What the Dads in My Life Taught Me

fathers day blog post

*** This post was written last year before the untimely death of my husband. I’ve decided to leave it up because it’s true, James helped nurture and expand my love of sports – and it is because I want our children to love sports as much as we do (did, man this is hard) that I leave this legacy for them. 

Dads are important – seriously important. Sometimes the dad in your life is the guy who is your biological father – after all that’s the way it’s suppose to work. But game plans often change, sometimes the dad in your life is the man who is a “step” and sometimes your dad is actually your mom.

In my life I’ve been blessed to be influenced by three amazing fathers: my own dad Al, my step-dad Rick, and my husband James.

The foundation of loving sports come from my dad Al – as a six year old I remember him waking me up to see the New York Mets pull off the miracle against the Boston Red Sox in game six of the 1986 World Series. I’m sure other kids watched this – but as a kid I didn’t understand what a big deal with was until as an adult I watched a documentary of the Red Sox’s history.

Then there was his excitement in the New York Giants beating the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs to make it to the 1990 Super Bowl. I cried when Giants placekicker Matt Bahr stepped onto the field to attempt a 42 yard field goal that would put the Giants in the Super Bowl. I, like so many kids of the 1980s and 1990s, loved the 49ers.

I don’t think he realized but what he taught me was there are winners and losers in sports – that’s the way it is. At a professional level there is no trophy for just showing up. I think this lesson – that I don’t think he realizes he taught me – has served me well. It’s okay to want to be the best.

Then there was the appreciation for golf – my dad actually learned to play from my maternal grandfather – and he still plays. He would grab me when Chi Chi Rodriguez would complete a hole and do his Sword Dance bit.

As Puetro Ricans, it was nice seeing some brown in the club. This makes me laugh thinking about it now because  took after my mom’s coloring – very pale, blonde – so not a typical Latina at all. He would joke and call me the milkman’s daughter. But at the time, being the only Puetro Rican in class it was nice.

When my parents divorced my stepfather Rick introduced me to my first great love – the University of Virginia. This was the school he attended and the first time he took me there it was like magic. The green of The Lawn, so emerald it seemed impossible – the classical architecture, the traditions. My entire outlook in life changed and all I saw was the possibilities. Maybe it was to connect with him, maybe it was because it was the first college I visited but I knew in my soul I was destine to be a Wahoo. Without him in my life, I’m not sure I would have attended college.

Here is the interesting thing -he doesn’t really watch the games. Unlike my dad, Rick is more likely to read a recap – it doesn’t diminish his love of the Hoos it’s just a different experience. That and whenever I’ve taken him to a game the Hoos lose – so Rick is not allow to attend games with me anymore.  I’m not joking this is better for everyone – and it was his idea.

Both Al and Rick spent many fall nights watching high school football because I was in marching band. They made room for each other – and now that I’m a parent I realize how unselfish they truly were. It couldn’t have been easy for my dad to share my sister and I with another man – but he did. And Rick never tried to be our dad – but he did become an important father-figure I still rely on.

Then there is my husband, and the man who made me in to a mom – James. I believe he influenced my love of sports more than the others because it is his fault I’m a crazy sports lady. This man grew up watching Notre Dame Football, and selected the Oakland Raiders and Chicago White Sox as his favorite sports teams.

I have taken over influencing our tiny human’s choices in sports – and yes they know all the words to Good Old Song.

James is an amazing dad – goofy, cuddly, and seems joyous to be around his kids. He’s stern and agrees with me that participation awards are terrible for our children. He’s on the sideline for every game and I’m so glad I made the right choice in who to have children with – because I can’t imagine a better daddy for my tiny humans.

University of Virginia Fans Sports Gal Pal

And he keeps the tiny humans busy, while this mommy works on this blog and podcast.

The three dads in my life give me the room to be myself – to be the girly, sports-loving, woman I’ve become. They call me out on my shit, and they give me room to sit at the table to talk about sports.

Dads are important, seriously important – there are countless studies showing their importance in a woman’s life – and how lucky am I to get three great ones.

So Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.


About the author, Ramona

Single mom trying to figure out her own sports fandom on her own terms. She writes and podcasts about what it means to be a sports fan.

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