Stadium.

By the age of 5 I had watched more games on Hockey Night in Canada than I could count. In 1979-1980 my dad, as the principal of a school, would bring home boxes of confiscated hockey cards (no shootsies allowed in the hallways!) and I would catalogue each and every one, diligently using the checklists to see which ones I was missing. Dad would sometimes get hockey tickets from a parent and take me down to see the game and if he was really itching to go to and didn’t have seats he’d hop on the subway and get some off scalpers. The most memorable moment would have to be the 1987 playoffs against St. Louis. Toronto won the series in 6 games on the same ice that I scored a goal on a little more than 2 years earlier. Dad and I were in standing room “seats” and I thought the building was going to collapse! After the game Mom said she saw us on the news; Dad carrying me on his shoulders as fans paraded up the street. Even if I didn’t know what it meant at the time that night was probably the first truly surreal experience of my life.

1984 Thornhill Rebels crammed into a broom closet in the bowels
of Maple Leaf Gardens. I was 10 years old. 

All grown up, able to afford my own tickets (and a knack for being able to actually get some), I would make a point of taking my old man to a game every year. The last Toronto Maple Leafs playoff game we saw was in 2001 at the new home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Air Canada Centre. Wouldn’t you know it, the Leafs would win in overtime and we were fittingly situated in standing room (it was the game Sergei Berezin actually passed the puck!) Dad didn’t put me on his shoulders but an usher did have to instruct him to get down off the railing and stop banging on the bottom of the press box.

Now, as any good hockey fan knows, when you’re not out on the ice you should be out on the course. When it came to golf Mom had more patience (and a hole in one!) but played a lot less than Dad. Not that Dad played a whole lot, but both his parents were avid golfers and he definitely liked to get out on the course and hack it around. Dad would let me borrow his clubs and I’d go out to the Unionville Par 3 course with a friend and just make a total mess of things. I’m pretty sure the only reason every club came back in one piece was the uncertainty of what would happen if even one of them came back broken.

Since Dad retired he’s played a lot more golf, and since I’ve grown up I have as well. Now, once or twice a year we go out on the course and shoot a round, usually 9 holes so it doesn’t take as long. I couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve played, but I can definitely tell you how many times I’ve beaten him: once. That’s right, I’ve only beaten him one time. I’ve never been able to hit his curve ball, and apparently when he’s around I can’t hit a fairway either. I bought him a round at the course by my house for Father’s Day this year and I have this sneaky suspicion that he’ll eek out the victory just like he’s done all all those times before.

Pretend score card from the one time I beat Dad (as if I shot a 44)

If it’s possible to be influenced into enjoying a certain type of book I was definitely influenced by my father. He’s read all the classics of course, and as an English major from Waterloo Lutheran University and public educator for 34 years he has read his fair share of novels. The man loves to read, and one of his go-to genres is the one I head to first when I’m looking to buy a new book: suspense / thriller. I have borrowed many a book off of his shelf written by Dan Brown, Steve Berry, or Robert Ludlum and have certainly purchased many of their works or taken them out from the library as well.

Is it any surprise then that my novel, just a few thousand words shy of a completed first draft, happens to be a conspiracy suspense thriller? I’m 39 years old and still trying to get in my dad’s good books.

One thing I am looking forward to is writing on the inside cover of his copy and handing it to him sometime this year; heart in my throat, terrified he’ll think it sucks. I have another feeling though, that he will think it’s a perfectly readable book, and even if he doesn’t, one thing I know is he’ll put me up on his shoulders one more time and place my novel proudly on his bookshelf right beside Ludlum, Brown, and Berry – and every time I visit it will be surreal.


~ Andrew