My dad does “something with computers.” That’s his occupation, and even now I still can’t quite pin down just what he does for a living. Of course, being his son makes him a bit more than “employee” to me, and so occupations are much less important when he comes to mind.
Sports also come to mind with my father. As with most sons, my father did all the things he should have while raising me. Learning to throw a football, hitting, and wrists shots all came from his teaching. But what I remember most about him when I think of sports are the other things he did. It wasn’t just playing sports with him, and I think that has made all the difference with me. Sure, he taught me how to bat switch; something that will make me an invaluable member of a slow pitch softball team someday, but his lessons were about much more than swing mechanics.
You see, my dad isn’t one of “those dads.” He has never been a die hard fan of any team I have been a part of. There were never impromptu bullpen sessions at dawn to hone my fastball, and he has never verbally attacked a referee for my sake. In fact, he has called strike three against me many times in my little league career.
What he has given me is something much more than any of that could ever give me. I was never destined to play professionally, but through his teaching I was destined to be a sports fan forever. My dad is a Buffalonian through and through, and he has taught me how to survive in the world of Buffalo sports.
But more than that, he has taught me to love sports. The difference is right in that statement. Following sports has never been a casual thing in my house. Every game, every play, my father has been teaching me about life through box scores and highlights. When I think of my father, I remember the stories he has told me. Being stuck in traffic on the way to the first game in Rich Stadium. Listening to Pirates games on the radio while camping. My father never told me heroic stories of his athletic triumph, but Jack Kemp and Jim Kelly sure do ring a bell.
My father is the guy that taught me how to hate the Yankees, what intentional grounding is, and why the French Connection are so important. He’s the guy that dragged me to Rich Stadium in the freezing cold, stuffing heat packs in my boots. And while now he doesn’t want to go to games after mid November, he’s the reason I want to be there in the first place.
Over time, the seed he planted inside of me grew, and even he is a bit scared by the monster he created. When study time is arranged around the ‘Cuse game and Monday Night Football, he tends to get a bit concerned. Even so, he’s the man that drove down with me to Raleigh last year for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and the one that has spent a mortgage payment or two on playoff tickets these last 24 months. And while I may be the one easing him into fantasy football, he’s the one that conned me into fantasy NASCAR. (And taunts me over it every week.)
The point is this: no matter what you think or feel about your father, he is a big part of who you are. My dad just happens to be the part you see here, the one staying up late into the night thinking about Dustin Pedrioa’s swing on high fastballs, and the one dreaming of a victory parade in Niagara Square someday.
When I asked him about starting a web site, he handed me a 600 page book on HTML. So far what you see here is all I got. Someday I’ll get around to cracking that open. For now, just call him Father Goose.
Happy Father’s Day everyone.