By Paul E. Gable
As Father’s Day rolls around it is funny the memories it conjures up of earlier times.
As a child, I played basketball thinking I was Larry Bird and baseball pretending I was Shawon Dunston.
If I was inside the gym at Myrtle Beach’s Pepper Geddings Recreation Center, I’d dribble into the corner and throw up a 3-pointer.
If I was on the diamonds, I’d throw the ball as hard as I could to first.
And, many times, I did this much to the ire of my father.
“Stop throwing up threes, you’re not Larry!”
“Make the routine throw!”
Yep, those were the words of my father, Paul E. Gable III.
I learned those two lessons, and many more from him.
Growing up as a kid, I could expect several things – trips to Hardee’s in the morning to talk sports with dad, there was a strong hatred for the New York Yankees, Notre Dame football was the only thing we could find on television on a Saturday – even in South Carolina – and dad was going to teach the “proper” way to learn the basic fundamentals, regardless of the sport.
I remember throwing a football in the yard once, and having to not only learn the proper way to hold a football, but having to hear about how when he was the quarterback for New Jersey’s Morris Hills High School, he once had a season where he didn’t have a fumble or throw an interception.
I would roll my eyes and huff and puff at the “lessons,” but today, I look back on those moments fondly.
I look back and smile at the memories of my dad waking me up and us going to the basketball court at Myrtle Beach Elementary School, where he taught me the basics of basketball, including how to play man-to-man defense.
I remember dad putting rocks in my shoes to “force” me to run on my toes. “An old track lesson,” he’d say.
I remember throwing a baseball and him teaching me how to hit, much to the chagrin of my late mother, who replaced more than one living room window during my childhood.
And, I remember the conversations about and trips home after sporting events in which I played for my father, who was my coach for many sports.
The man is a veteran of the United States Navy, and while he never got many medals for service, he deserved one for coaching and raising me.
He had patience.
He was supportive, even when I told him as a college recruit for tennis I no longer wanted to play the sport (that was short lived).
And, he made sports fun.
I didn’t inherit all his athletic abilities, but I like to think I held my own, having earned a scholarship to play college tennis.
But, what I did inherit were little lessons here and there – doing my best, not quitting, not offering any excuses and pushing myself along the way.
There were many days when I wanted to be at the beach and not on a tennis court hitting my fifth basket of serves, but dad would say something along the lines of, “Son, the beach will always be there. College coaches won’t be.”
Looking back, I laugh.
He is right.
He WAS always right. Amazing, how the older we get the more we realize our fathers truly did know it all.
So I’ll conclude with this, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, especially Paul E. Gable III, who taught me the most important thing in life isn’t the score or winning as much as it is giving an honest effort.
Paul E Gable is a graduate of Loris High School and Newberry College and is the editor of The Shelbyville News, Shelbyville, Indiana. Follow Gable on Twitter @PaulGableTSN.