It is Father's Day, and so I will refrain from writing about LaVar Ball and all other Sports Dads From Hell. I'm sure they meant/mean well. I'm sure I am grateful every day I A) was lousy at pretty much everything that involved moving, and B) had a dad who didn't try to build an apparel line around me, didn't hog the spotlight on "my" behalf and didn't use me to vindicate his own pale athletic legacy.
No, sir. My dad -- an electrician by trade and skilled woodworker who, in his encore career as an employee of the Mackinac State Parks Commission, once oversaw the building of a barn using only 18th century tools -- taught me other things. The importance of doing things right. The value of keeping your word. A love of history that produced a confirmed Civil War nerd who now has a telling photo hanging in his office at Manchester University: Two ancient Gettysburg veterans, one Confederate and one Union, shaking hands over the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge.
Weirdly, considering I grew up to be a sportswriter for 38 years, we never bonded over it the way some fathers and sons do. The pinnacle of my dad's Sports Dad history was watching his son get his butt kicked by a strong headwind running the 2-mile at Bishop Dwenger one day, and telling my mother (who was sure I was going to quit) that I wasn't going to quit.
And I didn't. They might have timed me that day with a sundial, but there was no way on God's green earth I was going to get beat by the bleeping WIND. Stupid Mother Nature.
It's a story I've told before, and it's one I told in detail here a year ago, Except for the part about the Cavs, the Warriors and Game 7 -- which the Cavs won, vindicating what a lot of Cleveland dads, and dads everywhere, told their sons about never giving up -- everything I wrote then still applies.
Love you, Dad. Whatever small success I've had in my life, I owe to all those Dad lessons you taught me all those years ago. You're the best man I ever knew.