Amy Roost: Back in her sweet spot after 45 years

By Amy Roost

When my parents separated in the late summer of 1968, I was a 6-year-old tomboy living in a suburb of Chicago. In those days, sole custody usually went to the mother, so my brothers and I only saw our dad once a week, either Wednesdays for dinner or Sunday afternoons.

Amy Roost

If it was a Sunday afternoon and the Bears were in town, Dad would take us all to Wrigley Field for the game. Not surprisingly, I came to associate football with getting to see my dad. And because he loved football, especially the Bears, I did too. I’d curl up on his lap to stay warm and ask him questions about the rules of the game. I quickly learned the names of all the players — Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo among them. In fact, one childhood highlight was when Gayle Sayers tossed his chin strap into the stands and my dad caught it and gave it to me.

Not long after the separation, my mom took my brothers and me skiing for the first time. I fell on my first tow rope ride, and not knowing I was supposed to let go, was dragged up the hill breaking my right tibia along the way. As I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, I remember crying and calling for my mom and dad.

An older friend of the family — one of my many surrogate fathers over the years — came to the hospital in place of my dad and sat with my mom and me while my leg was set in a plaster cast the full length of my leg. He got me to smile when he offered me a new nickname: “Crazy Legs.” He explained to me that “Crazy Legs” Hirsch was one of the greatest football wideouts of all time, which naturally made me very proud. I couldn’t wait to tell my dad my new nickname. When I did he chuckled and continued to call me “Crazy Legs” for years.

In 1971, my mom moved my brothers and me to California. That was also the year the made-for-TV movie “Brian’s Song” was released, chronicling Piccolo’s fight with cancer and friendship with Sayers. It was a sad story for sure, but most of the tears I shed while watching the it were because I missed my dad, who still lived in Chicago. Later that year, I would select the theme from “Brian’s Song” as my piano recital piece — much to my classically trained piano teacher’s chagrin.

One consolation when we moved to San Diego was that we lived on the same street as two Chargers players, Ron Mix and the great Lance “Bambi” Alworth. I literally stalked their modest town homes, waiting for them to back out of their carports so I could catch a glimpse or get yet another autograph. One Halloween when Mix answered the doorbell, I nearly passed out with excitement.

Predictably, I became a Chargers fan, and still am to this day. I’ve lived through more ups and downs than I can count: the exciting Air Coryell years, the unforgettable Epic in Miami, the Freezer Bowl in Cincinnati, the humiliating Super Bowl loss to the 49ers, a 14-2 season, and any number of heart-wrenching playoff losses.

In 2005, shortly after my own marriage separation, I took my shell-shocked boys to Indianapolis to celebrate my youngest son’s birthday and see the Chargers defeat the here-to-fore undefeated Colts. Football had risen to a healing agent in our lives.

This summer, at the age of 51, no longer a tomboy and no longer crazy legged, and no longer healing from a divorce, I phoned my now 85-year-old dad who, after all these years, finally lives in the same town as me again. I asked if he’d like company to watch the game that afternoon — a Chargers-Bears preseason contest. He was delighted. We sat drinking beer in his apartment, shouting expletives at the TV, and calling pass interference on each other’s defenses. It took 45 years but once again I found myself in the sweet spot: with my dad, watching the Bears.

Roost is executive director of Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach and a freelance book publicist. A former Poway resident, she now lives in Solana Beach. Reader comments, through letters to the editor or online, are encouraged.

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Posted by Staff on Nov 13 2013. Filed under Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

17 Comments for “Amy Roost: Back in her sweet spot after 45 years”

  1. D & D

    It's Alworth, not Allworth. People who can't spell or don't bother taking the time to look up the correct spelling amaze me. Such a simple thing to do.

    • Amy Roost

      Frank, what I think is that if after reading my column into which I poured a considerable amount of heart, that if all D&D has to offer is a misspell that both my editors and I missed, then I'm ahead of the game …this week.

      I also think that D&D must not have been listening when her mother told her "if you don't have anything nice (or constructive) to say, don't say it at all."

  2. David DiCicco

    Great article about life, love, and growing up.

  3. Barry Cronin

    Ah hah! I've got you now! "Shouting explitives at the TV," just because Jay Cutler threw his third interception of the game? Are you not the same Amy Roost who scolded me about "judicious" profanity once upon a time? (smile)! All kidding aside, I agree with Dave DiCicco. Great article. Good football memories. Drinking beer and watching football with the old man. Life doesn't get any better. Glad you found the sweet spot. Went to Wrigley for a Cubs game the first time ever this past June with my youngest. Great ballpark. Not quite Fenway, but close.

    • Amy Roost

      Hey, I sing Cutler's praises when he throws those interceptions! I'm a Chargers fan now, remember!? Never been to Fenway, but it's on my bucket list. My dad also took me to many Cubs games at Wrigley. Fantastic place to watch baseball.

      • Barry Cronin

        Agree. Wrigley Field is a great place to watch baseball. Beer was lousy, though. No microbrews. Petco has a wide variety of local craft beers. Good food, too.

        • Amy Roost

          You remind me of my 2-year old grandson, Barry. Petco is (mostly) about the food for him. Ice cream, hot dog, popcorn…stomachache ;)

          BTW, As of next year, Old Style no longer has a stranglehold on the beer at Wrigley Field.

    • Tom Yarnall

      Harry Carey, along with Vin Scully, one of the most entertaining baseball announcers of all time.

  4. Tom Yarnall

    Nice article Amy. Glad you are at piece with your dad . I hope your life will be richer.
    Now, let me be clear. I do not like the Chicago Bears and barely root for them when they play a New York team, Billicheat's Patriots or the Raiders. There is just something that smells about people coming out of Chicago, especially those heading east. I can't imagine why that is.

    • Amy Roost

      More common ground for us Tom!? This is beginning to get worrisome ;) I too dislike Billicheat and the Raiders. My life with dad more in it than out of it is much richer for sure. He's a great guy and huge inspiration in more ways than one. Thanks!

  5. D & D

    Peace, not piece. I've allways liked you Thom. Pleze dont add fuel to the fire.

    • Tom Yarnall

      Mr/Mrs critic in chief. It's always, not allways. It's Tom not Thom. It's don't not dont.
      I am plezzed, or is it plezed, to get your critique. The proper use of grammar is always more important than the message. Thank's for your vigilance.

  6. guest

    For once yous guys crack me up. Or is that qwack me up. Don't sweat the small stuff.

  7. D & D

    Amy's article was beautiful. Sometimetimes I'm a jerk.

  8. guest

    If only Amy could basically apologize as easily as you. She is wrong all the time.

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