My father was 49 when he passed away seven days before Christmas in 2003.
He wasn’t a tall man, but he was burly. Every day he would grab a glass of milk filled with scraps of cornbread and eat it. In addition, he’d eat a cheese sandwich to top off dinner. All of this while he helped me with math homework during my younger years.
My dad was my best friend as well as my hero (still my hero). We played the Madden NFL andNFL 2k video game series all time… the Miami Dolphins vs. the St. Louis Rams. We’d play the NBA Live series and he’d use the Boston Celtics while I’d take control of the San Antonio Spurs. Every Monday night we’d watch wrestling, eating a bag of Wise barbecue potato chips. Every Sunday during the football season we’d jovially jab each other with innocuous insults over our teams’ performances.
Those are the best memories I have of my father. Spending time with him was always something I appreciated.
The best memory of all, and probably the most bittersweet, is from the last Father’s Day I spent with my dad. June 15, 2003. During that evening, it was game six of the NBA Finals between the New Jersey Nets and San Antonio Spurs. That game was also David Robinson’s final outing as a basketball player. The Spurs closed out the Nets that night, and it was awesome to see “The Admiral” David Robinson hug his father on the court as the Spurs celebrated capturing their second NBA championship. That’s what I think about when I remember that day and that game.
The second best memory I have of my father? Thanksgiving, November 27, 2003. The Miami Dolphins played the Dallas Cowboys and obliterated them 40-21. In the game, Chris Chambers caught three touchdown passes and a couple of them were of him diving, as the entire game I high-fived with my dad. That was the last football game I ever watched with my dad, before he became really sick.
Time spent with my father aside, that wasn’t what made my father my hero. He’s my hero because of the wisdom and lessons he bestowed to me. If it wasn’t for my dad, I doubt I’d be the self-motivated, goal-driven and hard-working person I’d like to think of myself as being today. He taught me to never make excuses, to accept a lot of inevitable failure on my way to accomplishing my goals and to never stop no matter what.
My dad’s been gone for nearly eight years, but all the things I’ve learned from my dad have (and will continue to) made an impact in my every day life ever since.