In honor of the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup championship and Father's Day on Sunday, ESPN.com editor Kaitee Daley wrote the following letter to her father, a devout Boston sports fan.
When my BlackBerry buzzed on Wednesday night, moments after bearded Bruins formed a celebratory man-hug around Tim Thomas, I knew it was you. It was you trying to talk over KG's "Anything is possible!!" in 2008. You verbally slobbering over rookies Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury when the Sox swept the Rockies in '07. You offering up your classic high-five-into-a-hug when the Pats won their third Super Bowl in four seasons my senior year of high school. (Did we talk after The David Tyree Experience? I think we were both still in shock.) And you welling up over the end of that little 86-year drought in 2004.
For a father-daughter duo that has always shared a unique bond with Boston sports teams, I'd say we've had a pretty good run. So it's only fitting that the holy trilogy of Boston sports championships be completed a few days before Father's Day.
I remember pawing through Dr. Seuss' "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?" as a kid. You taught me that being a Red Sox fan was a lot like watching the bee watcher-watcher who watched the bee-watcher who watched the bee. You cautioned me that putting faith in Antoine Walker's shimmy and Walter McCarty's baseline 3 was like Professor de Breeze trying to teach Irish ducks to read Jivvanese. And not even Dr. Seuss could come up with analogies that fit your description of the Patriots and Bruins.
In a twisted way, it was fun to be a part of a bandwagon with rickety wheels. Tickets were cheaper. The dreaded "Pink Hats" seemed few and far between. And we always had next year.
Then everything changed. And we were there to see the turning point.
The first Patriots game you brought me to happened to be the one where Jets linebacker Mo Lewis drilled Drew Bledsoe into hospitalization. For a while, it seemed as though we made the four-plus-hour drive from the northernmost point in Vermont to witness that traitor Curtis Martin score a game-deciding touchdown. Tom Brady? Who was this Tom Brady guy? Little did we know that we were witnessing the origin of a stunning Super Bowl run. No matter how extravagant your Super Bowl parties, Dad, nothing will top that year.
And nothing brings a smile to my face quicker than thinking back to when we watched Keith Foulke carefully toss the ball over to Doug Mientkiewicz to officially reverse the curse a few years later. With only the pain of Aaron Boone's homer to erase, I was in sports fan utopia with you.
The wheels got stronger on our bandwagon, but I knew enough to appreciate the moment and anticipate the potholes. Between practice, homework and college applications, watching games with you was my constant. Tommy Heinsohn and Jerry Remy could have been my grandfathers. And I never wanted it to end.
Now the Stanley Cup is riding shotgun in duck boats and I'm one of those spoiled 20-something-year-old Boston sports fans who doesn't know what it's like to not be in contention. Fair enough. As Dr. Seuss would say, there are people that are muchly much-much more unlucky than me.
But looking back on all the recent success, I can honestly say that it isn't about the actual wins as much as it is our continued opportunity to bond over them. Words can't explain what those little postgame phone calls mean to me.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. There's nowhere I'd rather be than somewhere with you, taking in a game. Or a parade.
Kaitee Daley is an editor at ESPN.com and the proud owner of two of the most obscure Boston collectibles in the world: Carlos Baerga's autograph (Red Sox 2002) and a Shammond Williams Celtics jersey.