When it comes to Father’s Day, I’m pretty much in the sweet spot of life. Not only do I get to pick up the phone and call my 77-year-old dad, but I get a greeting from my 5-year-old son as well. I’ve already tailored many activities with my kid around the ones I experienced with my father. As you might have guessed, many of those memories involve sports.
It all started for this Texas native at a young age. My dad and I bonded over wins and losses by the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks.
We’ll never forget being in attendance for that Bobby Witt one-hitter at Arlington Stadium back in 1987 or the golf ball Mike Sullivan tossed me walking off the 13th green after a birdie at Colonial sometime in the early 80s. Arriving early to the ballpark to watch Nolan Ryan warm-up from the first row was always fun, as was sitting in the first row behind the SMU bench as the Pony Express took on the Texas Longhorns at Texas Stadium.
I was lucky enough to have my dad in my group when I made my first hole-in-one, and I was in his group when he made his fourth. We both three-putted the island green 17th at Sawgrass and almost broke 80 at Harbour Town. My dad did the driving when I won a set of Dave Pelz Featherlight golf clubs at the Byron Nelson junior clinic in Las Colinas. Unfortunately, that roll of film didn’t develop right. Thus, we have no proof of D.A. Weibring handing 10-year-old me those sticks.
As I grew older, the experiences grew bigger. In 1994, Brazilian soccer fans painted our faces with green and yellow lipstick tubes as we exited the escalator on the way to our seats at the World Cup quarterfinals at the Cotton Bowl. Brazil beat Holland 3-2 on that day.
Eight years later, we found ourselves in the freezing cold in Salt Lake City. The occasion? The opening ceremonies of the 2002 Olympics.
In 2008, we put in for the ticket lottery at Wimbledon. We not only scored tickets, but we scored front row seats for the men’s quarterfinals on center court. Roger smoked Mario Ancic before Rafa roared past Andy Murray. Not bad witnessing the two GOATS of tennis on the grandest stage in the game.
As a dad myself, I’m most active with my son playing sports. He’s already on a one-name basis with Tiger Woods and local hero Gary Woodland. He’s asked to be Rafael Nadal two Halloweens in a row. He loves the Jayhawks, Luka Doncic and more recently, Ultimate Tag (thanks a lot, COVID-19!).
As he grows up, I can only hope to share the same experiences with him that my dad shared with me. Only one problem: my dad set the bar awfully high. Thanks dad. I love you.