Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day!

Being a father, it's kinda weird for me to say that since it's my day now, too. But since my father is still with us (though we had quite the scare on my birthday a few years ago), it's totally fitting for me to say it myself.

I may be one of those rare baseball freaks who didn't spend a lot time at the ballpark with his dad. I can count on one hand the number of ball games my dad took me to when I was younger. Heck, I don't even think it would take more than one finger. In spite of Cheney being pretty much in our back yard (I grew up in Puyallup), I didn't attend a game there until I was in college. I do barely remember when I was quite young (i.e. before elementary school) my dad being in a semi-pro league sponsored by the bank he worked for. We'd go watch him every now and then, but I was too busy being a brat to really much appreciate it.

We were huge Sonics and Seahawks fans growing up, though. I went to several games when the Sonics played in the Kingdome, and the pre-Key Arena arena days. I vividly remember the 1978-79 season, and even the year before that. People around here remember that the Sonics won it all in '79, but they forget that there was some seriously bad blood between them and the Bullets, as the Bullets stole the championship from the Sonics in '78. I remember thinking that Jack Sikma could kick Wes Unseld's ass, and passionately hating Mr. Unseld. Of course, I picked up the art of yelling at the refs from my father. He was always passionately into the games. And I, of course, am keeping the family tradition by sharing that skill with my son.

And then there were the Seahawks.

Come Sunday, everything in our house revolved around the Seahawks. Though they'd rarely be on TV, we'd listen to Pete Gross religiously after church. And if the Seahawks game was an early one, we'd be sure to attend the early service. "And Zorn throws it to Largent, who ducks away from one defender and finds his way to the end zone! Touchdown SEA-HAWKS!!!" That tickled my ears so much more than the boring preaching I was subject to in church. Of course, times change and so do priorities. My faith is now much more important to me than my sports fandom (and you all know by now how big of a sports fan I am).

It wasn't Father's Day, but I'll never forget one of my favorite moments with my father. When I was in third grade, my mom put my name into the little box at a local department store one day (waaaay before South Hill mall was built -- likely at the Tacoma Mall) , and a few weeks later we got a phone call. Evidently my name had been drawn out of that box, and I was selected as the Seahawks' Mascot of the Week. Of course, being in a house full of Seahawks fans, did my mom get to take the credit and reap the rewards of that subtle victory? No. While I doubt that my parents played the Sierra Mist version of Rock-Paper-Scissors (or any version for that matter), my dad rightfully was chosen as my chaperone.

To make a long story short, I got to meet my "heroes". Jim Zorn, Steve Largent, Dr. Dan Doornink, Dave Brown. And, even before I appreciated him like I do now, Pete Gross. I got to go in the locker room, up in the press box, and out on the field before the game. I also had my picture taken and placed up on the big screen early in the game. My dad whipped out the 110 camera and snapped a few shots of the low-hertz screen. Fortunately he got lucky and synced the shutter speed of the camera with the cycle rate and got one full head shot of me on the big screen (the others either had the top of the frame or the bottom). I didn't know the player I got to have my picture taken with after the game even then, and I've completely forgotten now. That picture, I'm sure, lurks somewhere within the bowels of my parent's house.

Anyway. Unfortunately I can't wax nostalgic on memories of baseball games with my father. I can, though, remember many other great moments.

I love you, dad!


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