In honor of Father’s day, I’m going to tell you about my dad. Tomorrow, I’ll let him speak for himself.
My dad survived three girls growing up in his house. We always joked that he was badly outnumbered; even the dog was female.
He has never indicated that he was dissatisfied raising three girls rather than any sons. His passion for sports was passed down, however. I started playing baseball when I was six, soccer when I was eight, and basketball when I was nine. I also ran my first 10K when I was nine, and started volleyball when I was ten. I believe there was also a gymnastics class, tennis lessons, and a never-ending golf game in there as well.
As far as I can remember, Dad never missed a single game or meet. Sometimes he’d show up still dressed in his 3-piece suit, and find his place on the bleachers. He has a deep, strong voice, and I could always hear him cheering me on. He would often kick me off the couch at home and get me out tossing a softball, shooting some hoops, or running through the neighborhood. He was a natural teacher, helping me adjust my grip on the bat or align my jumpshot. That didn’t prevent him from keeping score when we played one-on-one.
My dad was never big on punishment. I don’t remember a spanking, although I’m sure I received some. His voice was enough to scare me into obedience. His favorite quote when I was arguing with one of my sisters was, “It just doesn’t matter.” Usually he was right, although what matters to a kids differs from what matters to adults.
As I grew older, I started to resent my dad pushing me all the time. It seemed like nothing I did was good enough. When I finally expressed how I felt, he was flabbergasted. He told me how proud he was of me, how he bragged about me to all his friends. He just wanted me not to settle for good enough, to be my best.
I was a passionate teenager. I always had a cause. My dad didn’t always understand my passion, but he always stood behind me. Even when I tried to take on the school system when they decided to disinclude the invocation from graduation ceremonies due to pressure from the ACLU, he listened patiently and didn’t discourage me from trying to make a difference.
As a fellow adult, I see my dad for the incredible man he is today. He’s caring, disciplined, wise, and has a great sense of humor. Once in a while, someone will tell me I’m just like my dad. I don’t know if I can live up to him, but I certainly take it as a compliment.