Jays From the Couch brings you initial reactions to the Toronto Blue Jays Winter Fest, which was a success
I wrote. I wrote on Saturday night. It was late, and my head was swimming from all I had taken in just hours before at the Toronto Blue Jays WinterFest. What I wrote, while still valid, was not however, what needed to be written. After a few days of going over notes, transcribing and absorbing, I came to the realization that it didn’t really speak to the experience of it. The other stuff will come soon. It’s the experience that really matters after all. It’s the experiences that have the power to invoke feelings and memories, and this event was able to accomplish that.
It was early that Saturday morning that I walked into the Rogers Centre, just as the final details were done and everyone was getting to their places. Surveying the field, my eyes were wide trying to take everything in. It was in that moment I caught myself smiling. I was at the Rogers Centre, there were baseball people here, and I was happy.
Walking around some time after the first flow of people descended onto the field, I saw many faces that were clearly happy that baseball was back, even if for a day. This was new, this festival, and there was an excitement in the air that I had missed in the last few months.
As I continued to explore, I realized just how much there was to take in. I saw kids colouring and playing catch, a couple dancing to the live band and laughter from the main stage. I saw families putting on skates, and fans high-fiving Ace. Thinking of it now it makes me smile.
The main stage was for me, one of the best parts, and I would have attended just for that. The players were happy and relaxed, and were able to connect with fans on a different level. I burst out laughing a few times during some of the games. They were funny and engaging. Thinking of it now it makes me smile, again.
I saw fans walk respectfully through the Roy Halladay memorial, writing beautiful messages of love and peace. Surrounded by his things, it was a space to pay respects. What I bore witness to was heartfelt outpouring, and a quiet reverence. There were conversations on social media about it voicing the hope it is preserved somehow, has a place of permanence. When I think of it now I see the caring in the world and I’m smiling.
I was surprised to find how affected I was at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit. The memorabilia caught my breathe, and has renewed my interest in making the pilgrimage to St. Mary’s. Some of what I saw brought me back to my childhood. Thinking of this trip is making me smile.
For me, I think Winterfest was all about the feelings it gave me, the memories that make me smile, the much needed holdover to Spring Training. The fact that we are in the home stretch, that pitchers and catchers report in a matter of weeks, this was a welcomed beacon of light in an otherwise long dark offseason. It did its job.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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