Saying thanks to Dad

First of all, let me wish a Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there.

For nearly 40 years, my dad has been an employee of the same company — AT&T. Staying with one company for that long is one of the rarest things you’ll see these days. I haven’t been a professional for three years yet, and I’ve already had three different jobs!

He deserves a lot of credit for being a model of success and consistency to my brother and me, but a great father doesn’t always mean the children will live productive lives. Plenty of kids don’t pan out, even when they have parents who set great examples for them.

But what my dad (and mom) seemed to do right is what so many parents do wrong these days. I grew up at the beginning of the everyone-gets-a-medal-and-don’t-dare-tell-my-kid-he-isn’t-special era. When I played youth baseball, a lot of the coaches’ kids were pitching when they weren’t good pitchers, batting cleanup when they should have been batting eighth and being coddled by their daddy coach.

We called them “Coach’s kid,” and everyone knew what that meant. It usually wasn’t a compliment.

Dad coached a large chunk of my little league baseball teams, but I definitely wasn’t a “Coach’s kid.” Don’t get me wrong — if I was one of the best kids on a team, I’d get to play center field or pitch, but if there were better players, those kids would play the positions they were good at playing.

It made me want to be better.

And growing up, that’s the one thing I was consistently told. If you want to be better, it’s your responsibility. Be good at what you do, and good things will happen.

Even when the coaching role ended, my father came to my incredibly-stressful tennis matches. He’d sit with all the parents and watch our band performances, and he has become a big-time supporter of my brother’s career. Trust me — he would have never been a Broadway fanatic if my brother hadn’t chosen that career path.

My father hasn’t always been easy on his two sons, but the way he raised us made us strive for success in our own lives. Whatever you want can be earned if you work hard enough, and when you have the means to do so, give to those who need it. Good, conservative values that have improved the first 20-something years of our lives.

So thanks, Dad.

Enjoy a moment with another sports dad, Antonio Cromartie

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