Saturday, November 19, 2005

Clash of the Titans

As strange as it might sound... this weekend over any other might have more meaning for me when it comes to remembering my father. Not a particular date each year, but rather the weekend that the OSU Buckeyes play the Michigan Wolverines in football. Forgive me when I say this is and Ohio thing. Or a Michigan thing, if you live up north. This is the very definition of a sports rivalry. I don't know about the Michigan folks, but I do know that Ohio fans would rather see our Buckeyes lose every other game of the season, but beat Michigan, than have it the other way around.

My father was an OSU fan to the core. I was raised on Buckeye football in the glory days of Woody Hayes and Art Schleister. We usually went to at least one game each season while I was growing up, and were glued to the radio and then the television for the remainder of them. It was an institution in our household that was not to be dishonered. When my brother was to rebel as a young teen, he proclaimed himself a Michigan fan and started wearing a blue and gold football jersey around the house, because he knew how this would get to our dad. After my mother died 7 years ago, I'd visit my dad on Saturdays in the fall, and we'd watch the games together. It was our tradition that continued when he came to live with us after his stroke and after we eventually had to move him to a nursing home. It was something that connected us like nothing else could.

This is my first OSU football season without my father. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch any of the other games. But today I managed to get W.T. down for a nap just after the game started, so I sat down with the memories of my father all around me, and watched the Buckeyes pull out a W in the final seconds of the game. And I cried and cried, and then cried some more.

It's been just over 6 months since my dad passed away. I miss him terribly. Quite honestly, I miss him more than I ever thought I would. He was not the perfect father; who is? And I don't know that he really, truly wanted to be a father. But he loved my mother enough to agree to adopting two children. He worked hard, and we while we didn't always have what we wanted, we always had what we needed. It's unfortunate that we don't learn the difference between those until we're grown. We grew closer after my mother died, and I was able to let go of the disappointment I often felt when remembering my childhood. We grew closer still after he had a stroke in 2001 and came to live with us. His death was somewhat sudden, so I will always have the typical 'I wish I would've had the chance to tell him this...' feelings. I can't talk to him now, but I like to think that he can hear what's in my heart.

1 comment:

welshwitch36 said...

My dad died some years ago and I felt the same way when Wales won their first rugby grand slam in 27 years (they beat England, Scotland, France and Italy in one season). It was a very emotional day and a shame that he didn't live to see Wales achieve what they did after such a lean 20 years.