Category: real talk

No Role Modelz

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a few brushes with fame in my life. Of these celebrity encounters, one has always stuck with me, though.

At a 1994 FIBA World Basketball Championship game, when I was a kid, NBA star Toni Kukoc happened to be in the stands. This totally got me starstruck.  People were coming up to him in his seat, between breaks, so figured I’d ask him for an autograph, too.  I remember being super nervous as I got closer and closer to him. When I did get near, I didn’t get a chance to speak, unfortunately. Mr Kukoc, without looking at me, said “Get out of my face.” I couldn’t believe it…..but he then said it again! The dude he was with also told me to go away, which I quickly did.  Once the shock wore off, I can’t say that I was really upset about the incident. It was more of a disappointed, angry feeling.  However, because of that one moment, in my opinion, Mr. Kukoc (who may be a swell guy, to others) was, and always will be, a jerk.

 

Let’s now talk about the other day, when like father, like son, B had a similar  “celebrity” encounter.

It happened at a Toronto Raptors 905 NBA G-League game. B was there with his basketball teammates and their parents, which included yours truly. Midway through the game, a bunch of them noticed Fred VanVleet, point guard for the Toronto Raptors, was also in attendance. Like any 8-10 year old hoops fans, they were excited about seeing a real life NBA player. So, at halftime, one of the other dads in our group took the boys down, to meet Mr. VanVleet, and get autographs.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t see what exactly happened next. I can only go by what B and the other parents told me.  I saw the group down near where Mr. VanVleet was, and then I looked away for a bit. When I looked back, I saw the group walking towards our section, with a bunch of disappointed faces. From what I was told, Mr. VanVleet saw the team approaching, and legit turned his back on them to talk to someone else instead. A 905 representative came over as well, to tell the boys that Fred VanVleet “wasn’t available”. I guess the optics of it were savage, as one of the dads got really worked up when he saw the incident occur.

Now look, there are always two sides to every story.  For all we know, Mr. VanVleet was having a bad day, and is normally very accommodating to his young fans. It could have been a case of bad timing and miscommunication. He could possibly have been sick, and didn’t want to infect the boys with his illness. Or, maybe, he just wanted to enjoy the game, without having to interact with the general public.  In any event, why he wouldn’t be more appreciative to the ones who put him on a pedestal so he can make a comfortable living playing a freaking game?

I understand that, in our culture, we tend to idolize, romanticize and build up celebrities. Shoot, I remember last year, when B and I went to a 905 game, Mr. VanVleet was on that team, as just another guy. I don’t think he had many people looking to take selfies or get an autograph then. To go from there, to now playing a regular role on one of the best teams in the NBA, well, I’m sure a lot of stuff comes with that. It’s just like if anybody in any job works their way up to become successful. You hope that they remain decently humble and stuff doesn’t go to their head, but that’s not always the case.

Yet, who are we to judge, if the celebrities we make role models turn out not to be who we thought they were? They’re  human beings, too. They don’t owe us anything. If they want to turn their back to ignore a group of kids, in spite of how bad it might reflect on them and their employer, it’s their choice, right? Like Charles Barkley said back in the day – just because someone can dunk a basketball shouldn’t make them a role model. Just because someone played a hero in a movie doesn’t mean that they aren’t a scummy deviant once the camera stops rolling. I guess that’s on us, for buying into the facade, when the truth emerges.  With all that said,  finding out Toni Kukoc was a jerk still kind of hit me the same way as when I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real. It sucked.

Ho-Ho-Hold up! I’m not real?

Ok, rambling over.

Unlike my Kukoc experience, B’s night ended on a happy note.  At the end of the game, B’s team went down to high five the 905s as they walked off the court. Bruno Caboclo, sometime Raptor/sometime 905er, on his way out, high fived everyone, AND signed every autograph, no questions asked. The kids were pumped and had the biggest smiles when they came back to us. This made their night, including B’s, who doesn’t want me to wash his autographed shirt now!

Actions speak louder than words.  And when you’re on a pedestal, role model or not, it can go a long way in affecting how you’re perceived.
Fred VanVleet, you lost some young fans that night, bro, sorry.  Bruno Caboclo, on the other hand, gained a bunch.

 

 

An Obligatory Father’s Day Post

 

Since my mom passed away last October, holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have me in a reminiscing state of mind.

See, my dad was never in the picture, growing up. Like, at all.  I only had my mom. The single parent thing isn’t uncommon, of course, but back in the day, when I was little, at my school, it wasn’t normal. So, for Father’s Day, when other kids were making cardboard ties and whatnot for their dads, I was usually the only youngster making one for their ‘father figure’ aka my mom.  I didn’t really care, though. Between that and Mother’s Day, she was the only one getting twice as many dope gifts from their child!

Having small kids now, my favorite thing about this time of year are those type of gifts that they make for me. Knowing they took the time to hook me up with a present which they worked hard on is a beautiful thing, no doubt. It reminds of when I was a young boy, which I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

Truth be told, being a parent is the best, most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done. Yeah, I usually share the nonsense on here, because there’s a lot of nonsense. Heck, the other day, at B’s baseball game, I kept hearing people talking about someone named Dawson. “Good job, Dawson!”, and stuff like that. I eventually realized that they were talking about B. For no apparent reason, he started telling people that his name was Dawson.

Nonetheless, random 90s teen show aliases aside (and yes, we sent “Dawson” up the creek, for that stunt), there’s a lot of goodness to parenthood, too.  I can’t imagine not being apart of B, J and KJ’s lives. How anyone looks at the prospect of being a parent, says no thanks, and bounces, never to be seen or heard from again, is ridiculous to me,

Another point along these lines.  If K’s out  doing something, and I’m on my own with the three kids for a while, it’s a guaranteed struggle.  Fortunately, my difficulties are only temporary, however, and we go back to being a tag team soon enough. You do anything for your kids, period, but I appreciate now how hard it was for my mom to do what she did, on her own.

Someone called me a ‘superdad’ the other day, which, while nice, isn’t accurate at all. I’m just a basic guy who tries to be there for his kids as much as possible. But to the real superdads, super father figures, and people who are just trying to be the best that they can for their family, to you I say….

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

How To Stop A Crying Baby In Seconds

So you’re with a baby and they won’t stop crying. You’ve fed them, changed them, busted out all of the tricks in your bag and they just won’t stop.

What do you do?

Last week, Daniel Eisenman posted this video on his Facebook page, which quickly went viral:

A simple, soothing “Om” sound and seconds later, blissful silence. So genius in its simplicity. No wonder my last resort noise (me sobbing uncontrollably, pleading with the kid to hush. Just kidding!) never worked.

Excited by this breakthrough, I couldn’t wait to test this new silencer method out on KJ when all other options failed. The result?

Yeah, that ish didn’t work. It just made him more riled up. He had his little dukes up by the end, like he wanted to punch me out, for making that sound.

However, if you’re like me, and you felt a bit let down by Mr. Eisenman’s technique, don’t fret, my pet.

See, the principles to the technique are solid. Thus, if “Om” doesn’t work…….

Try making some other random noises!

For example, I called this one A Case Of The Yips:

 

It was a bad case, because four minutes later, I was still yipping:

Here’s the creepy Ric Flair (Whoo!):

Don’t you know? About the bird?! Everybody knows that the bird is the word:

Here’s the broken buzzer:

Finally, if you’re whistling game is on point (note: my whistling game is not on point), try the Chill Bill:

Make the right noise, and your baby will stop crying in seconds!

Maybe.

I don’t know. I can’t actually guarantee that.

Regardless, if they do stop crying, don’t thank me. No, for real, I’m just a guy on the internet who ripped off someone else’s better idea.

Thank Daniel Eisenman.

 

 

 

Do The Right Thing

 

Do you and your kids have a thing?

You know, a thing?  

Yo, I’m talking about that common interest which helps you bond with them.

It dawned on me recently that J and I don’t really have a thing. This realization made me feel kind of guilty, for real. Sure, we get along well and do lots of dope stuff together. However, unlike Amerie back in 2005, we don’t have one thing. B and I, for example, talk, watch or play basketball a lot. J and I don’t get down like that, though.

With this in mind, when my good friends at Culinary Adventure Co invited me out to one of their food tours, I jumped at the opportunity!

See, Culinary Adventure Co. is Canada’s largest culinary tourism and experience operator, offering a variety of neighbourhood food tours and other tasty adventures. J is curious by nature, and also loves to try new eats. A food tour would be right up her alley, right? We’d walk around a ‘hood in Toronto, learn some history and sample some scrumptious foods. Perhaps this would be start of our new thing: daddy-daughter foodies!

So how did it go, you ask?

Well…….

Ok, let me start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed our particular tour of the Riverside and Leslieville area in Toronto. Our guide, Ian, was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and filled us with all kinds of cool information about the neighbourhood.

Our tour group consisted of a bunch of hardcore foodies. I’ve never been around that many people who were so passionate about their dining. They were the type who would have choked on their baba ganoush if I had told them that I had Kraft Dinner for supper the other night. Even though I lacked their sophisticated palate, and even though I was the only one who had a child with them, everyone in the group was very friendly to J and I.

In terms of the food, I really liked everything that we had, but don’t take my word for it. I  did make a point of listening in on the opinions of the group at each stop. Truth be told, I heard a lot of compliments from the hardcores about the tastes and presentations.

However, truth be told, I also had two unexpected issues come up with J.

The first was, while normally very open-minded, she picked that day to be a picky eater. Despite normally liking what was offered at the Middle Eastern restaurant we stopped at, she refused to try anything, because it looked “spicy”. Despite liking canned tuna, she refused to try the fresh tuna at the fish market, because it wasn’t canned. Despite loving bread, she refused to try the fresh bread at the bread factory, because it didn’t come in a  plastic bag (curse you, Dempsters!).

The other issue was, while I was digging the hot knowledge that Ian was spittin’, J couldn’t have cared less. This was my bad, as I misjudged the age appropriateness a tad. As such, she spent the day entertaining herself, usually separate from the rest of the group:

 

While Ian told us about the historical significance of where we were standing, J wandered off to explore the area.

Here she is using Google Maps to play Pac-Man. Seriously.

At the bread factory, she wandered off into the kitchen, and was amazed with how big the mixer was.

Instead of eating at the Middle Eastern joint, she filled up on a mint lemonade.

This is the face of someone who was not impressed with seafood…..

 

But here is the face of someone who is impressed with her doll-placing handiwork.

 

I can’t front. She seemed to be having such a blast, that I had to join her most of the time.

Ice cream selfie! Well, actually, blood orange/raspberry gelato selfie.

To summarize, I thought Culinary Adventure Co. put on an excellent experience.  The one that we went on is a bit better suited for kids older than J (re: older than five-ish). Even if they aren’t that age, however, they’ll still be entertained.  Regardless, any foodie definitely won’t be disappointed.

At the end of our tour, as we walked hand in hand to the car, I asked J if she had a good time. I expected her to say no, and that it was boring, and yucky or something. Instead she smiled, mouth smeared with blood orange/raspberry gelato, and said that she had “sooo much fun”. I had to smile too, because I also had a great time with her.

Being daddy-daughter foodies probably isn’t be the right thing for us.  And you know what?

That’s cool.

Maybe our thing is that we don’t have a thing. Yet. Hanging out and spending quality time together right now, doing whatever, is really all that matters.

 

 

 

 

Night Shift

After dealing with small kids for so long, I’ve honestly forgotten  how different they are to babies.

The years really do fly by. B and J are little people now.  Baby KJ, on the other hand, is whole ‘nother creature.  My dad strategies (or as I call them dadegies. What? That’s catchy! What do you mean that’s not catchy?) which work on seven and four year olds, don’t work on two month olds. As such, I need to switch my game up, to handle KJ.

Full disclaimer- right now, K does most of the heavy lifting with him. She is home during the day while I’m at work. However, the evenings are when I do a  “night shift” in our house. K goes to bed around 9:00pm and wakes up a few hours later. This means that it’s just me and the baby until then.  Yep, KJ and I bonding and spending quality time alone together, creating lasting memories.

How’s it going, you ask?

Well……here’s a typical shift.

K’s breastfed KJ. He’s burped, changed and contently sleepy. He should pass out any minute now.  K hands him off to me, and heads to bed. Let’s check the time:

Ok, baby boy, let’s get our bond on like James! Haha, you see what I did there?

 

Hey, stop looking at the stairs for Mommy, dude. She’s gone.

Aww. She’s not gone, gone,  like gone forever. She’s just sleeping. She’ll be back! Please stop crying. You look tired. Get some rest!

No?

You’re just going to cry louder?

Alrighty. Time to dip into the ol’ bag of tricks.  Are you still hungry? Here, have some bottle. The finest breast milk around.

Hey, don’t scream, I’m just askin’.

Do you want to be rocked? Here, let’s rock.

Hmm. That didn’t work.

OK, let’s go for a walk around the house. Up the stairs, down the stairs. To the windows, to the wall. Swing by the fridge, to get daddy a snack, and back to our chair. How you doin’ now?

 

Even worse than before. Oh boy. I wonder what time it is.

Dang it!

Ok, be cool, Mike. Even though you can’t hear yourself think over the screaming, it’s not personal. It’s probably just colic (side note: yeah, KJ is colicky).  

I know. Gentle bouncing and some singing! I haven’t tried that yet.

B-b-b-bounce wit’ me, bounce wit’ me!

It’s working! The crying is easing up.

Now let’s bust out some jams. What do you want me to sing? Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or Bad and Boujee, by Migos?

What? I saw them on the Ellen Show, so it must be totally kid appropriate.

 

Migos you say? Oh, I know you can’t talk, but I’ll pretend you said that.

Raindrops, drop tops –

 

Hey, stop looking for Mommy. She can’t save you now. Haha. Fine, no more trap music.

Yo, if you’re content, do you mind if I watch a little bit of TV? I’d like to check out Riverdale.

 

Don’t look at me like that. It’s not just for teens!

Anyway, it requires my full attention. Some peace and quiet so I can hear the dialogue would be great, mmkay? Thanks.

Didn’t even make it through the opening credits. Oh well.

No offense, but you stink.

No really, did you poop?

You sure did. Diaper change it is.

How’s that feel?

You’re still crying, so I guess not good enough.

Are you hungry?

Here, try the bottle again. Mmm, yummy, right?

Not right?

You want the real thing, don’t you? You’re going to keep crying until you get some boob in your mouth, even though you know my boobies ain’t milky?

Is…..is that a SMILE? Do you enjoy messing with me or something?

Hardy har har, dude. Hardy har har.

That escalated quickly.  Ok, well if you keep crying for that boob, then I’m going to hum Bad and Boujee! How do you like them apples!?

Wait. Why am I negotiating with a baby?

Look, Mommy will be up soon, so just chill.

You’re not chilling.

What time is it, anyway?

Oh, I hear Mommy’s alarm.  Sweet.

She’s coming downstairs!

 

Are you serious!?

Now, you’re tired?

All of that crying must have worn you out.

This was fun, but I’m going to bed. Goodnight, lil man. See you tomorrow, when we can create some more beautiful moments together!

 

A C Section Procedure Story

Announcement time!

The other day, we welcomed another member into the Daddy Realness family.  Our baby boy KJ was born! If I do say so myself, he’s a pretty chill, happy lil dude.

Now, like his siblings B and J,  KJ was brought out of K by a C section procedure.  Coincidentally, as one of the world’s preeminent dad bloggers, a subject which I am constantly asked about is that of Caesarean sections.

Ha. Just playin’.

Nothing in that sentence is remotely true. However,  as someone who’s seen three of them, I figured that I can at least tell you what C sections are like, from a dad’s perspective.

Check out this timeline of events, for KJ’s birth:

3:30AM: Wakeup time. K’s surgery is for 8:00AM, but we were told to be at the hospital at 5:00AM, for prep stuff.  Because the hospital’s parking garage had flooded the night before, we wanted to get there early, in case the parking situation was  still a mess. We got dressed, said bye to K’s mom (who was sleeping over to take B and J to school that morning), grabbed K’s hospital bag, and hit the road.

4:50AM:  We checked in at the labour ward. While there, we were told that the hospital’s paperwork said that the C section was scheduled for 9:30AM, not 8:00. It had been switched without our knowledge! With no other choice but to accept the error, we were sent to a room, to wait.

During this period, I killed time by eating breakfast (K was not allowed to eat until after the surgery) and watching Jane The Virgin on Netflix. K played games on her phone and rested. We were both given hospital gowns/scrubs to change into. We also received frequent visitors. Nurses, doctors, the OBGYN and people doing studies all came by (shout out to the one nurse that was assigned to us and stayed until we left the recovery room later. She was amazing). K was heavily monitored, and had a bunch of tests done on her and the baby.  We also learned that, because of the messed up parking situation, the anesthesiologist was late, so we wouldn’t be going in at 9:30AM after all.

9:50AM: The nurse came in to tell us that we would be going in soon. She gave K a nasty-tasting medicine drink to chug, and told her to pretend that it was tequila. After a few more minutes of waiting, we were off to the surgery room.

10:10AM: Scratch that. K was off to the surgery room. The thing with being the significant other of someone going in for a planned C section is that you’re pretty much there for moral support only. Just be cool, stay out of the way and let your partner and the staff do their thing. The hospital that we were at didn’t even let me in the surgery room immediately with K.

And you know what? That’s all good in my books.

I’d most likely freak out and barf or faint or something, listening to the nurses slicing K up. Tending to me clearly is not staying out of the staff’s way.

Anyway, I was told to wait in the hall, and eventually I would be called into the room, after the C section procedure was well underway. During this time, I did what any bored husband would do – took sexy selfies of myself in scrubs!

10:30AM: Yours truly was called in. During a C section, your partner lies on a table, arms spread out. By the time that you get there, a  big curtain was put up by their chest, so they/you can’t see what’s going on.  On this day, I entered the room on the wrong side of the table, though. Maybe you’re into seeing your spouses insides on the outside, but not me. Sticking to the routine that I did during our previous two births,  I power walked to the stool the nurses had for me (near K’s head) with my eyes closed.

I remember thinking during K’s first C section that it kind of sounded like a construction site, with all the buzzing and whirring. KJ’s was more serene, however. Besides the odd squishy noise, there wasn’t too much to make you squeamish.

10:40AM: Remember what I said about not getting in the way? I thought K was turning red and blue, which I blurted out to the nurses. This of course made K scared, which is the last thing you want during a surgery.

Oops!

The nurses calmly reassured us that nothing was out of the ordinary. K turning bluer than Violet Beauregard (word to Charlie And the Chocolate Factory!) was apparently no biggie.

10:50AM:  After some final pulling, KJ enters the world! He showed off an impressive set of lungs, too, screaming his little face off as he exited the womb. I  then got to have some fun. I snapped pictures of KJ, incorrectly guessed his weight when the nurse put him on the scale, cut the umbilical cord (note: it’s rubbery and bloody), and held him for the first time. While the doctors worked on putting K back to together, I sat with KJ by her.  We were both feeling relieved. A healthy child really is a miracle, and having a third C section successfully isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

11:05AM: I’m kicked out of the room. I ain’t gots to go home, but I gots to get the heck up out of there.

Kidding!

For real, though, I was kicked out of the room, and told go wait in recovery, while they put the final touches on closing up K. I was also allowed to change out of my scrubs, though. The nurses wheeled K and KJ into the recovery room about 15 minutes later.  Over the next while, it was a blur of tests and visits again. K was finally able to get to hold our son during this time. KJ got to experience the joys of breast milk for the first time, too.

1:00PM: We were on the move again. For the remainder of the stay, we would be in a hospital room. In our case,  it was a private room, as opposed to a semi-private one (so more space, no roommates, and our own bathroom).  The surgery really took its toll on K, as she was in a lot of pain. I tried to tend to her and KJ as best I could, when the nurses weren’t around.

4:00PM:  B and J arrived, to raise all kinds of chaos, and to meet their lil bro for the first time!

7:00PM: As much as I would have loved to stay the night, reality didn’t allow it. B and J had school the next day, and overnight babysitters on a weeknight are a rare commodity. I had to leave, to take the kids home. I know one nurse did kind of throw shade our way about this, which made me feel guilty. If our situation was different, of course I would have hung around. Regardless, K and KJ were in great hands at the hospital,  I would be back the next morning, and after a long, exhausting day, I looked forward to a good night’s sleep in my own bed.

11:00PM: However, before that good night’s sleep, I had one more daddy duty. Tis the season for elves on the shelves. When we got home from the hospital, B and J decided that day, of all days, to write letters to our elf, which I had to help them with.  J was concerned about if she was going to get Shopkins for Christmas; B  wondered about Pokemon cards, and the elf’s magic powers.

The thing was, they expected the elf to write them back! They knew my handwriting, so I had to think outside the box. When they eventually fell asleep, I thought about it, and ended up thinking inside the box (of Cheerios, that is):

Yes, the elf gave them the unexpected John Cena treatment.  I jammed that cheeky, meme-loving elf in the box of Cheerios, too, for dramatic effect.

What?

Like I said, it was a long day. Also,  I’m clearly not very creative when it comes to elves on the shelves.

Afterwards, I hit the sack, to put a wrap on this long, incredible day.

And that’s what a C section is like from dad’s viewpoint. If you don’t know, now you know.

Until next time, later y’all!

 

 

 

 

The Finish Line

“They say the death of a loved one remind you of yourself, don’t it? Knowing you could be next at any given moment.” – Keith Murray, Child Of The Streets

My mind ain’t right this week. Figured I’d just start writing here, and see how it goes.

My mom passed away a couple of days ago, and it’s something which has not fully set in with me yet.  I don’t know if it ever will. The idea of someone who has always just been there for me, no longer being there, is surreal. I spent a good chunk of today gutting her place. As we went through her stuff, so many good memories came flooding back. I can’t believe that there will be no new memories with her.

Let me back things up a bit.

My mom had to be admitted to the hospital in January, because of a myriad of ailments. Eventually, after numerous tests and scans, I received a call at work from a doctor at the hospital, saying that they had some news about my mom’s health, but it had to be told in person.  When I arrived, the doctor and his staff dropped the bombshell on us – my mom had incurable liver cancer. My mom, who was normally a stoic, cool cat, burst into tears upon hearing this news. At the time,  between that death sentence shocker, and my mom’s uncharacteristic reaction, I thought it was the worst moment of my life.

But here’s the thing with cancer – it sucks huge.

As bad as that moment was, over the next nine months, there were so many other equally awful ones. She put up a hell of a fight til the end, but cancer wiped her out, and deteriorated her to the point that she was a shell of her former self.

She spent months taking chemotherapy, usually with me by her side (god bless the nurses who work in those places, by the way. The range of people getting treatment, in age and stages of cancer, made me numb just watching. I don’t know how the staff in the chemo ward we were at constantly maintained such a sunny disposition). Once her chemo sessions ended, she had to have follow up testing.

The results?

The cancer in her liver hadn’t gotten any worse…..but it had spread to her bones, and brain.

From there, it got to the point where her bones were too weak for her to stand for an extended period of time, which made it unsafe for her to be by herself at home. So it was back to the hospital, but this time, in the long term care section.  After more testing, we once again received a call from a doctor saying that they had some news for us which had to be given in person.  The news was terrible – there was nothing else that could be done, and my mom only had a couple of months to live.

This was three weeks ago, by the way, so clearly the prognostication was a bit off.

My mom passed away peacefully and suddenly in her sleep. I went to the hospice that she was at the night before she died, and had a normal, uneventful visit.  I’m feeling a lot of stuff right now, but guilt is at the top of the list. If I had known that the finish line was so near for her, I would have stayed by her side all night.

I should have stayed with her.

She was a pretty active woman, too, man. Shoot, I remember in January, she came over and played basketball with B. Then, less than a year later, she couldn’t walk or speak coherently on a consistent basis, because of the stupid cancer which ravaged her body.

If you or a loved one have ever dealt with this disease, then you know my story isn’t unique.

If you haven’t dealt with it, then consider yourself blessed.

Since this website is basically a keepsake for my kids to read in the future (hopefully a future that is cancer-free), I’m going to wrap this up by saying something to them:

B and J, your grandma loved you guys more than anything in the world. Even though you didn’t get to spend a lot of years with her, the moments that she spent with you meant everything to her.

Peace out y’all.

Always tell your parents that you love them, because you never know when they might not be around to hear it.

20161027_230242-2

 

The Shot Remix

A few months ago, I told y’all about The Shot a.k.a. that time when B requested that I hit him a foul ball, and, despite severely lacking any baseball skills, I somehow did it. Well, all good stories deserve a sequel.  Today, I’d like to tell you about the time recently when B called his shot.

Lemme set the scene. It was a clear black night, a clear white moon (word to Warren G!). Me and B were on the street…..walking to the Rogers Centre. I had scored a pair of wicked, first row seats to a Toronto Blue Jays – Baltimore Orioles game, which B had been excited for weeks about. He was going to stay up late on a school night to eat junk food, watch the Jays up close, and, most importantly, he was going to catch a foul ball!

Wait, what?

You see, in his mind, catching a foul ball at a recreational, co-ed three-pitch game is cool…..but snagging one at an actual Major League Baseball game is way cooler. So,  leading up to it, B  had been nonchalantly mentioning that he was going to catch one. Not hoped to. Not wanted to. He was GOING to. The day before the game, at school, he even drew a picture, and wrote (I’m paraphrasing here. I don’t remember the exact words.)  “I’m going to the Blue Jays game tomorrow.  I’m going to catch a ball.”

Now, we’ve seen the Jays play in person several times, but B had never made such a bold proclamation before.  Accordingly, I tried to temper his expectations. The stadium would be near capacity (close to 50,000 people).  Say 40 balls end up going into the stands. The odds of us getting one just weren’t very good. Nonetheless, B remained unfazed. As a parent, you hate to see your kids be disappointed about anything, especially when their hearts are set on it. However, if they are undeterred in spite of your opinion,  then what can you do? Make no mistake about it, B was undeterred.

So what happened?

20160928_185526-1

At the game, B spent the better part of five innings in a ready position. That is, whenever a ball was hit, he would jump up and raise his baseball glove, in preparation to catch a pop fly. While several foul balls whizzed by, none landed close to our general vicinity. Regardless, he was wasn’t worried. His only concern was the possibility of getting hurt if he didn’t get his glove up fast enough, when a ball came to him.

In bottom of the sixth, the Jays’ catcher, Russell Martin, came to the plate.  After a pitch or two, he ripped a foul ball down the first base line, right towards our section. Once it neared the stands, a man reached over and grabbed it. He then turned to B, and pointed the ball at him . While B stared at the guy, dumbfounded,  I held my hand up, and he tossed me the ball. To make it official, I then flipped it up to B, who happily caught it. The look on B’s face after was priceless.  Unsurprised disbelief turned all the way up probably describes it best. He said that he would do it, and, against all odds, he did it. B called his shot. He caught a foul ball!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty pessimistic dude. Children, however, aren’t so jaded. In their eyes, as Kevin Garnett said, anything is possible. When a kid makes a crazy statement like they’re going to catch a foul ball at a jam-packed stadium, maybe we, as adults, shouldn’t be haters. There really is something to thinking a big idea, telling yourself that you are going to make it a reality, and then making it a reality. It’s something we all probably should do more of.

OK, real talk over. Later, peeps.

Go catch a foul ball or something, will ya?

 

20161010_191020

A pic of the ball. Despite what B says, RA Dickey did not sign it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Guide To My Father’s Day Gifts

It’s Father’s Day season!

That time of the year where dads everywhere are shown some love. Now, for many of us, that love is in the form of presents. Beautiful, glorious gifts, straight from the hearts of those who appreciate us the most.  In our household, the kiddos wanted to hook me up nice. They put in work, making some sweet gifts for their old man, which they are dying to show me.

So let’s get to it!

Yo, B and J, come here. Can I please see what you’ve created? Alright J, you first. What do you got?

20160620_221403

Amazing artwork! I love them. You did these all by yourself? Wow, your penmanship is spectacular for a four year old.

Oh, what’s that?

You got me a medal, too? For being the World’s Greatest Dad? I didn’t even know that I was in the running this year for it.

Yes, of course, I’ll put it on!

20160621_211021

I’d like to thank my family, the Academy, and my fellow nominees, and…..sorry, let’s get back on track.

B, what did you make?

20160620_220743

Homemade BBQ rub! Yum! What’s your secret recipe?

Spicy peppers and sugar?

Delicious. Can’t wait to try it! Oh, you made some artwork, too? Sweet!

20160620_220906

A family portrait? Well done! Very true to life, right down to my bald head!

20160620_220839

A picture of us in our house.  Looks like there’s a party up in here, up in here! Word to DMX! What do you mean, who’s DMX?

Anyway, what are you doing?

Playing basketball? Cool.

Where am I going?

To play basketball? Yikes. The party must have been pretty lame.

You wrote a note, too? Aww, how sweet!

20160620_220929

“Mom makes me happy. You make a great mom.”

Well, that’s a lovely thing to say about Mommy. I really was hoping, since its Father’s Day and all, that the note would have been for me, though….

Hey, is someone cutting onions? My eyes are starting to water.

Oh, you did make me one, too!

Thanks, B! I can’t wait to see it!

20160620_221006

Whoa. What did you try to say here?

“Shake your booty booty booty booty in daddy’s face. I hope you had a stinking Father’s Day.”

Son of a B!

WTF, dude. Stop giggling! Butts in the face are NOT a laughing matter.

Well this didn’t go as planned. As usual.

Time to wrap it up.

B, go to your room.

J, come listen to the rest of my acceptance speech for my World’s Greatest Dad award.

Happy Father’s Day, y’all.

20160620_220952

Super Dad? Thanks, B!

We The North, He The Mouth

north

 

This post goes out to hoopsheads everywhere, and their little hoopsheads!

Now, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a basketball fan. I  was never much of a player, but I sure could watch a mean game of ball. Anyway, since my kids were little, I’ve been looking forward to the day when I could share my enjoyment of hoops with them. Luckily for me, that day came sooner than anticipated.

B’s six years old, and he’s turned into quite the little baller. If he’s not playing basketball, then he’s talking about it, especially all things NBA related.  While that part has been “like father, like son,” I’ve also realized that his perspective on the game is sometimes not like mine at all.

Because they’re the local team, I’ve watched many Toronto Raptors games with my buddies over the years, either on TV or in person. We have a beer or two, cheer the Raps on, talk some trash, and shoot the breeze about whatever. Good times.

When I watch games with B, though, it’s still good times,  but the discussions are….

Different.

Not bad, of course. Just random. The mind of small kid is a scary place, for real.

Here, let me give you an example. Game Two of the NBA playoffs. Toronto Raptors versus Miami Heat. Myself, B and our stuffed Raptors mascot……

20160505_220151_HDR

settle in to catch the action. The following conversations took place:

⊕ B thinks that I am like Human Google, and if I don’t have an answer, then actual Google knows all. When told that one of the commentators, Alvin Williams, used to play in the NBA, B wanted to know how many buzzer beaters he made.  Not surprisingly, this stat is hard to find. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know.

⊕  During the pre-game introductions:

B – “Daddy? Is that Miami’s coach?! Where’s he from? What colour is he?

I’m at a loss for words, as I’ve never thought about Erik Spoelstra’s heritage before.

Spoelstra_presents_President_Obama_the_team_trophy

I wonder if Spoelstra gets asked about his background as much as Obama does.

⊕ A few months ago,  I made the mistake of telling B that my least favorite NBA player was Joe Johnson (What? He’s a Raptor killer). Every time Johnson got the ball during the game, B cheered wildly, to spite me.

⊕ More human Googling:

B – “Has Norman Powell played against every team?”

Me – “I don’t think so.”

B – “What teams hasn’t he played?”

*At this point, I called an audible. Rather than spending the next several minutes cross-referencing Norman freakin’ Powell’s game log, I recanted my prior answer.*

Me – “Wait! He has played against every team!”

B – “He has? Even Golden State?”

Me – “Yeah!”

I figured that would be it. But B had one more, head-scratching question:

B – “What time did he play Golden State at? What minutes?”

Sigh. Moving on….

⊕ With about a minute and a half left in the first quarter, B started to get excited about possibly seeing his favorite play – a buzzer beater. He started chanting “Buzzer beater!” As the clock counted down, he added a weird, nasaly, Russian accent to his chant. Alas, no buzzer beater was made.

⊕  If you’re like me, you and your friends have probably discussed which players your favorite team should trade for. Fantasy general managing. B and I took a stab at it:

B – “Golden State should trade Steph Curry for Jonas Valančiūnas.”

Me – “That trade would never happen. Golden State would want more for their best player.”

B – “Like Bismack Biyombo?”

Me – “No. They would want a lot more. Like a team’s best player, or a bunch of really good players.”

B – “Oh. They should trade Steph Curry for Kobe Bryant.”

Me – “Why would they want someone who’s retired?”

B – “Curry for Lebron James!”

I couldn’t argue that one.

⊕  Later, the game showed a person in the crowd holding a sign which read  ‘Be Yourself, Lowry.’

B – “Well, who else would he be? He is Kyle’s Lowry!”

⊕ Even though the game was close, he went upstairs to his room, to shoot hoops on his mini net. He eventually wandered back down at halftime. He had two questions – was there a buzzer beater, and who took the last shot that wasn’t a buzzer beater.

⊕   Demarre Carroll dribbled to the basket, and nailed a layup.
Me – “Wow. Carroll usually just hits jump shots. He never drives.”
B –  “Yes he does! He has to drive.”
Me – “What do you mean?”
B – “Well, how does he get to games? He needs to drive a car to them!”
 Once again, I couldn’t argue that.

Read More

Loading...
X