Today is the day where we reflect upon honoring our fathers. I am truly blessed having grown up with a father that took time to teach me how to stand on my own. My dad often told me growing up, that if you don’t learn how to do something, then you will most likely pay somebody who knows how to do it.
I have many great memories of my dad teaching me how to build a barn, how to build a deck, how to change brake pads in a car, how to replace a blown head gasket. These all seemed so much easier when he was by my side. Even when I ventured out on my own, he was always there to make things right. One time I was using his jigsaw and noticed there was a red button that when depressed kept the saw going. This seemed great until I couldn’t get the saw to shut off. Needless to say pulling the red button out didn’t solve my problem and on top of that my dad’s saw now seemed broken. So I did what any young teenager would do. Put the saw away and didn’t say a word. Imagine my surprise next time I went to use the saw it was fixed. That sums up my dad. Whenever something was broke he was always there to fix it.
I don’t have many sports memories with my dad. He never played basketball with me. He didn’t go on runs with me. I don’t remember having a football catch with my dad. Sure there was the backyard horseshoes, volleyball or badminton at summer parties, but I never would have saw my dad as an "athlete". Some might say this is due to the fact I am the youngest of 4, but that was just a role I never saw my dad in. Yet I have many great memories of my dad at track meets. I remember going to his office at GE for lunch one day while I was in college and my dad had a newspaper article about me from high school hanging up in his office. Even towards the end of my athletic career, it would be my dad at a track meet keeping track of all my marks in a decathlon. It wasn’t until after his death that my mom gave me a post it note with one of my meet’s marks on it that my dad had kept.
The influence that my dad had in my life continues to this day in the way I am a father to my children and to the way I teach and coach. To me my dad was the greatest teacher I could ever have had even though he didn’t consider himself a teacher.
There are so many quotes of my dad’s that will forever be ingrained in my mind.
“No one ever said life was fair”
“In life you can be certain of one thing, you will either learn the easy way or the hard way, but you will learn. “
“If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people that know more than you”
Who knew that so many of those sayings applied so directly to athletics. So as the end of this year is right now around the corner, I hope that you all take some time to reflect on this past year. What can I (you) change to be better next year? It could come down to your attitude, who you hang out with, your daily approach to practice and to school. Just always reevaluate. For when you reevaluate you get a new perspective on things. Set new goals.
So as you sit back today, reach out to those father figures in your life and give them thanks.
And to my dad Edward Burton Jarvis, I say thanks for the hard lessons you taught me growing up that allowed me to grow into the man that I am and the man that I continue to become.
I miss you every day dad.