For many, fathers are the foundation of their fandom. They’re the why behind the who of who we support, who we idolize, and why we fan in the first place. There are other reasons, sure. But at the core of hardcore long term fandom, there is usually a father.
For me, that was certainly the case. The Ball State Cardinals and the MAC I got to on my own, but at my core, there was my father’s affinity for the Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, passed down like brown eyes or curly hair. Not so genetic, but just as ingrained.
Names like Mickey Mantle or Roger Maris laid the groundwork for my baseball fandom. It had been decades since they had taken swings, but through the stories of my father, it was like they were starting that day at Yankee Stadium. The same went for Kentucky, made even more of a birthright by the generational support from our family and so many families like ours. My father and his father before had supported UK long before me and long before my son will.
In 2012, scores of callers to the postgame show for UK’s National Championship were a mixture of emotions. The happiness of winning a title, the sadness that their connection, their ancestors, their foundation hadn’t lived to see it, and the underlying emotion of remembrance of why you loved that team in the first place was evident in each of their calls. You felt connected. You understood.
It was my most recent, but far from the only, example of the bridge that sports can play. For those that think of it all as just a silly game, I feel sorry for them. For many, myself included, it’s a connection and a feeling that will live forever with those we love.
If you’re celebrating Father’s Day today, I hope you enjoy it. If you’re not celebrating, because of life or death, or some other personal circumstance, I still hope you have a wonderful day. Do some grilling, watch some of the US Open, and enjoy your time.
On to the news and notes you need to know in today’s Hustle Belt Daily Dump....
Toledo’s Gaber to sit on NCAA board | Toledo Blade
As the representative of the Mid-American Conference, Sharon Gaber now represents the entire MAC along with one rep from each of the 32 division one conferences on the NCAA Division 1 Presidential Forum. Good luck!
Kent State golf stars are All-Americans | Ravenna Record-Courier
Ian Holt and Pimnipa Panthong follow up stellar seasons with honorable mention and second-team All American honors, respectively. By any measure, Holt and Panthong have had a remarkable year and both have eligibility remaining. Holt (a junior) and Panthong (a freshman) will likely add to their trophy case next year.
Harbaugh wants to take Wolverines to France or England | SBNation
After a trip to Rome this previous offseason, the Wolverines have their eyes set on the next great M adventure. I’m more excited about the possibility of a “I see Paris, I see France, I see Harbaugh’s khaki pants” sort of rhymes.
On Justin Thomas, accents, and Louisville | SBNation
As a Louisville native, I’m pulling for Justin Thomas at the US Open on Sunday. You should too. After this piece from the mothership, you likely will be also.
5-year old heart transplant recipient gets special invite to Red Sox game | SBNation
When possible we like to close out our news and notes with a feel good story and this is most certainly that. As a Yankees supporter, it pains me to say it, but nice job Red Sox. I’ll give you a pass for a week or so.