Play ball! A few thoughts on Father's Day
One of the greatest joys in my life is watching my sons Kaiser and Kanon play sports. Win or lose. Good day or otherwise. I don't tell them that often enough. I think they know, but it's the best thing you can say to your kids after a game at any age. I love watching you play. It's the best advice I've heard for youth coaches. Less instruction. More affection. Goes a long way. Because it's true what they say. Players, especially when they're your children, don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. My coaching days are over, at least from the bench, but I'm going to try to do better on that score from the bleachers from now on.
What I also hope my sons know is that, as much as I love watching my ballers hit a tough shot or make a great pass, it means even more to me to see them perform a simple act of kindness. Like Kaiser giving me a Florida Gators polo as an early Father's Day gift so I could wear it at his high school graduation and going-away party. Or Kanon, after a long day at basketball team camp, helping clean up after the party in the middle of a monsoon without a peep of complaint.
Little moments like those are the best part of being a Dad.
This Father's Day feels different because it'll be the last one with our entire family under the same roof all the time. Kaiser is getting ready to head to Gainesville to start college at the University of Florida, and it's starting to hit me. It ain't easy to be this proud and this sad at the same time. Kanon's going to get tired of Cindy and me hugging him way more than usual for the next two years.
I don't usually share this much, but hey, it's Father's Day. It's my day to be thankful that I have a great Dad, who's still here at age 86 for me to lean on, and that I have two sons who, despite all the turnovers and errors I've made as their Dad (and their coach), have become wonderful young men with bright futures who make me smile inside way more than they know or I show. And thank God for Cindy. Without her as our team Mom, our team would fall apart, and none of those smiles would be possible.
Better wrap this up before I flood my keyboard with this salty discharge. Happy Father's Day to all the great Dads out there who coach their kids, cheer for their kids, inspire and motivate their kids and spend some of the greatest moments of their lives with their kids at a court or a field. All because you love watching them play.
Tell them. Because one day you're coaching your son in ragball and pointing him toward first base as he makes contact, exits the batter's box and heads toward third. That way, Kaiser. Or your other son heads to the concession stand for fries in the middle of an inning because, as he told Mom and everyone else who wondered why he was wandering, "Dada ticked me off the team." Kanon, you can't just hit. You have to play the field, too.
Hug those kids. And those memories. It's Father's Day. Hugs all around.