Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Father's Day

This post marks a special post for me besides wishing all fathers a wonderful day with family and friends on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Before I address my main goal in this post, let me first explain the other reason this is a special post.

This post marks the three hundredth post I have written on this blog! My first post was August 1, 2007. It was entitled "When Bridges Fall" and you can imagine what the topic was for that post. If you would like to read it, click here. If that does not get you there, click on this link: I would be curious to see if you think my posts have changed since then.

Now, let me address the intent of this post. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you read my last post about my father and what would have been his eighty-first birthday. I told you in that post there was plenty more I wanted to write about my dad but it already rambled on long enough. As you know, some of my posts get rather lengthy as I am using voice recognition software Dragon Dictate; and once I get started speaking, I have a hard time stopping!

Like I stated in last week's post, my dad played for a living. As a coach for many different sports and several ages he was always playing right along side his athletes. I did not use the term student/athletes because some of his programs were summer programs and we were not students when we played summer baseball.

I showed you a picture in last week's post of him teaching me how to bat left-handed. He was always mentoring, coaching, teaching and playing with me. I had a very special relationship with him in that sense.

In the summer of 1968, he accepted the vacant guidance counselor and track and cross country coach job at Worthington State Junior College. He left the guidance counselor and baseball coach position he had been in Sibley, Iowa for only two years.

Worthington was the eighth town I had lived in before I was fourteen years old, and we had lived in sixteen different locations. Dad continued to get better jobs all along the way and we never stayed anywhere more than three years.

I write in my book "I Still Believe In Tomorrow" I really believe the reason I have been able to adjust to all of the changes I have had to adjust to since my accident was because I was being groomed to deal with change growing up as a child and moving all the time. I was adjusting to different houses, friends, schools and very different environments going from an Indian reservation to a small town comprised of a very conservative, very Dutch community in southwestern Minnesota.

This picture was taken when dad took the job at Worthington when he was only thirty-five years old:

Click on the image to make it larger:

He was not very old, but he finished his career in the community college ranks in Worthington for eight years; then seventeen years at Rochester Community College in Rochester, Minnesota as a physical education and health teacher; as well as their track and cross country coach.

Besides being my dad, he was also my best friend. I was with him constantly and he taught me all kinds of things. I want to show you this picture of how he was teaching me at a very young age how to read a scorebook after one of his high school basketball games before I was even four.

Again, click on the image to make it larger:

First and foremost, he was a teacher, then a coach and lastly my friend. I remember going to his biology classroom when we lived in McLaughlin, South Dakota and a student had brought in a bald eagle in a cage. I remember walking around the cage and having that eagle follow me around the room almost the entire way with his flexible neck.

What a treat for a young child to be able to go to Dad's workplace, see an eagle, a live rattlesnake and other animals in formaldehyde, learn big words from his Anatomy, Muscular, Skeletal and other charts that would carry me through my life and stick with me today. His biology classroom in both McLaughlin and Edgerton, Minnesota were treasure troves of knowledge for my young mind. Gastrocnemius, sternocleidomastoid, pectoralis major, gluteus maximus, medius and minimus and brachioradialis, remain some of my favorite words today!

Once again, I could go on and on; but let me end this post by wishing all of you fathers and grandfathers a wonderful day with your family either in person or in thought, if not those free weekend cell phone minutes, Skype or FaceTime a wonderful day on Father's Day!

I look forward to your comments.




Cathy Judge said...

Very touching, Mike. Your Father would be so proud of all you have accomplished. The impact a good father has on one's life is immeasurable. Happy Father's Day to all the great Fathers. I was fortunate to have a magnificent Dad as well.

Karen B said...

Dear Mike,

I love the picture of your dad and you. You still look the same!

Jean B said...

Awesome blog, Mike! I'm sure your dad is extremely proud of you. I enjoy all your blogs!