Think you've had a good week?
We are in sports nirvana here in New England with ghosts being exorcised in the Bronx last Wednesday night and the Patriots setting an all-time, regular season consecutive win record. How can it get any better?
Easy. You could trade places with me.
You see, my wife and I had been trying to have a baby for quite some time without any luck. Then last year, after some initial good news, our hopes were dashed. Not only were they dashed but the real kick in the teeth was that it happened on the same day as the heartbreaking game seven loss to the Yankees in the ALCS. It was the worst day of my life for a number of complicated, awful reasons.
The next day I woke up and the sun was shining and we started the long, painful process of moving on. Whether it was planting two tulips in the back garden under a little ornamental sign that said "Love Grows Here" or buying two small pumpkins for the front steps to help memorialize the twins, we started to move on.
Slowly, we both started to get our feet under us. Then, as if in exchange for a lifetime of loyalty, the Patriots started ripping off wins to put me into a good mood. And then they made the playoffs. And won an AFC Championship. And then another last second, exhilarating Super Bowl win and a championship parade to go along with it.
A few weeks later, in late February we got the good news that my wife and I had been waiting for since last October. And this time, the other shoe didn't drop. Everything looked great.
Like in a movie, we were able to tell my grandmother the terrific news just before she passed away in March.
Through the spring, summer, and this fall the Red Sox and Patriots kept me on top of the world as Mrs. Rousseau started to waddle and get a bigger and bigger tummy.
And then, last week happened to me.
If you are blessed, maybe a week like I had comes along once in your lifetime.
We entered the hospital last Monday night and waited. And watched the Sox win game five. Nothing happened all day Tuesday and we tuned in game six that night. As Derek Jeter started a Yankee rally in the eighth, my wife yelled out "Oh." I said "Oh, yeah I agree. Here we go, again." But she replies "No. I mean OH!"
If you ever needed proof that God has a sense of humor, look no further than Him putting my wife into labor during the decisive eighth inning of game six of the ALCS. Talk about information overload. You try coaching your wife as she goes into labor while praying that A-Rod gets called out for his chincey little stunt. Not easy, my friends.
Jacob Fuller Rousseau entered the world a few hours later in the early morning hours of a day that we will forever remember in these parts: October 20, 2004. Later that day, Jacob slept in my arms and watched years of heartache in his father wash away as the Red Sox did the unimaginable and beat the Yankees in historical, shocking fashion. As Alan Embree got Ruben Sierra to ground out, I looked down to him and said "Jacob, you've done it. You've reversed the curse!"
A few days later, Jacob, my father, and I watch the Sox take game one of (somebody pinch me) the World Series. Then the next day, Jacob witnesses the Patriots set the official, all-time regular season consecutive win record.
Not a bad first week at the office, huh?
These are the days that remind you why you spend so much of your time watching your beloved Patriots and Red Sox. Following these teams over the years is the bookmark for the different events, people, and eras that pass through our lives. Perhaps, during game seven, you thought of your Grandmother as you caught yourself rocking back and forth with your hands folded just like she used to do when she watched the Sox. It was then that I knew she was with us during this special time.
Maybe you think back to lining up the stars and getting tickets to Super Bowl XXXVI. And then you remember the look on your father's face as the clock hits zero and the confetti starts to fall in the Louisiana Superdome. Or perhaps you will forever remember the image of your brother looking like Han Solo in Hoth gear while seated in the upper deck during the Titans playoff game last January. What about hugging your best friend in celebration as you meet up with him along Route One after snowy Patriot playoff victories against the Raiders and then the Colts a few years later? Or just maybe, (true story) you recall trying to study for your calculus final in the bleachers of Fenway Park on a May night in 1993 and, as luck would have it, the lights go out. As the crowd goes bananas, your roommate Dwight says to you the all-time classic line of "Not your ideal studying conditions, huh?"
So over the coming days, months, and years, heed my advice and remember who you watched these games with. Remember the little events that make these times special and mark the moments with the people that matter to you most.
Try as you might, you won't remember every little detail of every little moment you have with these people while watching the Red Sox or Patriots. It's been said that time has a way of dulling the sharpness of our memories. You won't remember every hit, third-down conversion, or double play. But I guarantee you that what will matter most to you years from now aren't these things but the people you shared them with.
They are the ones who matter.
If you need proof, just ask me, my wife or Jacob.
And even if you somehow had a better week than I did, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at [email protected].
Don't forget to check me out at 8:20 on Friday mornings on Bangor, Maine's sports radio leader, WZON 620 "The Zone." You can listen over the internet at www.zoneradio.com This column also appears in the Waterboro (ME) Reporter, the Twin City Times (Lewiston/Auburn, ME), the American Journal (Westbrook, ME), the Current (Scarborough/Cape Elizabeth/South Portland, ME), and the Lakes Region Suburban Weekly (Windham, ME).
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