This evening, after spending roughly six hours working on my research paper (for which mad progress is now, finally, being made), I decided to unwind with the greatest thing I’ve purchased in 2005: the DVD of the 1992 and 1993 World Series. And while I was watching, I realized that I will never, ever tire of watching Joe Carter’s home run. Never. I must have seen that thing…I mean, I have no way of proving this, but I’m guessing about a billion times in the last twelve years; I could probably watch it a billion times in the next twelve hours and still tear up when the ball clears the left field wall.
These are the moments you live for as a sports fan–the ones that get frozen in time and preserved intact for posterity, so that when you’re sixty-five you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren exactly where you were when they happened. For me, Joe Carter’s home run happened at 743 Confederation Drive in Thunder Bay. My parents had given up on the Jays after an eighth inning rally fell short; by doing so, they also missed out on their place in Canadian sporting history. When Carter hit his home run, I was sitting on a foot stool (covered in one of my grandmother’s afghans) about four feet in front of the television; the lamp behind me was turned on, and the television remote was sitting on the right arm of the rocking chair. (Again, these moments get frozen in time–there’s just no other way of explaining it.) After the ball cleared the fence, I sat in complete silence. I must have known what had happened, known that the Blue Jays had just repeated as World Series champions…but my brain wouldn’t compute. The explosion didn’t come until Carter touched home plate; at that point it all clicked, and I unloaded with an volley of utterly incoherent screaming.
Again, you don’t forget these moments–which is why the DVD always kills me when, as soon as Carter hits his home run, the song “This is the Moment” from the musical Jekyll & Hyde starts playing…and if that wasn’t enough, it’s being sung by Colm Wilkinson, who possesses arguably the most beautiful voice in the world. (If I’ve made you a CD in the past few months and included this song…well, now you know where the inspiration came from.) I experienced a similar sensation in 1999, when Manchester United stole the Champions League from Bayern Munich with two last-second goals…but as incredible as that was, no team of mine has ever really meant as much to me as the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays. As long as I live, the twenty-five seconds between the ball leaving Carter’s bat and Carter jumping on home plate will remain frozen in time; I could watch it another billion times and never forget a single thing about that night.