Coming from experience, I can tell you one thing: Sports memories are forever.
As I move on in life, further and further away from the glorious time that was being a kid, I can reflect on a life well-lived.
Fortunately, I had parents whose support had no end.
They were there when I decided I wanted to be like my big brother and play soccer. They were there when I wanted to give up baseball to play football. They were there when I wanted to give up football and concentrate on track and field (mainly field).
Through all the successes and through all of the failures; they were there.
I can still remember being an 9-year old boy in coach's pitch baseball, slugging the game winning home run with one out in the last inning. A home run that not only sent us to the state tournament, but also broke out the window of the opposing coach's car.
We would finish second place in the state of Texas.
I still remember pitching a no-hitter against Roger Clemens' son's team. After the game I asked him for his autograph, and he jokingly asked me for mine before signing my cap.
My dad, being the supportive dad that he is, said I looked better than Roger that day. He always knew how to make me laugh.
I remember even the embarrassing moments too, like having to go to the bathroom, and then having your teammate run into the bathroom telling me I was up to bat, then hitting a triple with TP on the bottom of my cleats.
I remember the practice I hit seven home runs and how the coach made my dad retrieve the balls from the woods behind the field. He was happy to do it, because that's the kind of man my dad is.
I remember my dad teaching me how to throw a curve ball, and when I got it down I was so excited we stayed after one of my games for three hours so I could pitch it to him.
He warned me not to throw my fastball because he had no pads on. But one time—I thought I was being coy—I threw it to him. Even at 11 years old, I almost knocked him off the bucket he was sitting on.
I remember the first time my dad took me bowling, and he taught me the secrets it took to be a bowler at his Alma Mater, Cornell. His teachings helped me to a 205 average my senior year in high school, and two appearances at the state tournament.
When I gave up baseball at age 12 to pursue football, my dad was heartbroken, though he did not show it. I was a successful lineman, making the all-star team in sixth grade.
When I played football in high school, I was the first freshman to make the jump to varsity in spring training. I will never forget the bond I shared with my teammates. I met my best friend in high school the first day of freshman football at locker assignments. Our lockers were next to each other and we are still close friends after nine years.
I can remember, and now especially appreciate, how much time my parents invested in my happiness. They would drive me to all my games. From soccer games 10 minutes away, to the summer track state finals four hours away. From the basketball games down the street, to the State bowling tournament five hours away.
They taught me to be a better person for my family in the future, when I decide to have kids. I know now that I have to support them in whatever they do, no matter the cost.
Playing sports taught me many valuable life lessons. Sportsmanship, respect, persistence, hard work, friendship; just a few values I gained from playing sports.
Playing sports, and now following sports, bonded my father and I. Bonds that will never be broken for anyone.
Sports also brought my brother and I closer than ever.
Watching the 2007 Super Bowl and the Giants pull off the greatest upset in super bowl history with my dad and brother was something I will never forget. My dad flew my brother in from Los Angeles just so we could watch the game together.
We were typical brothers as youths; never getting along and rarely hanging out together. But as we both matured we got over the sibling rivalry, so to speak, we realized we had something in common—our passion as fans.
I will always remember my childhood, and sports have everything to do with that.