July 21, 2015

At Sixty

At sixty. My dad.

Everything I know about sports, teamwork, work ethic, perseverance, grit and determination—I learned from my dad.

While I couldn't be on Lake of the Woods to celebrate with my parents today, I thought a lot about him and what he has taught me. So many of his lessons define who I am as it relates to my passion for equity in sport, experiences with hockey and current love for running.

I learned from my dad that if you want to try something, you can. Be prepared to do it at full tilt with integrity and purpose. There are no shortcuts. There will be ups and there will downs; get ready to enjoy the ride.

I'm grateful that I had such a strong role model in my life who supported my dreams, who never ever made me feel like girls and boys were different on the playing field. What an amazing gift.

For those reading this, if you have young girls (or boys for that matter) in your life, the best thing you can do for them is take an active interest in the sports or activities they want to try, get involved, keep it fun and don't put expectations on them.

Ways that my dad did, and still does, rock.
  • He fished, played catch and camped with me
  • He flooded a rink in our backyard for figure skating and later for playing hockey
  • He encouraged me to try hockey when it wasn't the norm
  • He built me a shooting station to practice my shot in the summer
  • He coached my softball, soccer and hockey teams for decades with the same intensity as any boys team he coached
  • He was drafted in the 5th round of the NHL
  • He told wild ghost stories
  • He supports and has always supported my career decisions, always knowing the right thing to say when I need a pep talk
  • He has travelled all over North America to see me play hockey, run marathons and sometimes just to visit
  • He gives me honest and upfront feedback
  • He has always worked to live
  • The lake is his "church", and I absolutely love that about him
  • He is a dog-whisperer
  • He loves nicknames and he has quite a few himself
  • He is always on time
  • He loves my mom and their relationship is one I'll admire forever
  • He is crazy about sweets and gets way too excited about them
  • He is competitive, with everyone

I've been lucky. So have my brothers. I also believe the people my dad coached and worked with over the years have been equally fortunate. Call it a dose of homesickness or just a good day to reflect on the great things about our parents. May we strive to live like them. Act like them. Be like them.