Thanks Dad, For The Love!

Adam SteevesCorrespondent IMay 15, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 08:  A Chinese baby sleeps next to a Beijing Olympic Mascot Fuwa at the Beijing Haidian maternal and child healthcare hospital after being born on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China. There were 50 babies born at the hospital, about 60 percent increase from the average, on August 8, 2008, or 888, the date which is considered extremely lucky in the Chinese culture.  The opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics is held today with locals gearing up for the games. (Photo by Andrew Wong/Getty Images)

13 months ago I could make this statement. "I have never lost anyone close to me."  Within two weeks, I lost my grandmother and father. It was a trying time, but we all managed to get through it.

We had been talking for sometime about having another child. We had waffled back and forth and eventually decided that we would regret not having a fourth, we would never regret having a fourth.

We have a 10 year old boy and two girls, 7 and 4. We felt complete but added a fourth. He was born on the 12th. He weighed 8 lbs(our smallest) and was 21 1/2 inches long.

Right now you are asking what in the world this has to do with sports? Well here you go.

My father introduced me to sports. He was never a fanatic. He was a casual fan. We watched when there were games on. We listened to Jack Buck on the radio. We always watched the bowl games and the other big events in sports. Every year we went to one game. One. We were poor, but it was quite an experience for me. I always looked forward to the game. The highlight of the summer.

He gave me the love for the game that I currently have. He was neutral. He never mentioned a favorite team. He was objective when watching.

He hated travelling. Basketball made him crazy. Them NBA guys travel every time they touch the ball. He's right.

He hated pass interference. It gives an unfair advantage to the offense. The defense doesn't have a chance. He was right.

He hated umpires with a curve. He would say the umpires feel obligated to give the pitcher the inside and not the outside. He would say if its a strike, its a strike. If its not, its not. He's right.

Each year the game would be different. We went to  St Louis or Kansas City. One year we went to a Bulls game. One year to a Mizzou game. Each year different. Each year special.

One particular year, we went to a Cardinal game. It was against the Pirates. They won like 6-3, or something. It was good but not great. That year the Cards to the postseason. In fact they went to the World Series. It was against their cross state rival, the Kansas City Royals.

We went to church on Sunday morning, Oct 20, 1985. I was nine. I knew the game was that night. The Cardinals were up 1-0 in the series. After church, my dad told us to change, we were going to the World Series. My brother and I were elated. We could not believe it. We drove the 2 hours from our house and we were at Kaufman by 6pm.

I never did find out where he got the tickets exactly. I asked him years later and he said it didn't matter.

We seats were the worst seats we ever had, but it was the World Series. The game was fairly boring. The Cardinals were losing  2-0 and it was the ninth inning. There were two outs and Terry Pendleton was at the plate. The best sports moment of my life was when he doubled off the wall and cleared the bases. The Cards won the game but lost the series in 7 games.

After my father's death, I asked my mother where he got the tickets. She said he had driven to Kansas City and found someone selling tickets on the street. He paid dearly for those three tickets. She didn't know how much. My father did not care about the game. However he knew that the game would mean the world to us.

It did. It does. He was right.

My father will never know Landon, my three day old son. I hope, no I pray that I can influence him half as much as he affected me. He gave me the love. He sacrificed for us, especially in 1985.

"Thank You Dad"

"Landon, I love you. Have I ever told you about the time your grandpa took Allen and I to the World Series? Sit down."