My dad, Mike (picture running this year's Memorial Day 5K with me), is one of those people who never met a stranger. Teaching for 30 years in the Zanesville City School system and also officiating basketball, volleyball, and softball helped him connect with a lot of people in our hometown over the years. He's still at it in Mount Vernon now as well as around the world on all the trips that he and my mom take. This is just one of many traits of his that I have picked up as I enjoy connecting with as many people as possible...thus the title of my blog - Six Degrees of MVNUSID.
My dad is one of those guys who was born before his time. If he would have grown up during the YouTube generation of today, he would surely have gone viral many times with all of his many sports tricks and other hijinks. While he wasn't a star athlete on a team, he was never one to back down from a challenge or turn a routine sport into some kind of crazy fun. He's been known to make all kinds of trick shots with a basketball in the gym, play catch with his brothers while standing on posts in their yard, throw a football behind his back almost as far as he throws it normally, or hop on a pogo stick to see if he could make it around a city block. As a softball pitcher, he once struck a batter out by intentionally pitching behind the hitter's head and hitting the bat on his shoulder to register a third strike. I've picked up on these traits as I always try to find a way to keep the things that I'm involved in interesting and avoid the mundane.
Through all this physical exercise, my dad has been a great example of staying active and in good shape. At 64, he has already ridden over 1,100 miles on his bicycle this year and plans to ride across the state of Indiana in a day this July with some friends. Even today on Father's Day, he spent it climbing 12 miles from Manitou Springs to the top of Pike's Peak. I guess you could say that he has been the inspiration that led me to reach the 1,000-mile mark for running this year fittingly on Father's Day as I try to reach my goal for the year of 2,011 miles in 2011.
My dad has always been a great dad who would do anything for his kids. While we were never rich as a family of six living on a teacher's salary, he made sure that we always took family vacations in the summer. We were creative about the things that we did to have fun and he instilled in us that relationships are way more valuable than money and things. I've tried to live my life that way as well and I thank him for teaching me that early on.
My dad has also been a great example to me of how to be a husband. He loves my mom more than anything and they are best friends. It is so refreshing to see this when it's unfortunately not the norm any more in the world that we live in. I hope my kids can say this about me for the way that I treat Carla.
Most importantly, my dad has always shown me what living a Godly, ethical life of character looks like and the rest of these traits all stem from that. He has always put the needs of others before himself and has been a tremendous example in this way for me to try and emulate.
Back in the early '90s, Gatorade had a commercial where NBA superstar Michael Jordan promoted their product. Here's the clip courtesy of YouTube:
While I grew up like most kids dreaming of being a star athlete, I can now say with great certainty that I really do want to be like Mike...Mike Parsons. Thanks, Dad! I love you!!! Happy Father's Day!