#53 Father’s Day

Ok, sort of a no-brainer selection for today’s story.

Father’s Day; normally I would be watching the last few holes of the US Open, just as I was at Pebble Beach last year.  No Open this week, but a pretty good story at the RBC Heritage where there are a bunch of great golfers playing great golf without any fans around to distract them.

SSOMG doesn’t need to do any research for this one.  I considered talking to my siblings to see what they could remember about my Dad’s sports adventures.  I elected not to and to just tell my version.

So my memories of my father’s interest and participation in sports are probably a little off.  After all, I was young and it was many years ago….almost 50 years now since my graduation from high school.

Dad was not much of a professional sports fan.  He rarely watched a football, baseball or basketball game.  I doubt if he followed individual stories other than the obvious ones like Jerry West of the Lakers or Sandy Koufax or Johnny Unitas.

My Dad was born in 1922.  Times were much different back then.  He graduated from high school around 1940.  I think he played some tennis at Senn High School in Chicago and may have participated in gymnastics.  He went on to Northwestern, where he attended at the same time as Otto Graham. Otto was a hall of fame NFL quarterback, and finished 3rd in the 1943 Heisman voting after a great college career.  Dad mentioned Otto’s name a few times, but didn’t seem to have much affection for him.

Growing up, I am sure that my Dad was very encouraging; As far as participating, maybe not so much. 

I don’t remember him owning a baseball glove.  I can’t remember him ever throwing a football.  Basketball seemed really out of the question.  Winter sports consisted of snowball throwing, the few times we ever made it above the snow-line in Southern California.  I know he had owned a bike when he was a youngster, but I am quite sure he never rode one as an adult.  I think you know the answer about skateboarding or surfing.  His adult sports participation was pretty much limited to swimming and golf and rooting me on from the stands or the dugout during my early playing days.

I guess if there was a sport we need to give him credit for it was golf.  Somehow despite commitments to the family and to his corrugated box businesses over the years, he was able to get away at least once, if not twice a weekend for a round or two of golf.  I don’t think I can explain it.  I am not sure why golf, and what the attraction was.  He rarely broke 90 and probably never dipped below 82 or 83.  But I have to thank him for getting me involved in the game.  There are certain aspects about golf that are worthwhile; it teaches you concentration; it helps tame your temper; it makes you humble.  Of course golf has always been one of my biggest frustrations.  How can it be so difficult to hit a stationery ball straight down the fairway?  Really?

I have always been a golf fan.  I think part of the interest for me is that it is an individual sport and not a team sport; you carry the weight of winning and losing on your own back.  The fact there are no guaranteed paychecks at the end of the day sets it apart from most other professional sports.  You have to earn what you earn….no riding the coat-tails of your teammates.

SSOMG gives thanks for my parents support.  I am sure they watched more baseball games and football games than they cared to.  They never discouraged or prevented me from participating, and they were usually on the sidelines to cheer me on.  SSOMG says happy Father’s day and hopes kids everywhere get similar support and encouragement to get involved in something active and outdoors.

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