SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Belated wishes for dads

Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 05:29 PM.

My dad grew up in the 1930s and 40s, when baseball gloves were primitive even by the standards of the 1960s and 1970s. Maybe that’s why he always insisted on his players catching the ball with two hands.

More than 40 years after he coached my last Little League game, I can still hear Dad shouting, “If the good Lord had meant for you to catch a ball with one hand, he wouldn’t have given you the other one.”

Whether your dad is 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-8, when you were in the first or second grade, he seemed 10 feet tall. I hope you had a good enough relationship with your dad that you tried to walk in his stride or try his shoes on for size.

My dad would tell me that I might get to be 6-foot-6 and weigh 280 pounds, but I’d never be able to whip him. I never made it to 6 feet, but I have tipped the scales at more than 300 pounds, and Dad is now a feeble old man. I want to believe that he can still whip me and that those strong arms that once carried me can still handle his share of the load.

Dad’s health is failing now, and I’m surprised and thankful he was still around to celebrate Father’s Day 2013. There’s a good chance he won’t be around for next Father’s Day or even for his birthday in late October.

I celebrate Father’s Day every day now. I call Dad each day to tell him how much I love him. I know we will never play another game of catch or shoot baskets again on an old asphalt basketball court, but it doesn’t matter.

Each day remains a gift to share a laugh or just to remember while strengthening a bond that only a dad and his boy can know.

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