Almost two years to the day before Roy Halladay just pitched a fargle bargling no-hitter in the NLDS, the Phillies opened the League Championship Series by hosting, and beating, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cole Hamels continued what was to become a storied postseason performance, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell hit home runs just about as we were starting to get nervous in the bottom of the sixth, and Brad Lidge kept perfection hip.
Beyond all of that, this game was also the last I attended with my old man- the person who introduced me to the Phillies and fostered my lifelong passion for both the team and their game. It fell within a short-lived period of remission, a Summer and bit of Fall free of burden (though in truth he handled what had happened, and would soon, much better than my mother and I ever did). When I spoke in my "introduction" on The Fightins (by now we’re all adept at suspending the absurdity of it all) about how I sometimes don't care much for memories, I spoke largely in part of that game. Despite my knowing better, it sometimes serves as a reminder of all that I lost and those things that made him special, which I can only bear witness to anymore in the all-too-solitary recess of recollection. But still I know it's because of them that I do my best every day to act as he would, how he'd want me to, particularly with the Nag and our daughter. I learned how to be a man through him, through no spectacular stories or vivid events- just regular nights in a regular row home with a regular family; and it was his hard work, remarkably selfless nature, and dignity that allowed us that spectacular regularity. I could go on, only I can't. So let me just say that I love him more than ever could be said.
The game means a lot, sometimes more than we can articulate, to so many. It’s the first sport you ever learned how to play, what you talk about with friends after a bad day at work, funny reminders of your little league uniform, perhaps your job, an escape in three hour increments from a life that may not be what you planned out for yourself, the sights and smells, stories, that moment when you first come out of the tunnel to see the grass with your dad... or the last. Whichever the collection of reasons, it’s your game, and those are your moments to hold onto. It's memories. Roy Halladay just gave us another amazing one. File it away as you must, enjoy it as best you can.