Like many of us at G:TB, I was blessed with great parents. Both of my parents were highly involved in my life on academic, social and athletic levels. Both of my parents had a tremendous influence on the child I was and the man I would eventually become. As is often the case with parents, the things they loved became the things I loved. We shared them and by doing so shared our lives with each other.
One of the things I've always shared with my Dad for as long as I can remember is a love of sports. He grew up in St. Louis as a die hard Cardinal fan and, like me, played every sport available to him growing up. Eventually he'd go on to play four sports (Soccer, Baseball, Football, Track) at St. Louis University High School. While there he excelled in soccer. For a number of reasons St. Louis was one of the few cities in America where soccer was popular in the mid 20th century and St. Louis University reaped the benefits of this popularity, winning National Championships in 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1972 and 1973. Not surprisingly, St. Louis University High School had a standout program as well. My father's soccer skills early in his life led to a scholarship to SLU High and after that a scholarship to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO.
Rockhurst is a small Jesuit school in Kansas City, MO. My Dad was a part of their first ever recruiting class. The class that (they hoped) would help build their program. The coaching staff at Rockhurst wisely decided to build the program by stocking it with a number of players from the St. Louis area. The result was a lightning quick ride up the NAIA ranks and a Final Four berth during the program's first year of existence in 1964. Fifty years later, for their contributions to the University and it's soccer program, my Dad and his teammates are being inducted into the Rockhurst University Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend.
I'll be flying to Kansas City with my Dad today to be a part of the weekend's festivities which include a soccer game on Friday night and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night. On top of that I'll get to see the campus of Rockhurst for the first time, meet my Dad's old teammates, drink some beers with he and his old teammates at the same bar they used to drink at in the 60s and listen to dozens of (presumably) greatly embellished stories. I'm sure I'll learn more about my Dad in two days than I did in my first twenty years.
I'm also sure I'll have never felt so lucky to have had him as my Dad for the past 36 years.