I didn’t owe her the call; we had broken up a while ago. But once, in 1992, another former girlfriend called me to tell me she was getting married and she didn’t want me to hear about it elsewhere. This was in the days before Facebook and Twitter — I really didn’t know where I would hear about their union other than from her, but I guess she felt it was standard procedure to inform me of such. (As an afterward in that marriage, she was a vegetarian and he was a Texas cattle farmer. The thing didn’t last long. Who couldn’t see that demise coming?)
I felt I should pay that concept forward and called this girl during the Bruins-Maple Leafs hockey game.
Toronto had a 4-1 lead halfway through the third period and seemed poised to win the series. I thought I was safe in making the call.
But two things happened. One, the girl began reviewing my mishaps in our past relationship and I, not wanting to miss a chance for a post game interview, asked her about my issues. And, two, Boston began their amazing comeback.
The conversation went something like this:
HER: You just weren’t motivated enough.
ME: I thought I was okay and ... holy #@*! Lucic just scored.
HER: You weren’t focusing on the right things.
ME: Yeah, well ... Ohhh, Bergeron tied it up!
My attention was diverted. The post game with her was put on hold and I watched as Boston made their miraculous comeback. Priorities, you know.
Sports has always been a vital part of my life. Maybe too much so. It sometimes enters my everyday world and I’ll say things sports-related out of context for the situation.
For example, when I finish writing a story for the newspaper where I work I will revert to a sports phrase when my editor calls to ask if it’s in. I’ll acknowledge that I filed the story and then add, “Scores and highlights in a moment,” in a nod to former KMOX broadcaster Jack Buck, who would say that each time a St. Louis Cardinals’ game was over.
As deadline approaches on a news story, I’ll say the cliche, “It’s the bottom of the ninth and there’s two on and two out.”
I once told a girl when our relationship hit that dead zone between tolerance and eminent breakup that she was “treating me like yesterday’s box score.” She didn’t get the baseball reference. But on the same token, I didn’t get to continue the relationship.
So, I generally remain on the fringe of the normal world, trapped in sports land and uttering things that really don’t make much sense in realm of what’s going on.
But it’s sports and it’s familiar territory for me.
Looking back now, I’m sorry I blew that post game interview, but it was Game 7 and there was no tomorrow, the winner advances and the loser goes home and we had our backs against the wall and ...