Sunday was Father’s Day. The Monday before was my father’s birthday.
Either one is a good excuse to honor my father. But put both of them together, and it’s time for a celebration.
No, there won’t be any embarrassing photos in this post. I did enough of that last time with my mother.
Instead, just a simple post to honor my father, Thomas Raymond Hagen.
I know I’m the person I am today because of my parents. Growing up as an only child, I didn’t have brothers and sisters to corrupt me. I didn’t have an older sibling to teach me the ways.
But I did have my dad.
I feel like a lot of who I am today is because of my father.
So, he gets all the credit.
And the blame.
It was my dad who spent countless hours with me on the sports fields, courts and courses. He gave me a love for sports. He showed me how to care about people. I think I got his sense of humor and his ability to speak in front of crowds.
Of course, I didn’t follow in his footsteps and become a pastor, but being a journalist is pretty close. OK, not really, but we both have to be good at communication.
I remember one time he bought me a new basketball. He knew I’d want to go and try it out.
But it was the middle of winter. So my father went to the basketball court down the street and cleared away the snow so we’d have dry pavement when I got home from school.
It’s those little things I’ll always remember and cherish.
It was my father who introduced me to sports. Him and I spent countless hours playing baseball in our yard.
He would crouch like a catcher as I tried to strike out imaginary hitters. I remember throwing against the likes of Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr.
We would play catch with a baseball or football for hours. We spent hours and hours on the golf course. I know it wasn’t always enjoyable — I would get pretty frustrated with my lack of skill — but he was always there, encouraging me.
Now, the roles have reversed. I’m the one encouraging him. But it’s the least I can do.
Just like my mother, my father was always in the stands for all my games. No matter if I was the starting pitcher that night or if I wasn’t going to see a minute of playing time, they were there. I don’t think I can express how much that meant to me. Sure, I was a snotty high school kid who wouldn’t admit it at the time. But now, I’m a (somewhat) more mature 27-year old, I’m OK with saying it out loud.
I know my mother and father gave up a lot to come see concerts and games and plays and speech contests and everything else I was involved in over the years.
Things weren’t always easy for my father. But he and my mother worked hard to make sure I didn’t have to change schools too often. They even spent a few months apart to allow me to finish high school. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but that sacrifice was incredible. Something I hope I’d be able to do someday for my children.
But through it all, he’s kept his sense of humor (which is where I think I get mine from), his kindness and his ability to genuinely care about everyone.
Someday I hope I can be even half of the father he is. Because if I can be, then I’ll be doing pretty darn good.