When my brother and I were little my dad did not have many of his sports awards out. I never remember seeing his high school or college letters as a kid, and there were not medals on wall or framed newspapers of amazing achievements. The only thing I remember was a plaque hanging in a shadowed corner from when he won, and set a record for long jump at states his junior year of high school.
Through the years we heard stories of the kind of athlete he was and how much he achieved. When I was in elementary school he was inducted into his college’s sports hall of fame and we watched him coach through the years. So a part of us knew, but it was never hung all around us like a goal we were meant to reach.
As an adult I have seen the patches, awards and news paper clippings. While flipping through it once I asked him why he never had any of it out. His response was simple. He never wanted to put pressure on my brother and I to be athletes. He never wanted his achievements to looming over us like an unescapable shadow.
At the moment my sports awards are out and hanging proudly on the wall. I worked hard for each of my patches and pins and it is nice to be reminded what can be achieved with a little bit of skill and hard work. But someday if I have kids they will go away. I will put them in a box and store them so I am never a shadow for them to escape. After all, I know how much that meant to me.
Happy Father’s Day.