Silly Kid Dreams You Never Forget…

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As a kid, I loved baseball. I mean loved it. And based on my french neighbourhood in Pierrefonds, Quebec, I looked like that kid in the picture above. But it was cool because of how much I loved this sport! More than I loved the Lakers. So you know I’m serious:)

My friends and I would play for hours in the park, until it was dark outside and our parents were calling us in to come home. We looked like kids from the Sandlot or from the greatest Keanu Reeves movie EVER:

As you can imagine I was a huge Montreal Expos fan, even though our team sucked most of the time and our stadium looked like a really weird upside-down european version of the starship enterprise. See?

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Whether it was cheering Dennis Martinez, Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Pedro Martinez or others, it was about dem Expos and MAYBE the Jays, especially during the World Series days. While I never would have wanted to play professionally (the whole A, AA, AAA system was taxing on my young mind) I loved it.

Now? Not so much. Three main reasons:

1. There is no more Expos. Well, there is but they are the Washington Nationals. I no longer have a team to call my own. And while I live in Toronto and enjoy the Jays, it’s just not the same. The strike of 1994 completely destroyed my team and my thoughts there. (Though I JUST read this that brings me so hope. If it happened to the Jets of Winnipeg, why not La Belle Province?)

2. It’s too easy to predict. Only 10 teams could actually win it all every year. Boring. That’s no difference then cheering for Bron and the Heat.

3. Have you EVER watched a baseball game on TV?

That said, I still have one baseball dream that I want to confess to you:

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I want to visit Fenway Park in Boston, Mass cause I wanna watch the Red Sox play. And this dream was only heightened by the effects of last week’s horrendous attacks. Funny how even the silliest dreams return during times of tragedy. Even the selfish ones.

Why? It would be so stinking awesome! To sing “Sweet Caroline“, see the Green Monster and to work on my Bahston accent (Oh man, Big Bahpi’s wicked smahrt with his bat!)…too much fun. Right now, it’s an improbable dream (money, time, two kids under 4 who wouldn’t appreciate the trip) but still, I dream and wait until it’s possible. And one day, it’ll happen!

Now, I don’t know if that’ll reignite my heart for the game…too much has happened between us. But maybe, just maybe it’ll open up a door to reconciliation. Not saying “Move over Basketball and Football and the Olympics” but who knows…maybe it’ll come true.

And as a grown up, I hope that my willingness to hold on to this silly dream will inspire Liam and Ellie to do the same when they be grown.

Daht be Whicked Smaahrt.

Other dreams: Go to Europe, Go to Israel, See a live Lakers game IN LA, buy Wifey a really nice new engagement ring and a better wedding cake (she wasn’t a fan of the last one…)…more dreams to share…more to come…

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Life as a Fan Is TOUGH!

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Life as a fan is a bittersweet thing.

For one, you’re not the one on the field/ice/court taking the hit/shot/pass at the last second. Nope. You’re on your couch in your living room watching (and possibly imagining being in that situation yourself…OBVIOUSLY doing a better job…) and hoping for a win, while anticipating a loss.

Secondly, if you’re a big fan and people know it, when your team loses…your enemies will let you know it every time. For example: imagine cheering for a team like the Montreal Canadians in a city like Toronto…not fun when a loss takes place.

Lastly, if you’re a real fan, when your team (notice how we called them OUR team as if we’re partial owners?) loses can ruin your day (or night) and shake you up more than the actual players. Like, imagine being a fan of the Red Sox of Boston before they FINALLY won the world series. The people in Beantown would react to playoff loses like there was a death in the family. I remember when my favourite basketball team lost a championship game (worth the watch). I sat at the edge of my bed and sulked like a small child without a toy. I don’t have any ownership, any stake in them but MAN, I was rocked.

Now I know that we shouldn’t get caught up in things as these, as those who don’t have any cares for sports would say, but man I do. Each year. Hoping for wins, expecting some loses and looking forward to the next season.

Why talk about this? March Madness? Nope. Here’s why?

I am a fan of people! I work with students who I believe in whole heartedly and I can’t say that there haven’t been a few nights where I have sat on the edge of my bed heartbroken at a decision that a few have made. And while I have been heartbroken, I have been hopeful for “next season“, the next opportunity where they could do it right. And as a husband, there have been moments where I have led someone to sit on the edge of the bed, disappointed in me, hoping for the “next season.” Whether we know it or not, we’re all fans of someone…hopeful misfits, believing in a last second shot that’ll change the tide of someone’s existence.

Also: A real fan doesn’t jump off the bandwagon when their team loses year after year (or decision after decision). Instead, they keep on believing, risking their hearts, investing their time (and coin) and energy to hope, to dream and to one day celebrate in one of those championship parades.

And with everyone I have in my life, I hope to be able to do the same thing.

I am your BIGGEST fan!

P.S. Go Lakers, Canadians, Blue Jays (and since I no longer have the Expos…I guess the Nationals), 49ers (and sadly the Cowboys), Wolverines and Man City.

Question: Who are you believing in? Who is believing in you? How does this affect how we should live?

The LeBron Lessons (Learned Leadership, Spurned Sports fan)

I am not a LeBron James fan. Never have been. Thought he and Melo should have got co-Rookie of the Year awards (Bron had more assists but Melo had more boards AND took his team to the playoffs).

I think ‘Bron is an amazing athlete, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t drink the Kool-Aid like so many did and do. I’ve been a Laker fan since my dad showed me a basketball so naturally, I’m on Team KB24 (which probably plays into my disdain) but I notice when others are great (which is hard to think about someone like a Celtic getting my vote…but if you’re good, you’re good.) and that being said, LeBron IS great. I just don’t have to like that (unless I have him on my fantasy team, like a friend of mine does…).

ANYHOW…since June of this summer, Bron has been the subject of blogs, newspapers, NBA.com, Barbara Walters 10 most fascinating people and even a nominee for Time magazine’s person of the year (along with the miners from Chile, Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. People who ACTUALLY did stuff this year. Let that sink in…). While I’m not ‘hating’, I have learned some things while casually hoping for his team to fall apart (not as a mean person but as a fan of basketball who wants to see the C’s vs. the Show one mo’ time in June ’11).

1 – Your Legacy is ALWAYS being formed: There’s no going around it. Each day you’re building the case on whether or not you moved good things forward or backwards. There’s no pause button.

2 – How you finish a job will dictate how people talk about you forever: If I’m in a church and KILL IT with a huge group, miracles and the like, but have a moral failure, people will only remember the failure. Bron had seven great years in Cleveland but no one remembers that now, except for TNT who needs footage to add to the drama of a game or numbers to show His significance to Ohio. Most of us, especially hearybroken Cavs fans and pure fans of the game, remember The Decision, South Beach, the chalk powder and where we are now. Cleveland won’t remember the good times…only that they got ‘Maury’d’ (new verb, y’all!) on national television. And hell hath no fury like a sports fan scorned (hence the unfortunate chants of A__ ____in front of kids). Run n’ tell that.

3 – If you’re a leader, you can’t shift blame: If you get the ball and miss the shot, it’s no one’s fault but your own. Ownership is scares today (that’s why I’m not a fan of politics) and when you say things like ‘I spoil people with my play’, it’s an indication that you can’t deal with your own failures, at least to me. I did this once early in 2010 and decided I’ll never do it again. If I mess up, then I mess up.

4 – If you have to move, do it the right way: Shout outs to Roy Halladay for a full-page thanking TO for the love. Don’t just leave your APT and not tell your renter that you moved. Don’t just dramatically quit your job. If you can’t volunteer, don’t just NOT show up. Give your two weeks. Let them prepare. Do it right. How you leave says more about your maturity than you think. To his credit, Bron did say in his Heat/Cavs beat down post-game interview My intentions were on point. Maybe the execution just was a little off.” Hey, it’s a start.

5 – Nothing in life comes easy: Anything in life you really want, you gotta work hard for it. All three ‘superstars’ guarantee is high expectation, tougher judging and a sweeter victory when it’s earned. Sometimes you gotta suffer for year and take in real heartbreak (see the ’86 Red Sox) before finally taking it all (’04 Sox). I guess that why people in Miami have to Fan Up.

6 – Don’t talk about yourself in the 3rd person: Chase can’t stand that when people be like that. Chase thinks it should stop. Chase be feelin’ like it’s boastful. Chase believes Chase made his point. All Chase all day, yo!

7 – Choose your close friends wisely: Your friends may love you. They may even be really smart. But it doesn’t mean that every decision they make with you is the BEST one. They may actually be unintentionally hurtful in the long run (See Job and his three amigos in 42:7). They may say what you wanna hear. They may say what THEY wanna hear. Get people around you who will be honest with you when you mess it up but who do it in a way that reminds you that you’re loved.

and lastly, Redemption is STILL nigh: It’s been 6 months (June to Now), 20 games. The Heat may still win the chip this year (Oh GOD, that would kill me. But it’s still possible…anything is posssiiiibbbbbuuuuuuuuuuuuullllllllllleeeeaaaa!). And if not this year (there’s still the Champs, the C’s and the Spurs in the running), then NEXT year (pending the strike). But that’s not what I mean. LeBron can still fix his image, fix himself and be as great as we know he will be. No one is beyond making the right decisions, even after major failures…no one.  If Kobe could do it, entertainment-wise from ’05 to now…(5 years….), then anyone can. It’s work, time and earning trust from everyone. It’s realizing that people are booing you and deciding to either be the Pistons from the 80s who couldn’t care less OR anyone else.

The problem is, if you don’t think you’re ever wrong, then to you, you’re fine and this blog is a waste. And that’s the biggest Epic Fail of them all.

And that’s it. No more hating on LeBron. It’s actually really old now. Hate takes a LOT of work.

…Unless they win the chip…oh man, I already feel my heart dying.

P.S. Here’s a funny tidbit. On the Miami Heat, there is a dude named Joel Anthony. He’s their center. Signed a 3 year, 18 mil contract this summer. And we were on the same ball team together. In high school. A Private Christian School of 270 people. I was our leading scorer at 17. And he’s in the NBA today. Funny how life works (says Chase as he cries in the fetal position.). What up Joel, holla at your boy, way to rep MTL and make that gwap!