The Williams sisters’ father. Tiger’s Dad. Todd and Marv Marinovich. Griffey Sr. and Jr. Lonzo and Lavar.
Some were great for their kids, others had bad characteristics. But to call any of the famous sports fathers in history “bad” is a disservice to fatherhood. Because at the end of the day, they, like every other father in history, just wanted the best for their child.
That link between fatherhood and sports has always been present, and you don’t have to watch Jeremy Schapp talk about it on E:60 to know that it exists. You see it at the Little League baseball field in mid-June or in the stands of a JV football game on a Saturday morning in the fall. You see it at a cold and windy high school tennis match in March or on the sidelines of an all-day cross country meet. You see it in the homemade backboard, or the markings of a free throw line in the driveway, in perfect relation to NBA proportions. It’s there in the wiffle ball games in the backyard, and at the driving range. You see it in the high five after a win, and in the high five after a loss. We see it outside the realm of sports, in the audience of a play, a concert, or an art exhibit. Most importantly, you see it in the moments you wouldn’t expect to see anyone. Nobody wants to be freezing their ass off at an early-season tennis match. Nobody wants to watch 8 year olds play baseball. And NOBODY wants to go to cross country meets. In those moments, when you see a bunch of middle-age men just absolutely toughing it out for the sake of their child, you understand the essence of fatherhood.
Like the title implies, there’s no way a shoutout on a blog does justice to what our fathers have done. Because it’s hard to put into words the impact that seeing your dad coach you and both your brothers baseball teams in one summer has on you. The same goes for the impact of hearing the loud claps from the crowd even after you clearly just fouled somebody, or being told “play hard and have fun” before every game for a solid 2 decades. There’s no way to put that impact into words, but those lessons we learned from y’all through sports, haven’t gone away as we aged. Even though the venue may be different, we’re still just trying to play hard and have fun. And the fact we’re all semi-functioning adults in life is enough of a testament that whatever you all did, worked.