This guy is going places. He’s going to be a well-known writer about sports, and we’ll all be the better for it, because of the passion he brings to his writing. Wishing him Happy Birthday, and thanking him for letting us join him for at least part of his ride.
A lot can happen in 365 days. And as I entered my 28th year on this magical planet on Monday, September 13, I looked back on the past 12 months of my life with wonder and amazement. Because I’ll undoubtedly never have another 12 like them.
In September of 2009, I was promoted at work. I became TVO’s The Agenda With Steve Paikin’s “Your Agenda” producer. Every Thursday night, I’d produce an hour of television, based on viewers’ suggestions. The program wanted someone more internet and social media savvy for the position. That was me. There was one minor issue: I remained, technically, an “associate producer,” and was paid like one. I was told the program would be a co-production, and was paired with a senior producer. From day one, that wasn’t the case; it wasn’t a “co-production.” And it was rough. Let no one tell you otherwise: putting together an hour of television once a week is no easy task. I found myself hating my job. But I’m not here to complain about what happened. I worked my tail off, and put some quality shows to air, along with help from my team. It was a fantastic learning experience.
In early October, I journeyed down to Niagara Falls with my girlfriend, along with my brother and his fiance. I wouldn’t be around on October 17, my girlfriend’s birthday, so decided to try and make it up to her with a quick visit south. There aren’t a lot of options for an overnighter in and around Toronto. Niagara Falls, good old Niagara Falls, is always there. Little did I know that the overnight trip was the tip of my traveling iceberg.
Mid-October, I took off for Las Vegas. It was my good friend Murtaza’s bachelor party. And what a party it was. A debaucherous four days. Between 10 of us, we spent more than $30,000 USD. A part of me is done with Las Vegas, because that trip will never be topped.
A week after returning to Toronto, family matters had me, at the last minute, board a plane for India. I was off to New Delhi, for only one week. Ridiculous, but it had to be done. It was the last weekend of October. I found out the Toronto Maple Leafs won their first game of the season while on a stopover at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Before I left for India, and with my mother already in the Motherland, I informed my father that my girlfriend and I were ready to get married. In August 2010, less than a year away, one week after the marriage of my older brother. He gave us his support and blessings. I met my mother the night I arrived in New Delhi, and she was overjoyed with the news, telling relatives the moment she saw them. There wouldn’t be just one wedding next summer, she said, there would be two. I made jokes about a doubleheader. It always came back to baseball. My mother loved my girlfriend. Always had. I don’t think she ever thought I’d be the one, between my brother and I, to bring home the Indian girl.
Upon returning from India in early November, we — my girlfriend and I — began to plan our wedding. I finally met her parents. My parents finally met her parents, and blessings were given for us to be married. I ordered a custom engagement ring. We went and saw a DJ, and a photographer. A banquet hall was reserved, and a date was set: August 15, 2010.
In late November, mere weeks after our two families met, and after the deposit for the banquet hall was paid for by my future mother-in-law, I called the whole thing off. In my attempts to do right by her, my on-and-off girlfriend of almost five years, I broke an amazing, funny, smart, and beautiful woman’s heart. How many times can a person say “I’m sorry”? Whatever the record was, I broke it. I now own it. I proceeded to have the most difficult conversations of my life. With my now ex-girlfriend. With my parents. With my brother. With my ex-girlfriend’s mother. With my friends. My best friend’s fiance, whom I have known since high school, sent me a message saying she’d lost all respect for me. It’s a message I’ll never forget.