Sunday morning I was listening to Bob Costas's syndicated radio show on Sports Radio WEEI (WVEI here in Western Mass) while taking my shower. The topic of discussion was rating the top "Where were you" moments I started thinking about some of these famous benchmarks. It is amazing how vividly the memories of where I was and what I was doing during these events are recalled. In addition to the major events of the past fifty years I thought up of some that were relevant to me, being a New England sports fan.
Here are some of both in no particular order:
I was watching the Today Show drinking coffee. It was one of those crystal clear early fall days with nothing but blue skies above. I went out to my yard to chip a few golf balls around. When I came back in, Katie Couric was reporting that there was a fire in the WTC that might have been cause by an aircraft hitting the building. As I was sitting down on my couch I saw a plane hit the other tower. I was confused as to why Matt and Katie weren't screaming like the dude who broadcasted the Hindenburg going down. I chalked it up to it being footage of the first plane hitting. I called my wife to inform her that the apocalypse was upon us. While relaying what little I knew of the situation the Today show crew belatedly informed us that a second plane had hit the other WTC tower, a full five minutes after I saw it happen live on their broadcast. I guess they had to confirm their sources. I tried to talk her into coming home so we could have sex one last time before the world ended. She saw through my ploy. Seconds after hanging up my buddy Billy came bounding through my door. "Man your stations, fire up the ICBM's, is your bunker fully stocked?" screaming like a madman. We spent the next hour flipping between CNN, MSNBC and Fox contemplating whether or not to take our annual golf trip scheduled for early November. Within two hours I put an American flag I remember having in my spare room on my mailbox in a spontaneous show of Patriotism.
First Man on the Moon
I was four years old and had just spent he day taping an episode of "Romper Room", a childrens TV show. I had a two week run on the show playing games, eating snacks and being a good "do bee". We were all pawns in "Ms. Jean's" (the jovial host of the show) happy-go-lucky world. The show was known for her looking into her mirror at the end of the show each day to see if you were a "do bee" or a "don't be". My claim to fame was calling Ms. Jean a bitch when she wouldn't give me more milk during snack time (I guess my parents had been fighting a lot that week). That tidbit must be on the cutting room floor. My Aunt, who was filming the show with her handheld Super8 was probably looking around for a "Doobie" after hearing that pop out. At home I was tuckered out, lying on the floor asleep when those grainy pictures of Armstrong made it onto the screen. My parents panned back and forth from the TV with history being made to me sleeping. Big whoop, its not like martians came down and said "take me to your leader" who would have been.......
I was visiting my Aunt Carol in Easthampton, Massachusetts which for a kid living in Boston might as well have been Missouri. It was the first time thinking that people in power don't stay there too long (unless your name is Ted Kennedy)
I was at Camp Howe in Goshen, MA waiting in line to go into our weekly dance when word spread through the line about the passing of the "King". The first song the DJ played that night was "Jail House Rock" the next was "Stairway to Heaven". We all thought that was soooo profound. I secretly thanked Elvis for inspiring the DJ to play a slow song so early in the night and enabling me to bury my face into Ann Rhoades chest (who was a year older and six inches taller) an hour earlier than I had planned.
Shuttle Challenger Explodes
I was on my girlfriend's couch making out with her. The newsflash broke into the soap opera she was watching during make out breaks. We looked at each other, shrugged and got back down to business.
I was at Northampton High baseball practice. I was on deck in a scrimmage. I was a sophomore trying to make varsity. The news came via a phys ed. instructor who came down to the field to tell the coach. Coach cancelled the rest of practice and sent everyone home. The next day the rosters came out and I was sent down to junior varsity on the last cut. If I had done something big during that at bat would I have made varsity? We all know the outcome. Hinckley was no DiNero. I was on JV. Regan recovered and his "trickle down economics" kept me below the poverty line until the early nineties.
I was there!! (I'll save this one for later)
Super Bowl XX
The highlight of that day was watching my 14 year old brother Greg puking all over my apartment trying to match my roommate and I beer for beer. He drank for two hours. He puked for about four. I remember telling him before he passed out for the night, the Patriots won 3-0 and that Tony Franklin was the MVP.
Super Bowl XXXI
I was semi-conscious when Desmond Howard put the nail in the coffin with his kick return. I was drinking some kind of concoction that my friend brought back from Puerto Rico that had twigs and berries and raisins in it. The next day was one of my top five hangovers.
Super Bowl XXXVI
I spent the first half of the game at my MR clients house cooking burgers and hoping the Pats could keep the game within the 17 points I got from my bookie. I got home midway trough the third quarter and for the first time thought the Pats could actually be Super Bowl Champs. I had cried over the Red Sox dozens of times in my life, but never the Pats. When Brady started making completions during that final drive I got goosebumps for the first time ever watching a Patriots game. When Vinateri sealed the deal I started welling up. My wife asked if I was crying, not believing what she was seeing. I sheepishly squeaked, "yes". I know she was thinking "Why did I marry such a pussy".
Super Bowl XXXVIII
Watched the game at my sister-in-law's house. I put my 10 month old son Matt in a Patriots outfit and gorged myself on wings. No Booze. A.V. once again.
Super Bowl XXXIX
I spent most the game playing with my son. He fell asleep by halftime. No booze. I am officially grown up..... Yeah, right.
Game 6 1975
My mother let me stay up to watch all thirteen innings on a crappy 13 " black and white we had in our bedroom, as long as I kept the volume off (as to not wake up my two sleeping brothers). When Fisk started his dance up the first baseline I got goosebumps for the first time ever watching a sporting event. I've got them now while I write.
I ran home from school. I bounded through the door; my mother was watching the game. I sat down to watch and Yaz was up. They were doing a split screen of a Yaz interview and his at bat. He cranked one and before the ball landed I was calling my friend Rich Stewart, a Yankees fan, to rub it in. Two hours later, seconds after Yaz popped weakly to third my phone was ringing. I didn't pick up.
Game 6 1986
My wife had gone to a wedding with her Mom and her mom's boyfriend with whom she lived. I had only been dating my wife for six months so I wasn't "family wedding date worthy" as of yet (and it could be argued that I'm still not). I stayed at their house with some Bud Light to keep me company. When the ball scooted through Billy B's bowed legs I chucked a beer at the wall above the TV. Luckily they were too liquored up when they returned to notice the stain on the wall. It dried by the next morning.
Game 5 ALCS 2004
I spent the afternoon golfing at Taconic in Williamstown. It was a cold, overcast October day in the Berkshires. After walking 18, Hiroshi (the owner of my home course) and I shared some "puff". Smoking pot for me is like playing Russian Roulette, I bug out one out of every six times. As we drove around Mount Greylock down Route 2 it felt as if the car was turning upside down. I got home and curled up into the fetal position. After an hour, the game came on. As the game progressed I started feeling better. When Big Papi singled home the game winning run I started to "Believe".
Game 4 2004 WS
I lay in bed sobbing uncontrollably when Foulke flipped the ball to Mientkiewicz. I was going to get my infant son Matt out of bed when there were two outs, but the water works were already starting; I was afraid I'd drop him. I fielded phone calls from my brother Greg and friend Eric while my wife slept next to me, peacefully.
April 29, 1986
This is my favorite. I had met my wife early in April of '86 when she was going to a Rush concert with my brother Mark and a few of his friends. I did a "packy" for them. I asked my brother about her, but they rushed out to see Rush. Over the next few weeks she kept showing up at the apartment (which was populated by eight of us that paid rent and many others that passed out there). My bro told me at some point that she liked me. We hung around, but not much happened, make out wise. The night of the 29th she was over to see me. My roommate Jeff was watching the Sox in the living room while we lounged on a chair in the backyard. The apartment was uncharacteristically quiet as Jeff and I were the only roomates home. It was that week in the spring when the buds turn to leaves and the smell of green was in the air. The backyard was dark and we shared some soft, thoughtful kisses. Every once in awhile I would hear a "wooooo" coming from the open window in the living room. I went over to the window and asked Jeff what was going on. He said that "the new kid Clemens was up to 14 strike outs". I alternated between the inviting chaise lounge and the flickering TV light in the window. I listened at the window as Ned Martin screeched "a new record!!". I excitedly ran back to the lounge to tell my wife to be. She mimicked my excitement. We lay together on the lounge. Everything in the world was perfect.