I ran across a familiar name last week while looking over Navarre High School’s football roster, getting ready for a game between the Raiders and Crestview.
When I saw Brock Barberi, I immediately thought of an old teammate, Tony Barberi, the starting tailback and an inside linebacker on the first winning football team in Gulf Breeze High School history way back in 1974.
I always get a kick out of seeing old teammates and classmates’ children play ball.
I have watched the son of the homecoming queen my senior year play baseball at Washington. And the son of another class beauty play football at Catholic.
Most of the offspring of old classmates have followed in their parents’ footsteps and attended Gulf Breeze. An equally large group has played at Navarre, which wasn't even a dream on the drawing board back in the fall of 1975.
I'm often amazed at how much many of the sons resemble their dads on the playing field. Perhaps they play another position, or they might not be the same size, but I can see many of the athletic skills and traits their dads displayed so long ago.
I'm sure many of you have similar memories watching the sons and daughters of former local stars. I never saw Dexter Day play baseball or football for the Bulldogs, but watching his daughter, Hannah, play catcher for the Crestview softball team from 2008-2011 was a real treat.
Bulldog football and baseball player Matt Gillis is following in the footsteps of his dad, Tim Gillis, the Crestview baseball coach and an assistant football coach. I've been told that Tim was a late bloomer athletically, but his hard work and dedication, along with a growth spurt in college, allowed him to play several years of minor league baseball.
Coaching spouses Kathy and Steve Combest played their high school sports in Mississippi, but their son, Chase and daughter, Chelsea, were multi-sport stars at Baker.
Baker assistant football coach Brian Wagner was a standout receiver in his day for the Gators going on to play college ball at Mississippi College. Brian's son, Logan, started as a receiver, but played quarterback his junior and senior years.
Logan had opportunities to play college football, but he wasn't willing to sacrifice academics for athletics. Logan's sister, Haley, was another in the line of children following the athletic success of their parents. Haley was a star volleyball and basketball player at Baker, and like her brother, she opted for the academic side of college life.
If I'm still on the job in four or five years I might start covering the grandchildren of old teammates and the children of athletes I covered when I first arrived in Okaloosa County in December of 2000.
Time stops for no man. And the passing seasons are full of surprises and reminders that the greatest legacy an athlete leaves is not in the record book, but in the happy and active children they raise.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.