This is my second year of being a dad, and I’ve got to tell you there is nothing like it. Rough times aside – cleaning up thrown food, some sleepless nights, or the what seem like millions of doctors appointments our son in particular has gone through so far – I wouldn’t have being a dad any other way. Just like, I’m sure, my dad wouldn’t want it any other way with me (right, Dad?!?!?!).
Many father/son/daughter combos have a wide variety of how they bond and spend time together. Many times it’s through sports. And, hopefully, many dads aren’t trying to live vicariously through their slightly more athletic than they were at that age children. I remember my dad was one of the coaches on my little league teams. He ‘coached’ me in my bowling league where I placed in a few scholarship tournaments here and there. As I grew up and the sports changed, he was there through it all. He encouraged and never let criticism overshadow the positives – through sports and through life lessons.
Our biggest bonds come through watching (and subsequently talking about) Pittsburgh sports – mainly the Steelers and Penguins. He took me to my first Pirates game and Penguin game. I was just becoming a teen when the Penguins won back to back Stanley Cups. The Steelers had a few playoff runs and came close to winning a Super Bowl early in the Bill Cowher era – who knew growing up in the 90’s could turn out that fun? Even after moving out for what turned out to be for good and heading off to college the ‘sports talk’ never stopped with my dad. During our weekly catching up phone call, we would (and still do) spend a good ten to fifteen minutes talking about what’s going on in the sporting world – particularly in Pittsburgh. But, we always land on the Steelers and talk about them the most. It’s hard not to. He was still fairly young when the Steelers won four championships in six years. And, I was just about the same age as he was in that era when the Steelers won Super Bowls XL and XLIII. The sad thing is he and I weren’t around each other for the last two Super Bowl wins – victory phone calls only.
It’s been fun growing up and maturing as an adult using sports as an avenue of communicating and bonding with my dad. I hope that I can share very similar experiences – especially a few more Steeler and Penguin championships – while my son grows up. He already loves watching football, soccer and golf on TV with me. He loves his little Steelers 101 book (as many of you saw already). He’s got the ‘Here We Go’ chant down. We’ve got the T-ball and mini soccer net setup out in the backyard – gifted from his Pap and Grammie back in Pittsburgh. Just waiting now for those things to catch on. And if not, well then that will be fine too.
So Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. And if you’re lucky enough to still have your dad around, be sure to wish him one too and tell him how much you love him.