Glenn Jackson’s life is primarily made up of two things – family and baseball. With the Barrie Baycats, he’s got both working at once.
The long-time Baycat continues to come out to the park to play the game he loves with so many people that are near and dear to him.
“It’s enjoyable,” Jackson said. “I think, (for) the majority of us guys with kids and no time really for anything else, this is our bar. I feel like we have a brotherhood and whoever joins us becomes acclimated and put in that group based upon the person they are.”
He’s been playing with this group long enough that, like most of the core, he’s gone from being single at the start to married with kids now.
“That dynamic has changed and has put us in that spot,” Jackson said. “I used to be able to go to (Ryan Spataro)’s every weekend and hang out with Angus (Roy), Brad (Bissell), J.C. (Jeff Cowan), (Matt) Proctor and the guys who were playing at that time. Now, we’re pretty much begging our wives to let us play, so we’re lucky enough to have them in our lives.
“That’s where the dynamic has changed,” added the veteran outfielder. “It’s more of a family environment, a real working man’s environment. You’ve seen everyone grow, find their place in the working world and all of that.”
Once the game is over, the players are quick to seek out their loved ones, which numbers far more than a decade ago.
“When you come to the game now, it’s all about the kids,” Jackson said. “My kids come down to Christie Pits and they’re running the bases. Spatty’s got his daughters at the game. Angus has his family. J.C.’s got one on the way. Bissell’s family is a staple there, including Brad’s parents. That dynamic has changed to one of appreciation and understanding how lucky we are to be playing.
“Guys like me and Spatty, who are 35, (Brett) Lawson’s 37, Bissell is 36, I think we’re the oldest guys on the team besides Angus,” he added. “We have an appreciation for it. I’ve been taking it in every game, just enjoying the conversation and a drink in the locker room, the people who come out and support me personally, the team and community as well, and I’m taking it all in.
“For a guy like me, you never know when it’s over,” he added. “Like that song, Feel It In The Air, I feel it in the air and I’m trying to enjoy this year for what the game is worth and enjoy my friends and brothers I have for a lifetime.”
Now, Jackson has had a chance for all three of his kids to come watch him play and his son, Jeter, has even gotten the chance to join him in the dugout.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Jackson said. “My daughter Tammy has been coming out since she was four, so she’s gotten to see 10 years of this. But now, I’ve got my two youngest coming out. To have them come out to Christie Pits (in Toronto) and watch me play, and to have my son sitting on the bench with me between innings, talking to (Jordan) Castaldo and Spatty and all of the guys are showing him love and to see him run the bases, the same bases that I ran when I was his age, and my daughter too, well, I’m not a crier, but inside, man, I feel good.”
Nowadays, everything from his walk-up music (“It’s (a) Maroon 5 song and that’s (Tammy’s) song and what we dance to,” Jackson explains) to his activities in spare time (like watching baseball with his son) is based around his kids. It’s made him feel like a million bucks.
“To have my brother at the fence, with my son on his shoulders and to hit a double off the wall and my son’s there, watching and cheering, it’s awesome and indescribable,” Jackson said. “I can only imagine what it’s like at the big-league level. I feel like a superstar.”
For the time being, it’s just his three kids coming out to watch him play. But Jackson knows that, in the near future, that trend will be reversed.
“That would be great,” Jackson said. “I can’t wait to sit in my lawn chair, with my glasses, and watch them play. I know I’m going to be (pushed) into coaching for my son, I know that’s going to happen, so I look forward to that, but I also look forward to that camaraderie we’re going to build putting my son in the best place possible with the tools that I have.”
“I can’t wait to watch them,” he added. “I can’t wait to be like, ‘sorry, man, I’m busy this weekend. I’m going to watch my daughter do this or my son do that’. That’s what I want. I drive up to Barrie, it’s a blessing, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel it in the air that the time is coming. So I want to do what I can for them and make sure that the core of their life is a great place.”
Photo: Glenn Jackson, the long-time Baycats outfielder, has relished the opportunity to bring his kids out to watch him play. Brian Backland photo