Beginning at the Beginning

There’s a great line on the first page of Dickens’ David Copperfield: “To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born.” As I reflected on how to start this blog, I decided–like young Mr. Copperfield–it would be best to start with the day I was born.

Or at least to explain how I think it all went down.

I arrived with little ceremony on a Sunday in February, interrupting my mom’s efforts to get ready for church as her water broke while she was maneuvering into her dress. She decided to sit out of church that day and spent the afternoon playing Scrabble with my grandmother, but the trip to the hospital was deferred until things “picked up.”

Things, unfortunately, reached their breaking point right before tipoff for the evening’s game between the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers. To offer a bit of background, my dad might be the most die-hard Celtics fan living outside New England. He’s been following the team religiously since the 80s, and I’m pretty sure he’s only missed the broadcasts of about ten games in his life. Consequently, my arrival time was far from ideal.

Things being what they are, Dad couldn’t get around taking Mom to the hospital, especially since it became clear (and oddly prophetic) that I wasn’t about to hang around until the game was over. A lifetime of impatience for sports began that night as I made my steady progress into this world with the din of Mike Gorman’s commentary in the background. Dad coached Mom through Lamaze and offered a helping hand, but he was also undoubtedly fretting about the odds of getting a halftime report before I made my big arrival.

From there, life happened. The doctor arrived (in hunting pants that were decorated with small orange ducks), Mom pushed, and voila, I was born. And later, in a story that has since become Horner family legend, my mother gazed down at me and said, “Well, Sam, do you think we’ll go for three?”

Unfortunately, Mom posed this question soon after a miracle had taken hold of Bradley Memorial Hospital; the nurses had managed to get the Celtics game on in the room, and Dad was watching with rapt attention. Not to be rude, though, he answered her question: “Nah, I don’t think so. It’s too late in the game and Bird’s getting tired.”

My mother, you see, was asking about having a third child one day. My father was talking about the odds of a mustachioed Larry Bird draining a three at the end of the fourth quarter.

To this day, I’m not sure if my dad will ever live that down, but it makes for a good story. To make it even better? The Celtics lost by three points in a 103-106 game. Oh if only Larry Bird had been able to go for three…

So that’s the beginning. The rest of this blog will deal with things that happened after that particular day in February, and no worries, this isn’t an exercise in narcissism. I have more things to talk about than snippets from my own life, ┬ábut I figured it would be best to start this beginning from my own beginning.