I have a big poster of Roberto Clemente over my bed. Why? Because when I was a kid, my dad, who grew up in Pittsburgh, took me to Pirates games at Forbes Field. A kid couldn't have a better hero than Clemente, who was not only an amazing ballplayer, but an equally amazing human being. We were even at Three Rivers Stadium in the early 70's for Roberto Clemente night.
My dad died this morning. He hadn't been well in a while, had serious heart surgery, and never got better. The call that he had died was a relief, as we knew if was coming soon. I went out and played 9 holes of golf this afternoon, with the same shitty swing that my dad taught me. Why would a guy who can't break 90 think he can teach someone to play golf? Because I was his son, and that's what dads do. No Earl and Tiger Woods were we!
It may sound like spreading the blame, but I got a lot of my personality from my dad. He was a real schmoozer, friendly to everyone (especially the ladies), loved a joke and knew how to tell one. He was a good shitgiver.....not as viscous as me, but I certainly got the skill from him.
I don't know if he planned it, but when I was pretty young he taught me about baseball box scores in the newspaper, and how I could see every day how my heroes, Clemente, Willie Stargell and the rest of the Pirates, had done the night before (this is before the internet and Sportscenter brought us that news way earlier!). After that, I couldn't wait to get to the newspaper every morning. To this day, I still don't feel right until I've read the morning news.
We're born, we live a while, we die. Maybe along the way we do something that leaves an impression. I guess my sister and I are that impression of my dad. Thanks dad.
This blog lost one of it's steady readers today (I guess that is about 25% of my audience!). Dad didn't agree with most of what I write here, but he read it anyways.
That's what dad's do.
For those of you who didn't know him, I apologize, but writing this makes me feel better. Soon, I will write the kind of scathing stuff you expect from me regarding the cost to taxpayers of his surgery. Not up for that today.
So it goes.