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Thanks dad, for everything

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We'll be back soon with our links, but we promised you a special Father's Day post. Here it is. And thanks to everyone who responded. You made our week. Read on.


••••••••••

• Over the years I've shared many stories of my dad with you folks. Good ones, bad ones, happy, sad, long and longer. You may know him as well as any other person you don't call “dad.” So we'll refrain from sharing another story about Papa Joe – as my boys called him – today. Instead, I could share a story about me – the one with the punch-line “perserva-tray” comes to mine, but only my sons would understand it – or one about my father-in-law. I choose the latter.

• No one had a better father-in-law than me. No one. Fred Folta was perfect in that regard – with one exception, which we will get to in a moment. Not a tall man, Fred was still a great athlete even when I met him in his 40s. A golfer and tennis player mainly by then though the old, undersized fullback in him would reemerge when the grandkids got together for a game of touch football. It might not surprise you to learn Fred was a Marine, so he was tough. Not on his daughter though, nor on me. Though there was this one time when we were rebuilding a back deck and I was struggling with the hammer and … no, I'm supposed to share a sports story with you. I will, I promise, but you have to understand Fred could do anything, cement work, carpentry, plumbing, electrical – we still have the upside-down outlet he added to our living room and it will never change; it's part of his charm – you name it, the former L.A. City firefighter could do it. Me, I was (and still am), the opposite. Anyway, as I ruined another nail on the siding around the deck we were working on, Fred turned to me, smiled (I think) and said the words that still haunt me to this day. “If I knew my daughter was going to marry someone like you,” he growled, “I would have taught her how to do more.” What a vote of confidence. OK, enough of that. Let's get to the sports story. For a few years there, Fred would travel north – he and Kay, my mother-in-law, had retired at Avila Beach near San Luis Obispo, Calif. – to play in the sport department's golf tournament, the Wet Dog Fur Open, a four-man scramble that still happens every June. He was always well received because a) he had a great sense of humor; b) had a firefighter's ability to handle adult beverages; and c) was a really good golfer. The latter was important this one year as we played with Bart Rayniak, a photographer who was passable at golf, and then-sportswriter Kevin Taylor, who really wasn't. Fred, who passed away a few years ago, had to carry us. And still finish the thermos of whatever concoction Bart had brought along. He did both. The worst part was we were playing at Liberty Lake where just a couple of days before I had shot a 79 from the blue tees, beating Fred by a few strokes. Being somewhat young and really stupid, I made sure he heard about it. Now, in the tournament I really wanted to win, I was playing terribly. And I was compounding the problem by trying to drown my sorrows. That made it worse. So, when we stepped to the 14th hole, an elevated par-four that crossed over a gully of sorts, we still needed to use one of my tee shots. Kevin was done, Bart was done and, of course, Fred was done. The smart aleck wasn't. Kevin hit, flaring the ball off to the right. Bart hit, pulling his shot into the trees. I stepped up, muttered something under my breath, and let fly. The contact was pure, the flight perfect. Long, hard, straight. It cleared the gully, cleared the hill on the other side and landed in the fairway. It was the longest, best drive I ever hit on the hole and remains that to this day. Did I stay humble and thank the golf gods for the reward? Nope. I remember I said something stupid to Fred about him not having to hit, that we had our drive he could “rest his old bones” or something of that sort. Did I mention Fred was a former Marine? Did I mention he was ultra-competitive? Did I mention he had a way with cuss words born of both of those traits? Well, I should have. He let loose a string of interesting adjectives, nouns, verbs and other things I hadn't really heard before, basically saying there was no way I was going to out-drive him. He teed up his found-in-the-rough-a-week-ago ball and took a mighty whack. The ball looked like a missile, flying farther and farther, past the gully, past the hill and past my ball. It landed just short of the green, some 30 or 40 yards closer to the pin than mine. He looked right at me. “Take that $*^%$#,” he said, putting his 3-wood away. We all busted up. And we used his ball. Man I miss him.

• That's my Father's Day story. Now on to yours. They sure were fun to read, stories that, obviously, mean a lot to each of you. Thanks for sharing.

•••

• When I was little, back in the 50's, my brothers John and Mike bought two frail, desperate, skinny chameleons at the county fair for a quarter apiece. We named them Tiz and Iz and immediately fell in love with them. Our goal, as a family, was to allow these beautiful, iridescent green creatures to live as long and happy lives as possible. To that end, not only did we grow them special food, pet them, and carry them around under our shirts, but we learned to tread carefully, because they had free reign of the house.

One Saturday afternoon, my father Elmer, who was a Golden Gloves state boxing champion, sat in the little bedroom at the foot of the bed on a folded blanket and watched a boxing match on our old Philco TV. Meanwhile, we kids were on a frantic hunt for Tiz, who had seemingly vanished. Not wanting to disturb Daddy, we searched the bedroom last. Sure enough, Tiz had crawled under the blanket and Daddy had sat on him for at least an hour. Tiz was ashy gray and so flat we could barely see him sideways. We began wailing because we knew our little lizard was dead. But, my father, who was by virtue a very gentle man, laid Tiz on the palm of his hand, pursed his lips, placed them on the chameleon's lips, and began to blow gently. As he blew, he stroked Tiz's chest, and slowly our chameleon began to get green and started to move.

I will never forget watching my father bringing our lizard back to life, while these two boxers were pummeling each other in the background. I think that was my first recognition of the true complexities and contradictions that go into the making of a human being.

Tiz recovered beautifully, and he (or she) lived for 14 happy years. After Tiz died of old age, Iz died a few months later, we assume of loneliness. On the day Iz died, Mr. McCathren, our mailman, rang the doorbell.  When my mother Helen, who was sobbing, opened the door, Mr McCathren cried out, “What's wrong?!  What's wrong?!” and my mother answered, “Our lizard died!”

 – Margaret Koivula

• As one of five boys and two girls growing up in Cheney, with four of the boys born first to a father who was an accomplished athlete all his life, sports was very important in our house.  It probably made it harder on my sisters, although my sister Judy is the only one of us to be in a university sports Hall of Fame.  Jack Crabb was an umpire and a referee here in Spokane for 43 years and many people remember him in that role.  But my earliest memories are of him helping us to learn baseball, then football.  He was a member of the old Sportswriters and Broadcasters group. 

They brought famous athletes to town every year for their banquet and Dad always got the autographs from the head table. I have the most amazing collection of autographs from those days, including Jesse Owens, Gene Fullmer, Rocky Marciano, Maury Wills, Jerry Kramer, Red Auerbach, and many others. 

He refereed the Harlem Globetrotters game in the old Coliseum in 1957 or '58 and brought home a program signed by all of them, including Wilt Chamberlain. He also refereed the first game played there.

I remember when he took us to see the Spokane Indians when they were a Dodgers AAA farm team (those were the days!) when Don Newcomb pitched for them. He said we should see him. He was right.

Later I got to play a lot of golf with him, mostly at Downriver. Could hardly ever beat him, but I loved being there with him. He taught us to be men and women mainly through sports. He and my mother Jean raised seven responsible, successful people.  They were great parents and we were lucky to have them. 

The fifties and sixties were a wonderful time to grow up in a small town in Eastern Washington and my dad made it very special, particularly through sports. He was always there when we competed, and we could usually hear him! Most of what I know that's important I learned through sports, and from my Dad. I miss him, and my mother, a lot.

– Bob Crabb

• It was January 25th, 1998. Super Bowl XXXII. Packers vs. Broncos. Favre vs. Elway. My dad, a lifelong Broncos fanatic, had never seen a Broncos Super Bowl victory (but then again, neither had the Broncos!) Anyway, a fellow Broncos fanatic of my dad's was out of town, so he and I got to go watch the game on his big screen TV. (You know the kind, they were as thick as they were tall.)

It was a tense game, back and forth the whole way through, but the Broncos made a touchdown with 1 minute 45 seconds remaining on the clock, changing the score from 24-24 to 31-24. Denver stopped the ensuing Green Bay drive and ran out the clock for their first ever Super Bowl victory.

Everything I just told you about the game I had to look up on Wikipedia, because I was 10 years old at the time and only really understood the rudiments of the game. But what I'll never forget is my dad's reaction: he was on the couch, legs stretched out in front if him, arms stretched out beside him, and his head resting back on the top of the couch. Like a snow angel.

He stared at the ceiling in absolute disbelief. It was like he was paralyzed. He was breathing heavily and I distinctly remember him saying “…I can't believe it…” quietly each time he exhaled. It's how most people probably react when they win the lottery, or are told after weeks of waiting that their abducted child has been discovered safe and sound.

After letting the blissful waves of victory slowly wash over him, he suddenly leapt up, threw open the sliding glass door and let out the loudest “WOOHOO!” I've ever heard him produce. It was directed at a house across the cul-de-sac that had been waving a Green Bay Packers flag all day long.

– Trevor Hollenback

• This memory dates back to Super Bowl XXXII, the first time the Denver Broncos won it all.  

Anyone who has met my father usually knows at least two things about him: he loves the Broncos, and he is a dentist.  My aunt (dad’s sister in-law) didn’t even know that his given name is James up until last year, but without fail she would bring him something Bronco-related for Christmas every year I can remember.  My father blames his allegiance to the Broncos on his uncle, Bill Lilabridge, who brainwashed him at a young age (which my father in turn did to me).  As a result he suffered through quite a few disappointing (some even heartbreaking) playoff exits.  

I personally remember agonizing with him when the Broncos lost a divisional round playoff HOME GAME to the lowly Jaguars, after finishing the 1996 season with a 13-3 record and had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Well, lo and behold, the very next year the Broncos beat the Packers to claim their first Lombardi Trophy.  

I went to a friend's house to watch the first half of that game.  But the second half I needed to spend with my father and two younger brothers.  I remember during half time we hightailed it over to Dr. Jeff Robinson’s house (one of the craziest Bronco fans I have ever met).  I think he was in Colorado watching the game with his family, or maybe he went down to San Diego (location of the game) to be present for all the festivities.  He was single at the time and had a sweet big screen TV to watch the game on.  

When it the final seconds of the game we ticking off the clock, and it was clear the Broncos had won, my father cried.  It wasn’t much, but I distinctly remember a few tears coming down his cheek.  I was really happy too but was stuck by how much my dad was moved by that victory.  

The Broncos won the Super Bowl the next season as well and John Elway promptly retired.  When I witnessed my father’s outpouring of emotion I didn’t really understand it, until this past year. I don’t think I need to remind anyone but the Broncos' Super Bowl performance this past season, was, well, yeah, you saw it.  

I think I finally get why my dad was moved to tears that day.  It’s been tough to be a Bronco fan since Elway retired. I think it compares well on some levels to what my dad had to go through during the pre-Super Bowl Elway year.  The next time the Broncos win the Super Bowl I’ll be with my dad, in person or in spirit, shedding a tear. Love you Dad, Happy Father’s Day!

– Justin Hollenback

• Baseball has always been something that allowed my father and I to relate to each other.  I remember him teaching me the game with a sense of love and pride that you would have to experience yourself to comprehend.  He taught me about taking the ball the other way and always having soft hands.  He taught me about pitching inside and laying down a sacrifice bunt.  But more than that he taught me to respect the game and your opponents.   He taught me to go to war with your teammates because they are your brothers, the only ones you’ll ever have.

We would go over to the field where he would hit me ground balls and throw me batting practice until it got dark.  No matter how bad his back or his knees were hurting he always pulled through.  Then, afterward, we would lay out on or backs, look up at the clouds and listen to the breeze sweep across the field.  I don’t remember him ever smiling as much as those days when it was just he and I over at the baseball field!

Even when he got older and his body began to fail him, we would always talk about baseball.  When I would do something stupid and he’d be angry so we wouldn’t talk for a while, the thing that opened up our communication was baseball.  When he and my mother would drive hundreds of miles to watch me play he never yelled at me, never chastised my coaches, never embarrassed me.  That is something I will forever be grateful for because I have seen kids standing on the field, scared to death and clearly embarrassed by their father’s antics and my heart always went out to them.  But there would be my dad, standing down the line, silently watching the game.

No matter the outcome of the game (and trust me there were plenty of bad days) he and my mother never failed to tell me how proud they were and when I looked into their eyes, I knew they were genuine.  When I was in college and they would come clear across the state, my old man would hug me, tell me he missed me, and that I was a much better catcher than he was (which meant a lot coming from a man who was once listed as an alternate for Team Canada).  Then he would cry and here would be a man who is not known for showing emotion, tearing up because of the love he had for his son.

Reflecting on these memories I realize that when he was teaching me the game when I was a little boy, he was teaching me more than just how to play the game.  He was also teaching me how to live my life as a man.  For that’s really what baseball has taught me: lessons about life.

– Landon Johnston

• When I was young and trying so hard to be good at sports, my dad's natural athleticism was just amazing to me. The man could throw a football, had the quick hands in baseball I never did and had the sweetest shot in basketball you've ever seen. I could never beat him. He'd reluctantly let me suck him into games, not wanting to hurt my ego, but never giving anything less than 100 percent. I'm lucky I still have him around at age 93 and I love that man like there's no tomorrow.

– Rick Shauvin

• Trying to narrow it down to just one, it could have been when on more that one occasion as a little guy that my dad had to jump into a pool, lake, river to pull me out when I got in over my head. 

But one of the best was my senior year of high school, fall of 1983.  I played at Prairie High in Vancouver, the school was fairly new and we hadn’t had much success, but my senior year things started to jell for our team. 

Kelso was a state powerhouse at the time, they had won the state title the year before, and then dropped down a classification and joined our conference that year.  They were ranked No. 1 in the state and we were about to play them for the first time. 

Football was a big deal in Kelso and they were bringing down a “broadcast” crew to show the game in Kelso on their cable or CCTV or what have you.  As I left the house to head for the game, my dad told me “Good luck, don’t worry about the score, just have fun.” 

I guess he figured we didn’t have a prayer.  We were a confident team, and I told him “Dad, we’re going to beat these guys.”  And he just kind of nodded and said “OK, I’ll see you after the game.” 

Well, we proceeded to dismantle Kelso 21-0 and as luck would have it I made a crucial open-field block that sprung a fellow receiver for our first touchdown putting Kelso on their heels. 

It was so great.  My dad caught me before I ever made it to the locker room after the game, and he was like “You were so right, I didn’t believe you, but you were right.” 

To make the story a little sweeter, Kelso brought a lot of fans down for the game, and they started leaving in droves very early.  My dad is normally a pretty quiet reserved guy, but my mom told me he was yelling at the departing Kelso fans, “Hey where are you going, the game’s not over yet!” 

I guess my mom was pretty embarrassed.

– Rob Stark

• My favorite memory with my father and sports occurred on a March afternoon/night in 1975.  My dad was a big Cougar fan, having run track there in the 1940s.  He often let me tag along to games with him, and I really loved to go.  On this particular day however, we weren't going to a Coug game, but rather to the opening round of the NCAA basketball tournament in Pullman. This would turn out to be the last trip John Wooden would make to Pullman as his Bruins were playing Michigan.

UCLA beat Michigan in overtime and would go on to win the national championship, after which the Wizard of Westwood retired. The other game wasn't too bad either as Montana, coached by some fella named Jud Heathcote, defeated Utah State.  

The games were great, but the biggest thrill for me was when between games my dad introduced me to the three Cougar coaches at the time – Jim Sweeney (pictured), Bobo Brayton, and George Raveling.

It's seems silly now, but for a 7-year-old kid, that was a pretty big deal.

I clearly remember Sweeney shaking my hand off while he and Bobo peppered me with questions. I recall telling my dad on the ride home to Farmington, that this was the best day of my life.

Many years later I would share a much different experience with my dad and sports as he lay in the ICU of a Spokane hospital.

On a September Saturday, while visiting him before returning to school in Arizona, I decided to watch a Cougar football game on the hospital-room television with him. He couldn't communicate since he was on a ventilator, but I could tell from his eyes that he really enjoyed this with me despite his discomfort. He got to see the Cougs, quarterbacked by the grandson of his longtime good friend Stu Bledsoe. This would be the last day I ever saw my dad alive. I never really got to say goodbye but we spent our last day together doing what we had so many times before.

Now I'm in my forties and I have five daughters ranging from three to seventeen.  Some of our best times together are the Cougar football, basketball, volleyball, and baseball games I have taken them to.

They've learned to love the Cougs, despise the Huskies, and take the agonizing defats as character-building life lessons. Often, while sitting in the stands with my kids, I'll drift back in time as if I was sitting there with my dad, enjoying the day. I hope one day they will look back at these times with their dad as I did with mine.

– Rodger Lehn

• I have many memories of moments with my Dad. He was a fan of all sports, but baseball was the one sport he really loved.  

My wife and I were living in Manhattan Beach, Calif., the year the Dodgers played the White Sox in the World Series.

I got tickets to the first two games and my dad made his first ever trip on a plane. It was big time going from Pomeroy to LA. It was a great thrill for the two of us.

Many years later my Dad won two tickets to the All Star game in Houston. He invited me go with him and another great time was had at a baseball game.  

Vince, in all the years that I coached basketball, when the bus left for away games my Dad, Wylie Parker, was usually in the seat next to me. It does not get any better then that.

Thanks for letting me share my memories.

– Don Parker

• “Are you sure mom won’t get mad?”

I vividly remember asking my dad that very question back on Nov. 7, 2001. I was an eighth grader and he had just yanked me out of Kenmore Junior High at 11:30 a.m. to drive us the 30 minutes to Seattle to watch Ecuador play Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier match.

This wasn’t just any match, though.

At that time, Ecuador, where my mother and father were born and left 26 years ago to move to Washington state, had never made it to the World Cup. With at least a tie against Uruguay in this match, our boys would make history and earn one of the four guaranteed spots from the South American group and head to Korea/Japan for the 2002 tournament.

Sure enough, early in the first half, the incredibly biased ref called a penalty kick in Uruguay’s favor. Moments later, the score was Uruguay 1, Ecuador 0 and my old man let out a fury of expletives in front of his 11-year-old son. Fortunately no one called child services.

For the rest of the game, my dad, Jaime, myself and about 50 other Ecuadorians, huddled inside a tiny restaurant in the Emerald City, were on the verge of tears. Was Ecuador really going to choke?

 But then, in the 73rd minute, Ecuador striker Jaime Ivan Kaviedes headed in the equalizer and a 5.4 magnitude earthquake took place in the restaurant. We all went absolutely nuts. My pops hugged the hell out of me and just about everyone else in sight. Other than when I graduated from WSU, it’s the happiest I think I’ve ever seen him.

With our hearts on the floor, we watched for the next 20 minutes, begging the referee to blow his whistle for the game to end. Then, after what felt like four additional hours, the final whistle sounded and the ref called for the ball signaling the end of the game.

As everyone celebrated, I looked to my dad and tears were streaming down his face. I know he wished he was in Ecuador with his family to enjoy the moment, so he was a little sad, but he was also bubbling with pride. History was made and it’s a moment we shared together that I’ll never forget.

Since that day, I’ve cherished every opportunity I’ve gotten to sit down with him and watch a game. Soccer definitely brought us closer and whenever I head home to visit him and my mom, we always chat about our Ecuadorian team.

I currently live in Bellingham, but on Father’s Day, I’ll drive the 90 minutes back to Seattle and watch Ecuador take on Switzerland in the first round of the 2014 World Cup. We even invited my mom to come along this time, which she didn’t mind.

What she will mind, though, is when I let loose my own fury of expletives if we miss a shot, or when I hug the hell out of her after we score a goal. What can I say, though.

I got it from dad.

– Braulio Perez

• My father, Bill Plucker, exposed me to a great environment of sports.  I grew up in Spokane playing baseball from Mustang to American Legion; YMCA flag football to high school football at Ferris High and the Spokane Fury, as well as basketball and any other sport I could participate in. We had great fishing trips from the local lakes to fly-fishing on the St. Joe River and in Montana. 

No matter what work schedule my dad had he always came to my games.  He and I would go to WSU games together in the 1970's and 80's where I became a diehard Coug fan. He was there for my successes and failures. 

From this I became a long time high school football and baseball coach in Spokane and then Walla Walla.

My dad turns eighty this summer and I thank him for exposing me and supporting me in an area that I had passion and success in.

Thanks Dad.

W.H. Plucker IV

• Taking the time to sit down and reflect on the times spent with my dad and sports brings a smile to my face. There are so many different memories that instantly pop in my head.

My dad was a laid-back guy and generally had a pretty easy-going personality, until sports were involved. The competitive nature of sports brought out a fire in his belly that one rarely saw off the field or court.

I was a sophomore at Clarkston, and, in the middle of a basketball game there was a loose ball.

Another player and I dove for it and we came out empty-handed. The ball squirted out and play resumed the other way. The opposing player and I got into a minor scuffle while on the ground.

My dad took it on himself to come out of the stands and onto the court. My mom popped up and was right behind him trying to stop him from coming on to the court.

My dad was about round as he was tall. In the commotion of him coming out of the stands he had to stop and hike his pants up. This was the break my mom needed to catch him.

Things calmed down and the game went on. One would think that would be the end of the story. Nope, not this time. The next night we played our border rival Lewiston. The principal called our house and asked if my dad was going to be a good boy and he stated that he would.

My parents tried to make a joke out of the situation and came to the game hand-cuffed together. After the Lewiston game I went home and sat my parents down and in dramatic high school fashion asked them if they were trying to ruin my life.

Do you know what kind of jokes you get when your parents have handcuffs?

My dad passed away in 2008 and the debacle that ensued that night stuck in the minds of many people besides myself. There was a common theme in the condolence cards.

This story was it. So many people commented on those two nights. I have the heart-felt and sentimental sports moments with my dad. But this story is the one that always comes to the surface for myself and others. Thank God for sports and great dads!

– Scott Shelden

• I grew up in with a single dad in the small town of Albion, Wash., just outside of Pullman. As most small town boys in the 1960's, I was on the town Little League team. We played in the Whitman County league.

Things were tough back then and my single dad wasn't able to attend very many of my games. But one summer night he decided to come to my game. This was my third year and I was 10 playing on a 12-and-under team. We didn't have the-everyone-gets-to-play rules back then, so, being the youngest on the team, I sat on the end of the bench unless we had a large score difference.

Give my dad credit, he stayed the whole game and it paid off.

The last inning of the game I was sent out to left field. Sure enough, one of their hitters decided to try out the young guy. He laced a fly ball down the left field line, and I took off running as fast as I could and reached out my glove.

I think I even closed my eyes, because all I remember is the ball landing in my glove and a familiar voice yell from the sidelines at the top of his lungs, “That's my boy.”

For 35 more years I was always on a ball field somewhere, and at the age of 45, Dad hadn't made it to any games I played in as an adult.

But one day, out of the blue, he called and said where are you playing this week. I told him I was in a men's church league softball tournament in Coeur d'Alene. He said “What time, I will be there.”

As I got up to bat my first time, I looked up in the old grandstand by the park and there was dad in the front row.

I jacked an opposite field line drive down the right field line. As I am rounding second base, trying to decide whether to go for it or not, I hear from the stands that familiar voice yelling as loud as he could, “That's my boy!”

To this day I believe that is what gave me the extra boost to arrive at home plate before the throw. As I was getting high fives from my teammates, I hear one more time, “That's my boy.”

I still get all the warm and fuzzies every time I think about it and I do a lot.

Later that summer dad found out he had cancer and died two seasons later.

I have played thousands of ball games in my life finally, retiring at age 55. But I will never forget that last game my dad was at. 

– In memory of Gene Watson, submitted by Ron Watson

• My fondest sports-related memories of my dad, Bill, revolve around cheering together for the WSU Cougars. 

I was 6-years-old in 1988 when our family moved to Pullman from the East Coast, and we immediately adopted the Cougs as our hometown team. 

Our family got season tickets for football and basketball right away, and I remember attending games with my dad to support our team through good times and bad. 

My dad, the eternal optimist, could always find a silver lining during the most dismal of seasons. I specifically remember a basketball game against Arizona in the 1989-90 season with the Cougs down 30-plus points and everybody in the stands grumbling or heading for the exits. 

I look over and my dad is still clapping and praising Bennie Seltzer and Brian Paine for their effort. 

He always stressed the importance of being loyal to your team through defeat, because it makes the victories that much sweeter.  

I think his positive attitude embodies what it means to be a true sports fan, and it’s what has made sports such an enjoyable pastime for me. 

I look forward to sharing similar experiences with my young son as he grows up. 

So, thanks Dad, Happy Father's Day and Go Cougs!

– Jim Cofer

• My favorite sports memory of with my father is so hard to choose as we have shared many great times through sports.

But the memory that I had to write in about is about golf.

Every Saturday evening when I was young my father would alternate taking his two sons out to the golf course for a 9-hole round of golf.

My brother lost interest so I got the privilege of golfing with my father on those Saturday evenings. We'd make some sort of bet for a pop, whether it'd be a putting contest or something like that or just for finishing 9 holes.

I'd always get a pop at the end of the round and I fell in love with the game on those Saturday evenings. With the course empty, it was like our own private place.

If I got tired, he'd help carry my bag or I would just walk the final few holes with him.

As I grow older, we played more and more and I became a regular with his men's golfing group. Because he found a way to play more golf (what wife would say “no” to a husband spending such quality time with his son, even if that means the husband gets to play more golf?) I have memory upon memory of the golf course with my dad and life-long love for the game.

– Derek Szilagyi

•••

• Before I go, I want to say thanks again to everyone who wrote in. We did this a couple years ago with Mother's Day and it worked so well, we decided to do it again honoring dad. You guys – and gals – are the best.


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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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John Blanchette (@SRjblanchette) John Blanchette is a freelance writer who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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