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PETERíS COMPLETE, UNEDITED SUBMISSION
Opening Day and Dad
On this day, the world as I know it melts away.
On this day, I lie on the sofa and grin while throwing a baseball at the ceiling to see how softly I can graze it.
On this day, the Red Sox will start their first season of the new millennium.
On this day, I am eight years old. My Dadís back is still strong enough to carry me on his shoulders from the Green Line to Fenway Park. Iwill bounce as he runs after my brothers who are trying to catch George Scott taking batting practice.
On this day, Dad will let me choose one condiment and show me how to score Catcherís Interference.
On this day, my mother pulls me away from the television because tomorrow is a school day. Moments later, my Dad will overrule her for the only time in family history to drag me back to watch Carlton Fisk dance down the first base line.
On this day, Freddy Lynn has 10 RBIs against the Tigers.
On this day, the Red Sox beat back the Twins on the last day of the 1967 season.
On this day, Dave Henderson single-handedly wins the 1986 pennant with back-to-back homers against the Angels.
On this day, I will call my Dad and we will not talk about the state of my present income or those stupid tax forms. He will categorically tell me that not a single player donning a Red Sox jersey is as good as advertised. He will tell me about the year that the Red Sox had eight .300 hitters in their lineup.
On this day, my Dad comes home from work, grabs two mitts out of the closet and takes me out to the lawn to loosen up the old soup bone.
On this day, my grandfather is alive. He has come to me to remind me of how, back in the day, the ball was so dead that Red Sox players would drive rockets into the Green Monster only to watch them bounce straight down.
On this day, I throw the ball towards the ceiling and suppose...
I suppose that Nomar Garciaparra will win the MVP.
I suppose that Jason Varitek will be an All-Star.
I suppose that Pedro Martinez will win the Cy Young and David Cone will win Comeback Player of the year.
I suppose that the Red Sox will go 120-42.
I suppose that they will beat back the Yankees in the post season and win the World Series.
I suppose that I will take the day off from work, swing by the house where I was born, and drag my Dad off for a couple of beers and a ballgame.
WHAT WINNING THE CONTEST HAS MEANT TO PETER Ė IN HIS OWN WORDS!
It's really hard to explain how much my life has changed since winning the contest. You try to keep a perspective on your life, but when hundreds, nay, thousands of people are calling you to congratulate you, you can't help but feel a newfound sense of pride. Even though I'm still a guy who has to make sure that his dogs are fed, there are some very real situations that have arisen since winning this contest.
For example, whose call do I return first? The one from Esquire or The New Yorker? Granted, neither has called yet, but I would imagine that they both need time to decide exactly what to offer me. Maybe my own feature called "Confessions of a Chowd," or maybe a far-off, exotic feature called "Baseball at the Base Camp of Katmandu."
The next problem is what to put on my letterhead. At first I thought, "Peter Goldfinger, Prize-Winning Author," but it sounded a little too much like I was a blue-ribbon bull at the state fair. Then my girlfriend pointed out that what I had written was actually a poem, and that's when it hit me...What my outgoing message should say is, "Peter Goldfinger, Award-Winning Poet."
That's a much classier way to handle it, because the truth is that poetry, to me, is not about the prize, it's about the art. It's about the creative process. In fact, I would not put that on my outgoing message at all, were it not for the fact that this world is filthy with "Peter Goldfingers" and I want callers to know that they have found the right one.
Many people come to me and they ask, "How has winning this contest changed you as a person?" and I tell them, "Hey, I'm still the same Pete who can be found at quitting time having a beer at the Red Axe, the only difference is the gold necklace I wear around my neck that says:
"I WON THE MODERNERABASEBALL.COM FATHERíS DAY CONTEST."
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Feb 03 2002, 04:33:45
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