I know Father’s Day was five days ago, but I would like to take a minute and share just how much my dad means to me.

Since day one, my dad has been my best friend. Not only do we have a lot in common, but I would say our biggest shared interest is the love of sports.

I remember when I was little; the only show that was ever on in our house was ESPN. As a child, I would ask my dad so many questions. Whether it was about baseball, basketball, soccer or even NASCAR. Whatever the people were doing on the television at that particular time, I would have multiple questions for.

Not only did he take the time to answer those questions, but as I got older, sitting on the couch and watching TV with my dad started to become a daily ritual for us.

For some people that might sound boring, but to me that was my favorite part of the entire day. Having the chance to sit down and talk about not just sports, but about life in general. That’s when I felt most connected to him. Even to this day, I can still say the same.

As a little kid, I recall a few times coming home upset after losing a close game or a race. After locking myself in my room and telling everyone to go away, the only thing that would bring my mind to ease was talking to my dad. He not only knew just what to say to get me out of my own head, but I liked how he never sugar coated anything.

If I didn’t play well, he would tell me right to my face that I needed to get better. He wasn’t trying to be mean about it; he was just trying to get through to my head. He taught me that success doesn’t just show up. You have to work for it.

After our talks, depending on what time it was, we would walk downstairs, sit on the couch and turn on “SportsCenter.” As a hot-headed kid who always took losing to heart, that was always the best medicine for me. Sometimes we would follow up on our conversations and other times we would just sit there in the quiet. Either way, those are the memories I’ll never forget.

Not only has my dad taken care of just me for so many years, but also my entire family. It’s because of him I know what it means to be a man. For as long as I can remember, my dad has gotten up at the crack of dawn to provide for us. Even after work, he would come home and work some more. By that I mean he would cook dinner, mow the lawn, help all of us kids with our homework, etc. He would then sleep for a few hours and repeat his day all over again without ever once complaining.

To say my dad is my hero is an understatement. I know not every kid is fortunate enough to grow up having a father, but I can’t stop thinking just how blessed I am to call mine my best friend.

So many times I have gone to him with a problem looking to find an answer. Sometimes he would give me those answers, and others I would have to find out on my own. Either way, watching my dad attack life each and every day has been more than just a lesson for me, but an opportunity. It’s because of him; I am where I’m at today.

Between driving me to every game growing up and cheering for me on from the stands, I can’t say thank you enough to my dad. I don’t always tell him just how much he means to me, but every day I do my best to show it.

Years ago, my way of showing him was going out and scoring goals, or taking first place. Now, it’s leading by example and treating everyone with respect. So many times growing up, my dad would say, “What you put into life is what you get out of it.”

As a young kid, I didn’t always understand what that meant. It wasn’t until I got older before I realized just how powerful those words really are.

As a sports fan, one of my all time favorite memories of my dad was our trip to Denver, Colorado, to watch the Avalanche play for the very first time. Growing up as a hockey player in Wyoming, Colorado has always been my favorite NHL team.

The day he broke the news to me and put that ticket in my hand, I remember wanting to pass out with excitement. Not only did he take off work that weekend to attend the game, but he even stayed late after the game was over to help me get a few autographs from the players. Not many dads would be willing to do that, but mine did.

Since that trip to Denver, my dad and I have gone on to watch three more professional hockey games, a few baseball and a pro soccer game together.

So for all of those kids around the world, who are fortunate enough to have a mom or dad, don’t take your time with them for granted. Find that special connection. It’s worth it.

Wesley Magagna is a reporter for the Rocket-Miner. He can be reached at sports@rocketminer.com.

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