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My dad and I have a lot in common. We like to play baseball and football, and we both enjoy Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen. I was really close to my dad; he was like a friend to me. If I would have known this day was about to come, I would have spent more time with him. I would have talked to him more. You should always appreciate what you have because you never know when you’ll miss it.

I came out of my bedroom that Saturday morning. My grandma’s face was paralyzed, and my mom was crying. I knew something happened, but what? My grandma told my brothers and me to sit on the couch. She had something to tell us.

“Here it comes,” I thought. I wondered who got hurt.

It turned out I was the one getting hurt.

My grandma looked at us and said in a calm, dim voice, "Boys your aunt was too shocked to tell you this so they asked me to tell you.” She took a deep breath and said, "Kids, your father died."

Right then and there my heart felt like it had shattered into a million pieces and each piece had a feeling inside of it. I looked around the room and saw all the devastated faces. The eyes of my older brothers, Ryan and Sean, were filled with tears. I turned my head to the other side; my younger brother Aidan looked like he had been shot. But Brendan, who was only 7, did not understand what happened. As soon as he heard dad he said excitedly, “Were going to dad’s house?"

No one knew what to tell Brendan. It was like everything went blank. I did not want believe it was true, so I tried calling my dad. But his cell phone just kept going to voice mail. At first I thought his phone died, but I kept redialing. My mom tried to calm me down. She took the phone out of my hands.

“You have to let it go,” my mom said in a clam voice, hugging me. Tears streamed down her face.

I had to except the fact that he was gone. It was hard for me to take in and it always will be. That morning I had an Allstar baseball game. I’ve been playing baseball since I was 4 years old. I told my mom I was going to my game, no if ands or buts about it. She was speechless. She looked at me as if she couldn’t understand why I wanted to go. I never thought I would speak to my mom like that, but I knew I had to go to my game.

My mom called the coaches to tell them what happened. As I was preparing for my game, water drops poured out of my eyes. My grandpa walked in and asked me why I wanted to go to my game and not go with my family to New York. I said, “Because baseball is the game he taught me how to play and love."

On the car ride, I thought about the good times I’ve had with my dad. The first time our whole family drove to Gettysburg. The first time my dad brought me to Yankee stadium, and my 12th birthday dinner at TGI Fridays. All these memories overwhelmed me and I couldn’t help but cry.

But when we pulled up into the fields I saw some of my teammates through the windows, and I felt relieved they were all there. As I walked into the dugout they all started clapping. I told them I wanted it to be a normal day, just like any other, even though I knew it couldn’t be.
As the game was about to start, my coaches pulled me to the side and asked if I was ok. I gave them the same answer I gave everyone. "Yes, I’m fine," I lied.

The game started and I walked to left field. I just stood there like a statue. There were so many mixed thoughts going through my head at that moment, like how could this have happened? Who did this to my dad? And what would happen now? The ball was hit to me, and I didn’t even notice. Everyone around me was yelling, and hearing them for the first time, I suddenly zoomed back in. I saw the ball and threw the kid out before he got to home. I thought, “That was lucky. I can’t do that anymore, I got to stay focused.” It was challenging, but I did it.

The first time I went up to bat I had a base hit. The next one was a double. The game ended and we won 12 to 6. My couches held the ball out to me and said, “This ball is for your dad.” The team cheered and everyone signed it. Without even thinking about it, I knew I wouldn’t keep the ball. I put it in my dad’s coffin.

My dad followed sports his whole life. He was the sports editor of the Staten Island Advance. He taught me how to love baseball and football. I miss sharing that passion with him.

It’s been 9 months since that day I found out about my dad. It’s hard to talk about it, so I don’t, but I think about that day all the time. I learned that you should never take things for granted. I never thought something like this could happen to me, until it did.





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