Mellon Memories: A Father's Influence

This story deserves its own post. Very heartfelt story about a father's influence on his daughter.

When I was 13 years old, I attended my first Pittsburgh Penguins game with my dad. He called me from work and asked me if I would want to go to a hockey game that night. I had never really watched a hockey game, even on television, but I was interested in going. We drove from Girard,OH to Pittsburgh to see the Pens play San Jose. As we watched the game, my dad explained the rules to me. After the game, on the drive home, he asked if I would like to go to more games. I told him that I would love to! We went to a few more games that year, and had the time of our lives! Next season, my dad used his income tax refund to purchase a partial season ticket plan, which became a tradition until I graduated high school and went to college.

My dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, and things began to go downhill. He would seem to get better, and then something else would go wrong. After chemo had failed to destroy the cancer, he was told that he had two months at most to live. He decided to let hospice come into his home and take care of him in his final weeks. My aunts and I went to Florida (he had moved there a few years ago) to see him, and he still had the strength to watch a couple of playoff games (08-09' season) on television with me. We came home from visiting, and he passed away the next day, June 2, 2009.

I tried to get tickets for game 6 of the finals from ticketmaster, but they sold out. I did the next best thing and looked for tickets on eBay. I found two tickets in my price range, and placed a bid on them. I managed to win the auction. The seats were very similar to the ones we had as partial season ticket holders (our season tickets were F15 row B, the ones I had won were F30 row B). My dad and I had always loved those seats, and thought that they offered the best view.

I took my boyfriend to his first game, one week to the day of the passing of my dad. As we made our way up the flights of stairs, I remembered all of the fun my dad and I had, and when we reached our seats, I was in tears. It reminded me of the view we had from all of the games we went to. I know my dad was sitting in the stands with me that night, cheering the Pens on right along with me like old times. All of the high fives and the hugs we shared...those times were priceless.

The game was unbelievable, and I think I may have turned my boyfriend into a hockey fan, just like my dad had done to me. After the Pens won the cup, I wanted to call my dad on the phone and talk to him, and then realized that I couldn't. Instead, I held my hand, palm upward, to heaven, for what I call an "extreme high five". I now do that every time the Pens score a goal or win a game. I'm going to hate seeing the old arena go. I have so many fond memories of the games my dad took me to. Now I can start new memories in the new arena next year with a new fan, my boyfriend.

-Jackie Shaffer

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