I've had a long time to think about how to honour my friend and mentor Jason Botchford. Obviously I will try to do so in my writing, as will the countless other writers Botch touched the lives of. But I wanted something else, something more public, something that Botch's Army could also partake in and be a part of.
Which is why one day when I was walking along the beach and I saw bench dedicated to the memory of loved ones, I realized a bench near Rogers Arena would be a nice way for me and others to remember our friend.
The bench in question? It's the one in the picture. It's a block away from Rogers Arena, right at Andy Livingstone Park. It's 15 seconds away from the arena, an arena Botch spent so much time at, writing countless stories that entertained and informed us for so many years. It felt like the perfect choice.
I wanted to choose this bench because I want people to remember Jason and look back fondly at all that he gave to us. I want people heading to the game, or heading home from the game, to maybe take a stroll over the park, have a sit on the bench, and just remember the times Botch made you laugh. Or made you think. Or made you mad. Or just anytime he made you feel something, whether it was about this team or this city. Because Jason loved this city. He really did. He also loved writing about the team and its fans. And more than anything he loved his family. Which is why I can't think of a better spot than right by the arena, right by a family park and school, right in the heart of Vancouver, to have a bench dedicated to the memory of Jason Botchford.
I want people to go to this bench and take picture at it. Give a shout out to Botch and send the picture to me. I want to collect all of the pictures, to keep the memory of Botch alive and well, of his friends, fans, and family taking a moment out of their day to remember him, and to think of all the articles he would be currently writing about bad contracts and weird trades and puzzling draft picks.
(If for whatever reason this bench becomes unavailable there is one along the Seawall that overlooks the arena that is also very beautiful that will have a plaque installed instead).
The cost of a bench plaque is $5,500, paid to the City of Vancouver. The price is set to $5,700 right now because Go Fund Me takes a small cut, so the higher price offsets this. Any extra money, should we get to that goal, will go to the Botchford Family Go Fund Me.
I have reached out to the Botchford family to make sure they were ok with me moving forward with this project, and they were, just as an FYI.
And as my buddy Beantown from Twitter reminded me:
"FYI in addition to securing the dedication, you should mention that the funds raised go towards the general funds of Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, which provides services and amenities for the benefit of all Vancouverites." There is something nice thinking that by dedicating this bench to Botch, we're also helping a city that he loved.
The timeline for a plaque to be installed is 8-10 months. If you have any questions or want any updates about this, you can e-mail me at email@example.com .
I know many of you have already given money directly to the Botchford family. Some of you can't afford to give any money, and that is 100% ok. But if you have anything to give, whether it's a dollar or ten dollars or whatever, I would really really appreciate it.
I will get this bench built. I wish I was rich so I could make it happen right away. But no matter how long it takes, I will find a way. Botch taught me about determination, and I will use that to take this project to the finish line. Because I can't get one scene out of my head...
It's the Stanley Cup Finals. The Vancouver Canucks have finally won the Cup. The puck bounces in off of Messier's face somehow (don't ask me for logistics) and Vancouver wins game seven. The city is mad with celebration, overjoyed at finally having captured the elusive trophy. The streets are packed with joyful faces, as people finally see their sports dream come true. Finally the ghost of the post in 1994 has been exiled. Finally the demon of Brad Marchand punching Daniel Sedin has been exorcised. Finally the 1982....well ok 1982 they had no chance against the Islanders, but the point remains. The city is very happy.
But near the arena, there is a line of people starting to form, wandering over to the park. To go have a seat at Jason's bench and let him know Vancouver finally built an army and won that Stanley Cup. And to think about what an amazing article he would have written about that triumph that would have summed up all of our feelings about it. And then to give a tip of the hat to Botch, and let him know we'll never forget him.