Inducted into the Football Hall of Fame #family #afatherslove #livinginthenow
May 3, 2015
When I was a kid, I resented my father, his siblings, and buddies, who consistently hoarded the television to watch football. They yelled, screamed, drank, and laughed like college fraternity sophomores. I often walked away floating on my artistic puffery, assured that football and anyone watching it was ignorant of the important things in life. I even went as far as embarrassing my dad—in front of his friends—by asking him about a homerun, when I knew it was a touchdown.
Last evening as I watched my nephew give his state-championship father and this year’s Football Coach Hall of Fame Honoree his trophy, I realized that football wasn’t the problem at all with Dad and I. I always thought my father unappreciative of my artistic side. I had an epiphany, though, that I was not angry with him anymore. I was disappointed that I couldn’t share in his joy and camaraderie, back then.
During my nephew’s speech, honoring his father before the award, my nephew shared how hard it was, sometimes, to live up to the hard chore of being an athlete—and even more importantly—a champion. He shared how his father’s ideals, though tough at times, kept him on point throughout his childhood until the day he was his father’s quarterback for the winning state championship game. He suggested that his dad was one of the most important influences in his life—spiritually, mentally, and at helping him capture what was the most important parts of life—especially family.
When his father got up to receive the award, he shared that when his son was a freshman in high school, he admittedly did the unthinkable—read his son’s journal. When he opened the journal, he noticed one thing: an entry that read, “I want to win a State Championship for my father!”
My brother-in-law pointed out that this moment changed his life, because he realized that his son didn’t want to be a champion for himself, but for his father. Through teary eyes, I had to wonder what would have happened had I chosen to want to honor my father, instead of humiliate him. Maybe instead of constantly chasing my father’s love, or worse yet, pretending I didn’t need, I, too, would have had a moment similar to my nephew and his father, while my dad was still alive.
I realized, though, how grateful I had become just sitting and watching my family’s love flourish around me. In some osmosis way, I was able to regain some of that love and compassion I had missed with my own father, now sitting around a banquet table with my family dressed to the nines, observing this special moment in my sister’s and her family’s life.
Sometimes it takes years to heal from something. Sometimes it takes a moment. Tonight, I love my dad more than I thought I could.
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