Happy Father's Day

This Father's Day, I'm reminded of the great times my dad and I have shared. Naturally, many of these moments involve sports. Come Sunday, I'll be watching the final round of the U.S. Open with my dad like we always do. And we'll enjoy every second of it. For dads everywhere, and especially for those who have passed, I'm sure this letter to my dad is one many could easily call their own.

My dad never sat down and helped me with my Geometry homework, but he did teach me how to read all the angles on a billiards table.

My dad and I never talked about Shakespeare or Yeats, but we always talked about the great newspaper articles written by legendary sports columnists like Allan Malamud and Jim Murray.

My dad never tried to explain to me the science behind physics, but he did teach me the mechanics of how to hit a baseball, throw a football and shoot a basketball.

I have a lot to thank my dad for. Too much to squeeze into just one article. Too much to squeeze into just one day. But like the old saying goes, sometimes you just have to play the hand you're dealt so here goes nothing.

Dear Dad:

Thanks for not letting me feel embarrassed that time in fourth grade when I accidentally made a basket for the other team.

Thanks for giving me someone to point to in the stands during that away game when I made all those free throws down the stretch to help our school upset Mater Dei HS.

Thanks for working 16-hour days and still making it to every single sporting event I ever played in.

Thanks for putting that 7-iron in my hand when I was eight years old.

Thanks for showing me the ropes and turning me into the maniacal sports fanatic I am today.

Thanks for not telling mom when I almost broke the living room table after Magic hit that junior sky hook to beat the Celtics in the '87 NBA Finals. In fact, thanks for not telling mom about a lot of things.

Thanks for that time you pretended to be a sports reporter for the old Harold Examiner newspaper so you could sneak the family into the Boston Garden.

Thanks for making that completely out of the way, five day side trip to Montreal so I could visit Olympic Stadium and watch my favorite baseball player, Andre Dawson, play in a four game home stand.

Thanks for buying me the Expos starter jacket while on that same trip. I still have it hanging in my closet at your house.

Thanks for talking your way through security at Dodger Stadium so Vin Scully could autograph the sign I made. I still have that too!

Thanks for teaching me that it's important to hang onto every ticket stub to every sporting event I ever attend.

Thanks for making me a Steelers fan before I could even pronounce the names of Pittsburgh legends like Swann, Bradshaw, Harris, "Mean Joe" Green, Lambert and Webster.

Thanks for letting me sit on your lap as a kid and hold the steering wheel so as to give me the impression that I was actually in control of the car.

Thanks for playing that game with the windshield wipers that used to make my sister and I laugh hysterically.

Thanks for setting up those neighborhood baseball games in front of our house during those long summer nights as a child. Your enthusiasm made everyone on the block want to come out and play.

Thanks for taking me to the batting cages and hitting me ground balls before every little league game.

Thanks for not making me feel bad when I told you I wanted to concentrate on basketball instead of playing baseball in high school.

Thanks for convincing me not to try out for the football team even though Coach Zab was convinced I'd make an ideal cornerback.

Thanks for sharing all your childhood stories with me. They are stories I will never forget.

Thanks for having such great friends. Your friends are all like pseudo-dads to me and because of that, me and my own childhood friends have every reason in the world to always feel safe.

Thanks for marrying mom and then giving me the coolest sister in the world.

Thanks for sending me away to college.

Thanks for always answering the phone when I call.

Thanks for still taking me to USC football games even though everyone there hates me because I won't shut up about Arizona.

Thanks for holding me back that one time when that idiot who sits next to us was hammering me about UA Football during Stoops' inaugural season.

Thanks for teaching me how to sneak beer, in fact any kind of alcohol, into pretty much any public venue. It's one of the few skills I've actually mastered in life.

Thanks for that look in your eye during those years when I was battling cancer. It was a great way to know how much you loved me without having to awkwardly talk about it.

Thanks for listening to me talk about Arizona sports all the time.

Thanks for teaching me how to mute the television during Dodgers and Lakers games and instead watch the game while listening to the radio broadcasts of Vin Scully and Chick Hearn.

Thanks for always giving me the freedom to make my own decisions in life, and then supporting me in those decisions – even if you didn't always agree with them.

Thanks for that conversation we had on the morning of my wedding. It's one I'll never forget.

Thanks, dad. For everything you do, for everything you are. Thanks.

Happy Father's Day!


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