There are two kinds of sons: those who end up like their dads, and those who won't admit that they ended up like their dads. It's inevitable. This man raised you from birth; you're going to pick up some personality traits along the way. No father-son bond is more fundamental than the bond that revolves around sports. As a kid, you choose your sports teams for a number of reasons, but mostly because they're the teams Dad likes. I grew up in the Bay Area, but that wasn't a factor in my liking the Giants, 49ers, and Sharks. I like those teams because my dad likes those teams. Similarly, I'm not a big NBA fan because my dad isn't a big NBA fan; it wasn't on at our house very much, and I never grew attached to the sport, not even the hometown Warriors. Dad is the coach, the teacher, the team bus driver, and the guru. Dad taught me how to keep score. He taught me how to play golf. He taught me how to spit sunflower seeds. He taught me that you never leave a game early - I had to find that one out the hard way as a bratty 10 year old, listening to Brian Johnson's homer sail into the stands from the parking lot. He taught me never to kick over his beer. And he taught me, unconsciously, the art of nervously watching a game. After twenty-two years of speaking and watching sports with my dad, I now say and do the exact same things as him during a game, right down to the number of claps just before a 3-2 pitch in the eighth inning. It scares my sister. She can't watch sports with us anymore.
Thank you, Dad, for being there to catch me when I almost drove the golf cart off the bridge. Though, to be fair, I was like 11 and shouldn't have been driving the cart anyway. So maybe we both learned a lesson that day.
Thanks for letting my quit soccer to try basketball, even though that was the sport you played.
Thank you for teaching me that winning wasn't everything. In my first seven years of El Cerrito Youth Baseball, my team never finished higher than fourth. When I was thirteen, we won one game the whole season, and it was by forfeit. But I kept playing because, no matter the outcome of the game, life remained the same. And there was always another game just around the corner.
Thank you for the dozens of rounds of golf, and for my first set of clubs. And thanks for not getting too mad when I took your driver without asking, broke it, and hid it in the garage instead of telling you about it.
Thanks for playing catch, even though it's probably the reason why your shoulder is all screwy.
Thanks for taking me to Candlestick Park, instead of taking me fishing. If I'm gonna sit around and be cold for three hours, there might as well be something to look at.
The reason I first looked at the University of Oregon as a college destination was because you said, "I think it'd be cool if one of my kids went to Oregon." So thanks for that.
Happy early Father's Day to all the dads and granddads out there.