SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: My hero, my dad, Jim Dickson, is turning 80

Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 04:26 PM.

Here’s a little piece of American history for everyone. This Sunday, Oct. 28, marks the 126th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty’s dedication.

To be perfectly honest, I won’t be thinking much about Lady Liberty on Sunday, but I will be thinking about my dad, Jim Dickson, who celebrates his 80th birthday that day.

I get a little emotional when I think about Dad. His health is declining and I’m not sure how many more birthdays he’ll have with us. Dad was my first coach and, along with my mom, has been my biggest fan and supporter.

It seems like only yesterday that Dad was sitting in Jack Foster Stadium watching my Gulf Breeze team pick up our sixth win of the 1974 season to become the first winning football team in the school’s then five-year history.

Way back then, even when I wasn’t on the team, my parents made the trips from Gulf Breeze to Niceville, Baker, Crestview, DeFuniak Springs, Jay and whatever other little Northwest Florida community that had the bright lights of football Fridays in the fall when the Dolphins played.

The relationship Dad and I share is not much different from millions of other father-son relationships from the 1960s and 1970s. Just as dads in Crestview, Baker and Laurel Hill coached their sons’ youth league baseball, basketball or football teams, Dad coached me in the finer points of the games we both loved.

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