Happy Father’s Day to my Dad!
Here is a partial list of the things he has taught me:
- History. I’ve always loved learning about the past and he has always nurtured it, from recording the old Disney Davy Crockett shows (and letting my brother and me watch them incessantly) to answering my rapid-fire questions about the Red Baron (after he played “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” for me).
- Star Wars. I still remember him showing me A New Hope for the first time after a day of skiing. Of course, being a fan from the very beginning (he stood in line to meet Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher at a mall in Toronto in 1977), he still prefers to refer to the first film solely as Star Wars, not A New Hope.
- Actual stars. He taught me about Orion and navigating using the North Star and how you can see Jupiter’s Galilean moons with a good pair of binoculars (fun fact: If Jupiter wasn’t so bright, you could actually see those four moons with your naked eyes).
- How to build a race car. OK, it was a pinewood derby car for Scouts, but he showed me the importance of aerodynamics and ballast, bringing home his office postal scale so we could ensure the car weighed the maximum legal amount to the gram.
- The Blue Jays. Growing up in Toronto, Dad is also an original Jays fan. My parents took me to Exhibition Stadium before I could walk and each summer Dad would take my brother and me to a game at the Dome. When the Jays won the World Series in 1992, I had to go to bed before the game ended, but my Dad recorded the end for me and left a note on the kitchen table telling me we won.
- Fishing. My Grampa loves to fish and he passed that on to Dad. The love hasn’t exactly passed on to my brother or me, but has taught us how to do it when we were little and we’ve had a great time the last two years fishing with the Walthert and Wey families on Georgian Bay.
- Gambling. He inadvertently showed me the joy of gambling when he took me to buy a Pro Line ticket at lunch on “take your kid to work day” in high school. He is also a decent handicapper, having grown up a few blocks from the old Woodbine racetrack, but that part hasn’t rubbed off—I bet the field against American Pharoah in the Belmont.
- How to play hockey. Dad was an assistant coach on some of my early hockey teams and he passed on a lot of lessons that I still remember, especially about positioning and puck movement as a defenseman.
- How to support your kids. Even when he wasn’t coaching, there weren’t many games of mine that he didn’t come to. When I played football in high school and the games would start at 2 o’clock on a Tuesday, he would be there. He also never said anything negative after any games, although he would always offer helpful tips for improvement (see above).
Thanks for all of this, Dad! I know we don’t agree on everything (does anybody agree with their parents all the time?), but I love you.