Many athletes have had a father or father figure in their lives that has pushed them to where they are today. There are also many athletes today that also have the responsibility of being a father. This is to those individuals that push us to be what we can truly achieve.
NFL.com reported last week that Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson recently lost his father who was battling pancreatic cancer. Bill Jackson seemed to be a man that pushed his son to the limits to maximize his son's potential as a football player. DeSean himself will admit that he would not be one of the best 2nd year receivers in the league without what his father did for him. Every professional player, whether it be football, basketball, baseball, etc. would not be in the position they are today without somebody like Bill Jackson in their lives. It does not necessarily have to be a biological father but just a person who takes an individual under their wing and teaches them about the game, sportsmanship, and life.
I have personal experience in this matter. My father always gave me the opportunity to play whatever sport I chose and he would be there at every game to support me even if he knew nothing about the sport. When soccer, the sport I loved, did not pan out, my Dad was there with support and the suggestion that I try something else. That is when I started running. My first two years of cross country and track were unremarkable to say the least. However, my Dad was always at every meet and always making sure I was practicing to improve. The motivation paid off. I became a state caliber runner and ended up receiving a scholarship to run in college. It is safe to say that none of this would have been possible without the nagging and pushing of my Dad.
But let us not forget the fathers who are professional athletes that take the time away from their busy practice and game schedules to fulfill their obligations as fathers. ESPN recently did a report on Falcon's linebacker Stephen Nicholas whose infant son has recovered from a potentially fatal heart condition. Nicholas would take time away from the team to visit his son hundreds of miles away in a hospital bed. This caused a drop in production on the field last season. But Nicholas didn't care. Nor should he have cared because his son was the first thing on his mind. It was refreshing to take a step away from the prima donna atmosphere of sports and see a humble man sacrificing a potential paycheck or even his career to look after what is more important.
My hope is that I become a man that can take a step away from whatever career I pursue and be a father like my father was to me. Because no matter what career anybody is in, whether it be professional sports, a doctor, a lawyer, or whatever, very little is more important than family and being a father figure to a youngster in your life.
Happy Fathers Day.