Saturday, February 18, 2012

Remembering "The Kid", Gary Carter

Growing up as a kid in Manitoba, I had many hero's I looked up to. There were many people I loved to watch, yet there were only 2 people that I wanted to be like. In the summer of 1980, those 2 people were Terry Fox, and Gary Carter. Terry Fox died in 1981, and it is a sad day for me to know that after a battle with brain cancer, my other idol growing up, Gary Carter is now gone too.

I've written many blogs about Terry Fox, and I've never written one about Gary Carter until today. And after his passing this week, I thought I would write what I remember about loving to watch Gary Carter.

As a kid, you look up to your idols for various reasons. I looked up to Gary Carter for nothing that was spectacularly unique, but maybe that was the reason why I looked up to him. He was the reason why I wanted to be a catcher in baseball. When I started to play catcher, I watched his crouch and how he held his catcher's mitt almost perfect upright, unlike every other catcher I had seen play. I emulated his batting stance, and copied just about everything I could about him.

Carter always seemed to have that smile on his face which made his charisma infectious to everyone who followed him. He was born in California, yet to me, he was from Montreal. I was shocked to find out that he wasn't a Canadian, which devastated me when I heard it. Gary Carter was about the perfect role model and athlete I could've found. I was always #8 for The Montreal Expos. When he was traded from The Expos in the mid 8's I stopped following The Montreal Expos altogether out of a sort of protest.

My most favourite Gary Carter moment had to be in the All Star Game in the summer of 1981. My aunt and uncle had come to Manitoba to visit our family from Toronto, and they brought their first born daughter, my cousin Julie with them. They went out to the movies that night, and our babysitter was watching us and the summer classic together. My cousin Julie was not quite a year old at the time, and she cried all night long as I tried to not be distracted from watching Gary Carter hit 2 home runs in the game and be named the All-Star game MVP.

When Carter retired and then got inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, I was overjoyed that he ended up wearing an Expos hat, even though he won his World Series Championship with the New York Mets.

Gary Carter, if I had to say one thing to you, it would be this: Thank you for being a kid at heart and being my inspiration. You made it fun to be a kid, and I wanted to be like you because of it. I know that many people thought this way about you, yet I really wanted to thank you for inspiring this boy in particular. You were really amazing to watch in every thing that you did.

Rest in Peace my friend...

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