My Dad and Sports

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Greetings from The Booth!

Happy New Year! It’s nice to be back in the booth after being away due to the loss of my Dad, James, over the Holidays. He was 85, and for several years battled various health issues. It sounds like a cliche, but I take comfort in knowing he’s in a better place and is no longer suffering. In past blog posts I’ve written about sports being the common thread between fathers and sons, and I think that was the case with me and my Dad. In my recent visits to the nursing home and the hospital, we filled the gaps in our conversations with Washington Nationals baseball, Martinsburg High or Shepherd football, or the trials and tribulations of the Burgundy and Gold.

In recent years, whenever a batch of Nationals bobblehead figures came to the radio station, I always tried to take him one, and he ended up with a pretty nice collection. In a recent birthday card he sent to me, there is the handwritten note “the bobbleheads remind me of you,” so the next time I see his collection it will really hit me that he’s gone. My love of baseball comes from my Dad, who took me to my first major league game to see the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium. I’ve never had anything take my breath away like walking up the ramp and looking out over that green outfield grass from the upper deck. I was hooked for life.

He didn’t miss many of my Little League or Senior League baseball games and was always willing to throw the baseball or football around in the yard , even after a long day at the Schmidt Baking Company, where he worked for most of his life. And although he was my harshest critic when it came to sports, my Dad was my most vocal defender. I remember a time right after the last game of a Midget League football season, when he let the coach have it for playing me a whopping 26 seconds (and for mispronouncing our last name). That being said, my father wasn’t quick to dish out praise, so when you did get a compliment for something you did in a game, it meant something.

So, in closing, thanks Dad, for showing me how to figure earned-run and batting averages, for the endless high pop-ups that never seemed to come down, for teaching me how to run pass patterns, keep a scorebook, and the occasional “way to go.”

Enjoy that great seat in the upper deck…

RW