One would think that after nine years that it would get easier and yet it only gets a bit more tolerable. My father was my best friend and the person that got me into New Jersey Devils hockey in the first place. I would not be writing about sports of any kind, especially hockey, if it was not for him. For anyone that knows me, this is a very tough time of year but the love of this sport warms my heart even on the most gloomy of days and nights.
My dad passed away November 20th, 2004 at 6:02 pm and after that, life was just not the same for a long time. The reality is that it never will be. I think back to the first home games of the New Jersey Devils and watching my dad pay less than ten dollars for a ticket. Parking was a $1.00. That is not a misprint. The Devils would beat the New York Rangers that night but the memories were what still holds true in my heart. Concessions were affordable and it was a different time.
What My Father Still Means To Me
The world is not enough sometimes to cure the heartache of someone who has lost a loved one. Now it is true that time heals all wounds but there are always moments. Often a moment can cause a variety of emotions, some expected and some unexpected. It can often be the tiniest detail or that minor thing most would miss. Seemingly, my dad would always find those gems in life. Yes he would get mad at us kids but the love and patience he had with us probably resonated with me the most since I was the youngest. Maybe it just took me a little longer to realize it.
Personally, I can never thank him enough for all the lessons he taught me. That is why every Thanksgiving has become “Thanks To Dad Day”. For a number of years, the Phoenix Coyotes would play the New Jersey Devils the night before “turkey day” and there would be my father and I sitting downstairs as the clock came close to midnight watching the Devils. That was a tradition that went right with the holiday. Hockey and Thanksgiving just went together for me because I had so much to be thankful for.
A few last words…..
I always will be thankful too. My only hope is that in my time here writing hockey or in life that I display a fraction of what made him so great. The amazing thing is my father literally walked around almost always with a smile on his face. Laughably, I would swear he was the happiest man on this Earth and maybe I was right. His wealth was never money but it was his family, his love of sports, and his love of the New Jersey Devils.
If I had one thing to say to him, it would probably be the following.
“Thank you for being the best father I could ever ask for. I love you and let’s go Devils. I will always miss you.”
Remember him always. Yes, I always will.