After Further Review … Next Sunday is Father’s Day – a day when sons and daughters pause in their daily rushing- through-life to pay tribute (giving a Hallmark card of “thanks”?) to their Dads. The amount of time I had being in the same home as my children when they were growing up pales to the amount of time since then that we have not.
Yet as a Father, the love, respect and caring for each of my children has become stronger. Distance and time must NEVER diminish that love. The respect, love and gratitude I have for my father, who’s been gone now 44 years, also has not lessened. The joy of Father’s Day is more than son or daughter to Father, but equally Father to his children. That’s why recalling Gene’s story is a special Father’s Day tribute:
Gene’s son was a scrawny, gangly kid who couldn’t get the ball up to the basket, yet he continued to try over and over, even after dark. Add to this his fear of most everything – elevators, flying, and of course, failure. Even so, he left home to go to a college 800 miles from his small mid-western home to pursue his basketball dream. How could this gaunt of a kid, even though he had some success in his town, hope to make the team in this basketball powerhouse of a college? The athletes recruited to play at this school are in the top 1-2% in the nation. Gene was proud, but aghast at his son’s courage.
The measure of a man is not that he gets knocked down, but how he gets back up. Gene’s son was not an exception to that. He steeled his body by performing all the menial, and meaningful, chores a Father would want of a son. He learned dignity and showed class in resisting the temptation to criticize his teammates, as well as resisting the opportunity to leave school early, staying for his 4th year. He said, “Dad, when I graduate, I’ll have something that others (who left college early to go to the pros) don’t – a college degree!” Gene could not have been prouder.
The spindly kid who left Poplar Bluff, Missouri, gateway to the Ozarks, has flown more miles than (perhaps) all the citizens of his home town, ridden in elevators higher than any in that town, and graduated last month from the University of North Carolina as a 4-time NCAA All-American. His name – Tyler Hansborough.
Will you cherish the love of your parent/child relationship regardless of time and distance?