Friday, September 19, 2014

Athlete. Role Model.

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.

31 comments:

T.J. said...

Great post, Mark. Having had the chance to meet your pops now on two occasions can confirm he's a great dude. Have a kick ass weekend.

mayhugh said...

That's awesome, Mark, on a lot of levels. I grab every opportunity to hear about my dad from the guys hung out with - I get to see him in another light.

I'm sure that will be an awesome weekend and congratulations to your dad.

Mark said...

My Dad isn't a very emotional guy. Kind of your typical Midwestern guy of his generation. He is visibly excited this morning. Cool to see him like this.

Mark said...

My Dad is in the second row of the photo. Fourth from the left.

Marls said...

Even from a professed Yankee hater, the new Jeter Gatorade ad is pretty good. The part in Stan's is perfect.

Clarence said...

Terrific post. I only hope my kids feel the exact same way in 20 years.

Mark said...

Correction: my old man was a sophomore on the 64 team. Sophomore Captain. Born leaders those Hughes'.

Shlara said...

This is lovely, Mark
Have a great time with your dad this weekend!

Shlara said...

Oh, and I can't stand the Yankees, but that Jeter Gatorade commercial made me emotional

Danimal said...

Two thumbs up!

Squeaky said...

This is so cool. Enjoy the awesome weekend with your dad.

rob said...

mark, this is really great. thanks for sharing. looking forward to the follow-up post with the printable stories from the weekend.

mr kq said...

That is really cool. And kinda got me. Have an awesome weekend.

rob said...

good thing mark's got this weekend with his dad. i assume it means he doesn't know what happened to the bucs last night. and that's a good thing.

zman said...

Judging by the tone and tenor of Goodell's presser, Mueller found a tape of Goodell watching the Ray Rice tape.

Squeaky said...

That well for Rog. I bet he is kicking back with a Mic Ultra right now.

Mark said...

I bet against the Bucs last night, Rob. Atlanta -6 was stealing money.

Mark said...

My Dad's friend "So when I sign my name with HOF, do I write the years we played or the year I was inducted?"

Whitney said...

Greetings from Nags Head, NC.

KQ said...

Terrific post, Mark. Both Mr. KQ and I lost our dads this year so it definitely touched a nerve for us. I was 8 when my dad was inducted into the Georgetown Hall of Fame, and I got to go as his date. I still remember it as one of the greatest things I ever got to do with him. Treasure this weekend. Congrats to your dad - thanks for sharing!!

zman said...

PBR--now owned by the Russians.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/19/pabst-brewing-sold-to-oasis-beverages/15894189/

rob said...

someone should write that as a conspiracy theory post

Marls said...

Got some twitter love from Rob's fav Big Gay Ice Cream.

Whitney said...

Tortuga's is still the best, though it's never the same without you clowns. Got my photo with Lacie and Sonya, which I'd post except Mark's post here is way too meaningful to displace with silliness.

TR said...

Allow me to drunkenly weave together several themes. I am currently overserved at a w/e outing celebrating the future wedding of a high school buddy. It's the first w/e in many years that a high school crew has reunited. I may be echoing Whit here, but gatherings with old friends are priceless.

Tying back to Mark's theme, treasure time with your dads. My wife's 81 y/o dad has been ill of late. The illness is driving some great bonding time b/w them. I hope you all can generate the same interactions w/ your old men, if only b/c this drunk guy told you to do so.

Hi Gheorghies.

T.J. said...

Hola Gheorghies
What that guy said

Danimal said...

Mark....let me know what you want to do about picks. I realize it might be a tough weekend for ya.
Note....good news is I posted my florida state pic yesterday (wrote it on thur) bad news is I didn't bet, bet

Danimal said...

White house fence jumper is probably in for a long day or so. Secret Service lead guy....probably not so much.

zman said...

"Dammit" is now an integral part of zson's lexicon.

/bestdadever

Mark said...

Oh Jesus is a regular in my daughter's vocabulary.

Dan- I won't be able to write picks but I can certainly give you my picks. Let me know.

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