Most of you probably won’t care about this story, while some of you will be able to relate, but this weekend signifies a bit of irony in my life.
You see, for the past 20 years or so I have worked as sports anchor/reporter here in Philadelphia and during that time became a father three times over. My children are now 15, 11 and 10 years old.
Given the work load that often accompanies the job of television journalist, I consider myself lucky to have been in the delivery room for all three births. However, there were also numerous occasions when I was away from home for long stretches at a time; Super Bowls, World Series, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, two weeks at the United States Tennis Open. I think you get my drift.
I can’t tell you how many little league, soccer and basketball games I have missed, in addition to dance recitals and other family functions.
At the moment, I am unfortunately unemployed, and while I miss the anchor desk and the camaraderie that goes along with the job, being out of work has given me the chance to rediscover my family.
For instance, last year I coached my youngest son's Pop Warner football team, and two years ago it was my son and daughter's coed soccer team.
And I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed watching my older son go from sixth grade CYO tackle football to a strapping, 6', 200 plus pound two sport athlete in high school.
I think it’s true what they say about Dads living vicariously through our kids when we watch them participate in sports.
Now that I’ve painted a picture for you, let me tell you about my weekend, which actually started a little after seven o’clock this evening when we sat down to watch Phillies ace Roy Halladay work another masterpiece as the Phil’s played a road game in their own stadium. You heard me correctly, this weekend the Phil’s will play the role of visiting team at Citizens Bank Park here in Philadelphia.
You see, this weekend’s Phillies-Blue Jays series was initially scheduled to be played in Toronto, Canada. However, due to security concerns over the G20 Summit being held in Toronto, the Jays and Phil’s agreed to play the series in Philly.
Do you know how strange it is watching the Phil’s walk out of the visiting dugout, wearing their road gray unis at home, batting in the top instead of the bottom of the inning and oh yeah, Ryan Howard in the designated hitters role.
Anyway, game just ended with the Phillies winning 9-0, their fourth straight win in a row as Halladay was on point against his former Toronto teammates, going seven innings, allowing six hits but no runs, while striking out four. Halladay now 9-6 on the year.
To think, the weekend has only just begun. I probably should think about going to bed soon because I must be up early to drive out to Valley Forge, PA to watch my oldest son and his PYLA lacrosse team take part in the Battle of Valley Forge Lax Tournament.
The games are nicely spaced; 10am, noon and 1pm. The ending of that third game should give me just enough time to find a local sports pub to watch the United States Men’s National Soccer team take on Ghana in the FIFA World Cup 2010, round of 16. Go U-S-A!!! By the way, I will not be taking my son to the pub with me. I am hoping at that time his lax team is progressing through the play-off rounds at Valley Forge.
Hey, did anyone know the National Hockey League is currently holding their entry draft in Los Angeles as I write this? The Philadelphia Flyers don’t have a pick until the end of the third round, but they did manage to trade the rights of defenseman Dan Hamhuis to Pittsburgh for conditional picks in next year’s NHL Draft.
The Flyers actually just picked up the rights for Hamhuis earlier this week, trading defenseman Ryan Parent, to Nashville. Unfortunately, Hamhuis and his agent could not agree on financial terms of a new contract so, the Flyers have passed the puck.
Anyway I digress. Back to that USA-Ghana game. I need Bob Bradley and the boys to score early, play good defense and cut back on the diving. I need as little extra time as possible, even though it was in extra time against Algeria that Landon Donovan got the game winner to help propel the Americans into the knockout round.
I probably will not be able to watch the end of the game, because by 4:00pm I need to be in West Chester, PA to start prepping for my job as the Game Day Announcer for Women’s Pro Soccer (WPS) as the Philadelphia Independence (5-3-3) host the Washington Freedom (4-2-3) at West Chester University’s John A Farrell Stadium.
Hey, a win for Philadelphia will give them a solid hold on second place in the standings, six points ahead of third place Washington and just one point behind table topper F.C Gold Pride.
Hold up. Wait a minute. BREAKING NEWS!!!!: Edwin Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks has just thrown the fourth no-hitter of the season, leading Arizona to a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay. Jackson, by no means, was perfect for the game, walking eight. It was the second no hitter in Diamondbacks history.
Anyway, as far as the expansion Philadelphia Independence are concerned, I’ll just go out on a limb now and say they will make the playoffs in just their first year in the league. Good luck ladies.
Speaking of expansion, time to talk about how we wrap this weekend up. About noon Sunday, yours truly, the wife and two sons, will head south on Interstate 476 towards Chester, PA. What’s in Chester you ask?
Why PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) Park, new home to the Expansion MLS (Major League Soccer) Philadelphia Union (2-7-1). Unlike their female counterparts, the men have been struggling during their rookie season, but their fan base has not.
In two home games at Lincoln financial field, the Union drew an average of 25,000 fans which should translate nicely into the friendly 18,500 seat confines of PPL Park. Sunday marks the long, but much anticipated opening of the Union's new home as they host the Seattle Sounders.
Professional soccer is back in Philadelphia, and expectations are that it will be around for quite a long time.
So, as you can see, this is a weekend crammed with non-stop sports, but instead of covering or reporting on it, I am getting the chance to actually enjoy the action and do so with my family.
Of course there is this thing called Monday that kind of brings everything back to reality. You know getting up early, giving the wife a kiss goodbye on her way to work, making breakfast for the kids , getting them on the bus for their second to last day before summer vacation, and then spending the rest of the day thinking about what to make for dinner.
Boy, from sports anchor in the fourth largest media market in the country, too Mr. Mom in the Andrews household. Now tell me there’s no irony in that.