<
>

The key to communication between my father and me is the Toronto Blue Jays

In honor of National Poetry Month, espnW is running a weekly poem on influential female athletes and women in sports.

october 23, 1993

game six of the world series.

bottom of the ninth,

joe carter stands ready to knock down the door of home plate

with a full count behind him.

my father is at the edge of his pulse.

my eyes are two full moons

watching my father.

my father's eyes are two mirrors

reflecting joe carter back to the tv.

...and swing and...my father jumps,

picking me up

as if i were the world series trophy,

there i am glowing golden between his hands.

1993

the last time toronto saw a world series

and

the year of my parent's divorce.

to my father

there are only two seasons;

the on and off season

of major league baseball.

every other weekend during the on season

was a weekend at Dads

this meant

fresh bagels,

garden-plucked mint for Moroccan tea,

my brother challenging the kettle -- who could scream the loudest,

but we were calm as cold popcorn kernels

the minute we heard the click of the radio:

"good afternoon sports fans,

what a beautiful day it is today

for some blue jays baseball."

most of the time, we sat around a puzzle

or our lazy bones on the couch all afternoon

while the innings pitched the hours.

on the roof of my heart there is an antennae that only picks up AM590.

there is something so capable about the sound of a voice.

the way it lights words to pictures behind our eyelids.

the way it shows us everything we cannot see.

watching entire baseball games with our eyes closed.

how i can see the sound of the crack

as baseball collides bat

how magnificent.

october 14th, 2015

game five

american league division series

bottom of the seventh

an entire stadium...shoot,

an entire city

is cheering.

my city was cheering.

i was cheering

my eyes

two lonely planets reflecting

my own reflection in the television screen

back at me.

my father lives in california now.

it's been 13 years since we've had an on season.

thirteen years of struggling to get back to the pedestal we once stood upon.

we have lost our footing many times,

falling short of our sometimes impossible expectations.

i have finished many seasons wondering

when the day might come

that i can pull out my blue jays jersey from the depths of my closet

and once again wear the last name written across the back of it,

the one my father gave me,

with pride.

the relationships we have with our parents are not unlike the relationship a team has with it's city.

when we are losing our nerves to frustration, we don't want to talk about it,

but when our laughter brings us up out of our seats,

when we are a series of smiles,

we sweep nothing under our tongues,

definitely not our enthusiasm.

this past year, my father & i spoke more than ever.

he would remind me

that when i was six,

i crushed on roberto alomar in the same

gushy fashion i crush on kevin pillar now.

i giggle at my dad's bizarrely accurate emoji reactions to foul plays

when we text,

while we both listened to the game

on radio's,

in our respective houses,

In two separate countries.

it is the closest we have ever been.

the key to communication between my father and i is the toronto blue jays.

so consider this a thank you, to the 2015 blue jays roster,

for reminding us of the magic that occurs when the people of a city #comeTOgether

and for helping my father and i

find one another in the dark, the only thing required is our voices.

i often re-watch the bat flip, and every time, right before jose swings,

i close my eyes.

Sabrina Benaim was part of the 2014 Toronto Poetry Slam team which was crowned national champions this past October in Victoria, BC at the Canadian Festival Of Spoken Word. Her poems float along the spectrum of love, pain, identity and Beyonce.