This Father’s Day more than any other I really thought about how my dad has shaped me into who I am. He’s taught me so much and always been there to support me in any big decision I’ve made (even if he knew it wasn’t the smartest choice but I had to learn on my own). Although I haven’t spent the majority of my life living under the same roof as him (my parents split when I was 4) he has always made an effort to teach me as much as he could.
Education was always the most important thing to him and every other weekend when I visited him, he had a learning activity arranged for me. I remember learning to cross my Ts in writing, that 12 times 12 equals 144, and how to read while at his house, all ahead of my current school curriculum, of course. In order to get me to spend time learning on the weekends, he rewarded me with trips to Chuck E Cheese and Disneyland whenever possible. As I got older, he taught me how to type and paid me 60 dollars once I learned to type 60 words per minute. Now I can type over 100 words per minute, all thanks to my addiction to my Typing Tutor computer program. I also inherited his love of spreadsheets (he once countered my request for a raise in allowance with a budget spreadsheet categorized by weekly, monthly and amortized yearly expenses).
But it wasn’t just school that he helped me with. Sports have also been a big part of our relationship. Even if he didn’t fully understand the sport (gymnastics for example), he bought books and tried to learn it (and gave me the books to read which I never did…) so he could help me become better. My attention span wasn’t long and never could decide on any sport, so my Dad helped teach me how to shoot a basketball, hit a softball, balance on a beam, snow plow on skis, ride a bike, skate on these crazy new things called roller blades, and swim correct freestyle. We would go to the batting cages on the weekends during softball season and spend hours (or it seemed so anyway) shooting hoops during basketball season. He came to as many of my games as he could and when I was on the swim team in high school he’d make it to my meets fairly often as well.
Once I left high school and entered college we no longer had the love of sports to bond over and I was more interested in things like boys and parties. However, he was always there for me when I needed to know which type of digital camera to buy, what a cell phone contract is, or how to pump my tires at the gas station. When I left my job and traveled through Southeast Asia for four months, instead of reminding me that the economy was at it’s worst (it was 2008) and that I should save my money and keep working, he supported my decision and read every one of my travel blog posts.
Only in the last year have we begun to bond over sports again. After coming out to cheer us on at the Surf City Marathon, Oceanside Half Ironman and Ironman CdA last year, my dad and my step mom Denice got a bit of inspiration. They bought P90X, finished the program and transformed their bodies and began to train for their first half marathon (and 15k!). In the process, I grew closer with both of them. Running my dad in for the last half mile or so of his first half marathon was an incredibly happy moment in my life and I won’t forget it. Knowing that I helped get him to that finish line just as he helped me so many times over the years was amazingly rewarding.
Happy Father’s Day Dad! I love you and I can’t wait for many more milestones!
Has your dad shaped you athletically?