I am my father’s daughter and I’m damn proud of it. My dad never shied away from teaching me about sports because of my gender, in fact it became something the two of us had in common when I was a teenager and most of my friends had no real relationship with their dads. Dad and I love sports and we both love arguing about sports. We’ll root for opposing teams in a random game just to have something to bicker about. Dad says he decided that I was going to be a football fan when he and mum knew I was going to be an only child. They only had one television – so it was going to end up being 2 against 1 one way or the other and he decided it was going to be in his favour. There is a rumor that my first sentence was uttered in disgust at a certain CFL referee and was “you stupid ref”. I don’t believe it – maybe my second or third sentence but not my first. Dad and I would go to Argos games at Exhibition Stadium and later at Skydome and he would point out things I had never seen on television coverage. As I got older, I started pointing things out to him – the roles had reversed and I was now teaching him some of the finer points of football. It wasn’t just football either – Dad and I went to baseball and hockey games, and of course there was the annual trip to the Molson Indy in Toronto. Dad’s company had a Suite and I was there all day on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (but until I was older not on the Sunday – race day – since that was for the adults only)I watched the race from home while Mum and Dad sat in the suite. I wandered around the paddock on the weekdays and met some of the drivers – my great accomplishment was a t-shirt on which a then-unknown rookie named Alex Zanardi signed not only his name but a phone number. Since he had signed my back, I didn’t know about the phone number and dad hit the roof. I watched the mechanics work on the cars and convinced more than one of them to let me help. I learned that the driver can be as talented as he wants but if he doesn’t have a top-notch pit crew, he won’t be going anywhere. I still love open-wheel racing to this day – both the Indycar series and Formula One. One of my favourite things to do on a Sunday morning is get up at 7:45 with Dad and spend my morning watching Formula One racing with him. I also like attending live races with him. I love the noise of a live race (though I have always worn noise cancelling earphones to prevent hearing loss) and the smell of the oil and the hot rubber combining. I watch every race – not just the main events. I hold my breath and cross my fingers every time there is an accident. I am finding it harder to watch now that I know one of the drivers in the Indycar series – James Hinchcliffe. James is driving for Newmann-Haas racing and is the son of Dad’s former boss Jeremy. It’s very different when you know the family of the driver – it makes them more than a racing car driver – it makes them human. Yet I still watch, and even though I don’t live at home with Mum and Dad anymore, I message Dad the same comments during the race that we used to say when we were watching it together.
So yes, you could say I’m Daddy’s Little Girl – I will take that as a compliment of the highest order.