Ode to a Cool Dad

Kind of the whole purpose of this blog is to try to be a really good dad, while also pursuing the passions that drove me before fatherhood entered my life. I remember when Ellie was first born I had a friend who marveled at the fact that I still was able to surf every couple weeks. "When I had my kid I didn't do anything," he said. It made me feel good, of course, and hopefully not in a vain way; but I hope this whole blog relays that message well, and inspires some dads out there to do the same.

But one thing I haven't mentioned enough is where this whole drive came from: my own dad. My dad is really remarkable, and the older he gets, he still never ceases to amaze and inspire me. He taught me to surf, bringing me out when I was probably only 7 or 8 years old. I have a memory of the 80s-style heavy glassed board flying up in the air and hitting me in the head, causing me to run to the beach in tears and essentially putting a major pause on my surfing "career." He was always one to push me, probably ushering me back out into the waves (I don't remember if it was the same day though, maybe because of the head injury), but not to the point that I was sobbing in the water while he held the board and threw me into the waves. I eventually got really into the sport, of course, but had some detours along the way.

Dad, shredding at Folly.
About that same time I was into baseball, and he was always either the coach or assistant coach on my team. He also coached my sister's soccer team when she got into that. Martial arts was always a part of our household, as he is currently a fifth-degree black belt in Shaolin Kempo, and though my sister and I floated in and out of the sport, he was always teaching or bringing us along. Chuck Norris was always an acceptable figure in our household, and I used to love perusing the aisles of Hollywood Video checking out Jet Li kung fu movies that he and I would watch together. He ended up starting his own karate studio when I was in middle/high school, which is still here today, though he later exited the business to go back to school and get his masters degree.

When I got into skateboarding, he was in the driveway cruising around, showing me the skate moves he did when he was a kid in the seventies. Him and my mom let me build a halfpipe in the backyard, despite the noise, the danger, the potential lawsuits from neighborhood kids and the nest of black widow spiders it attracted. When I got into skate videos, of course he supported it, and when I decided not to be an architect and instead pursue filmmaking, he hung posters of my favorite movies around the house at my graduation party, never deterring me for a second from trying my hand at an incredibly difficult and competitive job.

Helping me move across the country.
On top of all this was teaching me to snowboard (there's a funny story there), teaching me how to work on cars (though I hated it, I know a ton now), helping me get my first car (a 1965 Mustang that didn't run until we fixed it) and then later giving me his 1986 Mustang GT convertible (more stories there as well). He can fix anything, learn anything and essentially has no limits. I know this because he is still going hard, even with two knee replacements and major shoulder surgery done in the last two years, not to mention a gnarly broken rib from a snowboarding accident not too long before that.

Our first car show together. Dad's 2001 GT on the left and my 86 on the right.
I'll wrap this post up here, because honestly this blog could be pages and pages! Camping trips, kayaking, canoeing, painting, motorcycle riding, hiking on the Appalachian Trail, building projects, mission trips abroad, volunteering at the church, playing drums, running his own business, killing it at softball and so much more. His most recent endeavor (and really a lifelong passion that is hitting its fruition) has been car racing. My dad has always been into cars, and has endless stories of street races when he was a kid and working on this car and that, suping them up and customizing the heck out of them. We nearly always had a Mustang in our household, and right now he has three! One of them is a 1999 Cobra that he has fitted for racing. Last month I got to go on a race with him and see what he does firsthand. I have to say that I cannot believe he goes this fast in a mechanical beast, surrounded by a forty other guys doing the same thing on a track that changes with the weather. Still, it very much suits him and he is very good at it. I cut together this little video compiling a few races as well as my ride along, which freaked me out so much that it was probably my last!

I'll finish this with a massive "Thanks Dad!" I know, know, know, know, know that you are the reason I pursue any of these passions that I do today, and not only that, but work hard to be a good and involved dad, just as you were. Know that you inspired, and continue to inspire me, and I'll continue in your footsteps the best I can. I love you!