A family affair: Proud of dear old dad

Stillwater may not be able to offer the entertainment that Austin, Texas can -- but Brett Anderson is willing to do something no kid has ever done for his father before. He will sacrifice his beloved mall in the Lone Star capital for Sam Walton's bargain paradise.

He probably wouldn't have admitted it to anyone but his family, which could be why his father, Oklahoma State's newest head coach Frank Anderson, did the talking for him.


And lucky for his father, Brett Anderson has a pretty good sense of humor.


"When we left here the other day, it was with a deep feeling in our heart that this would be a place that we could live and stay for a long time," Frank said. "The first comment we asked our son was, 'What do you think?' because it is always tough to uproot kids. And he goes, 'Dad – they don't have a mall.'""


"I said, 'You know what? Yeah they do, they have a strip mall over there,'" Frank laughed.


"He said, ‘No, dad – that's Wal-Mart.'"


But, opposite to how 15 year old kids normally react, Brett didn't seem to mind good ol' pops poking fun at him in front of all the onlookers. In fact, after the press conference had concluded and he had been cornered by media members from all across the Southwest, Brett confided, "I kind of like this. I have done some interviews before, but I think I could handle this stuff."


Standing up taller and panning the crowd that was staring back, he decided the attention was really nice.


"I feel important."


Of course, the high school sophomore was using a sarcastic tone, but it wasn't hard to see the little bit of truth to his words. He was was warming up to the spotlight, but not his own spotlight, he enjoyed seeing his dad bask in a shining moment of his own.


Seeing his father command the attention of about 100 people at once made him smile.


"This is really so good for him," Brett said. "Of course, I think he is great at what he does, but it is nice to see that so many other people do, too. It really does make me proud."


The father-son relationship that seems to reflect a Norman Rockwell painting goes much deeper than baseball.


"He has taught me so much about the game," Brett said. "It is really kind of cool to have a great college coach like him as my dad. Baseball is a huge part of who we are, my dad has always shared that part of his life with us. College baseball season is at the same time as my season, so it is hard for him to come to very many of my games, but he is always coaching me and giving me tips, he watches tape and stuff. But he always teaches me other things also, things that are more important than baseball."


Pretty good coming from a 15 year old kid. But, then, every high school sophomore doesn't have a dad named Frank Anderson.


Brett smiles slyly, then beams, then leans in as to tell a secret.


"Yeah, I am pretty lucky kid all around, what can I say?"


In Stillwater, however, the secret is out of the bag. After winning a national championship and boasting a pitching staff at Texas that was in the Top 5 (2002) and the top 15 (2003) in national ERA percentages, any college baseball fan worth his salt could attest to "Frank Anderson" as being a household name.


According to Brett, that is okay with him. Moving eight hours north, and to the opposite side of the Red River doesn't intrude on his life at all – because just like his father, Brett accepts any challenge.


"It is always exciting to move to a new place and meet new people and try new things," Brett said. "I know this is going to be a great thing for my dad and his career, and I support him. It is pretty cool to see him getting this opportunity."


As a southpaw starter at Georgetown High in Texas, Brett is anxious to showcase his "Anderson pitching techniques" to his new classmates at Stillwater High.


"They tell me (Stillwater) is pretty good, and the team is always a contender," Brett said. "All this is pretty exciting. But it is really all about Dad. He has earned this."


Moving to a new town will just give him another place to make the sidewalks hazardous, Brett joked.


Will he be terrorizing the streets of Stillwater soon?


"Hopefully," he said. "Watch out for me, I'll be out there beside you."


His 16th birthday approaches in February, just in time for the beginning of the OSU baseball season.When dad comes home frustrated with baseball happenings, Brett has a remedy already intact.


"That's right, just head away from it all," he laughed. "Wal-Mart and the strip mall – that is probably the only time they will come in handy."


Brandi Ball can be reached via e-mail at brandi@osuinsider.com

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