I guess the first real memories I have of my father are that of him playing softball. When I was a small child, Daddy played on some really good softball teams and traveled a lot playing for those teams. He has played for numerous state championship teams and even went to a national tournament. I got to tag along with him and be the team's bat boy often falling asleep on the bench on some very late nights. It was during that time of my life that I realized that my Dad was a super hero.
Daddy could hit a softball further than anyone in this town had ever seen. Every one at the parks would talk about how strong and powerful his swing was. He would often win the home run trophy at the end of tournaments for hitting the most home runs. The legend of his super hero status was also fueled in my mind by his college buddies that told me stories of how Daddy was one of only two people that could hit a home run on the college softball fields at Georgia Southern. What is now known as Beautiful Eagle Creek once served as a home run line for intramural athletics. It was a long way from home plate and only four home runs were ever hit into the ditch. Daddy hit three of them! Daddy played third base. He always played even with the bag and challenged balls that were hit to him with a bull like mentality. I never saw him make an error. He was fearless! His ball playing days made this young boy believe that he really was the coolest Dad on the planet.
Daddy is one of those people that is good at everything. I am sort of like that. I can pick up any sport or hobby and do it pretty well, but Daddy always did it better. He could shoot doves better than anyone. He could catch more fish. He could kill bigger deer. He could hit a golf ball a country mile as well as putt lights out. But all of those things fail to compare to what he was truly great at. My Dad was a great father to both of his kids and he raised us to respect him and my mother, love God, and live life the right way by showing respect for authority and having respect for ourselves. I was a pretty good kid growing up and stayed out of trouble for the most part. I went on to college and did very well. I consider myself a pretty successful banker and I owe all of that to my mother and father who have always been there for there son!
As I get ready for Father's Day tomorrow with my own children, I can only hope to be the kind of father that my Dad has been for me. I already feel that I am not measuring up because my children do not mind as well as I did when I was there age, but I keep trying to be a good disciplinarian as well as a loving father and keep wishing that what I am trying to teach them will eventually stick.
If you ask Daddy today, he will tell you that he regrets playing so much softball when we were young. He says that he feels like he missed too much by being away on the weekends. He will say that he was not being the father that he should have been. I will say that that is simply not true. No one could ask for a better father than I had as a child growing up or as a grown man today. I am very lucky to not only have a father son relationship with my Dad, but a friendship as well. Big John is my best friend and one of the boys and I am glad that we can have that type of relationship with one another!
Happy Father's Day Big John! Even though we are now old dudes and I can whip you at golf any time I want, you are still my super hero!