One Last Nightcap
The Walrus|November/December 2020
Even in his eighties, my father dared the rest of us to keep up
ANNE O’HAGAN

IT’S EARLY AFTERNOON and humid as my father and I enter the Rogers Centre, well in advance of the first pitch. “I like to see them warm up,” he told me, no leeway offered. I’m anxious to find our seats. The stadium can be a vast, forbidding obstacle course, and my father’s gait, at eighty-eight, is halting, his breath laboured. I imagine him slipping on slopped beer, being jostled, even trampled by the crowd. For me, this is nerve-racking. Not for him. He’s driven, as always, and won’t be denied.

My father’s relationship with sports was immersive. As with politics, it was a lifelong commitment. “Dick” to friends, he was a serious man who served two prime ministers, represented his country in Washington for a decade, and spent the rest of his career advising bank presidents. But baseball, football, and hockey were his abiding loves. He was also not fanatical. “Who are you for?” I’d ask, finding him in the study, consumed with the screen. I don’t think he cared. More than anything, he was a student of the game.

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