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Looking Up

By baseballkingjoe May 04, 2013 1978 Words
Looking Up
“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little bit of each other everywhere”-Unknown. Growing up as a child was never really a tough thing for me. I came from a solid family with nothing but the normal issues that would come between us. My 2 brothers were always there to nag me about everything, then of course tell on me when I did something wrong. When I would get told on they would always run to my Dad, who always made the punishment a lot worse, but for good reason. My brothers were both “mommy’s boys” growing up, but me, no way, I was a “daddy’s boy”. My dad taught me the value of respect and honesty towards everyone. He always told me to put myself in someone else’s shoes and appreciate what I had. This man I call “Dad” is the most influential person in my life.

As a child I can and will always remember all the time I spent with my dad. If it came down to going with mom or dad, I would always choose my dad. He was the most important thing to me in my life. From as far back as I can remember every summer we would go to the beach and spend a week there for our summer vacation. Everyday when we would go out onto the beach my dad would always drag me out into the ocean and “jump waves.” As a little kid he could pull me up really high to make me feel like I could fly, when really in my mind when I look back it makes me feel like I was flying. I look back and begin to reminisce on the good times of being a child and how the people around me made me feel, like my dad. He always knew the right thing to tell me even when he knew I didn’t want to hear it. Regardless of how I felt about it then, it really turned me around and shaped me into the person I am today.

As children grow up, they are all raised in different households and brought up differently, depending on how their parents want to raise their child. In my household it was more of a “tough love” kind of thing. We had a lot of great times but then there was also some of it that came down too being “tough” and not being a girl. Most of this came from my dad. As a kid I can remember that my dad was always the one who would tell me to “quit crying” or to “straighten up”. Which being a small child, when I would hear that it would just make me cry even more. It was almost as if someone broke my leg and then told me not to cry about it. Well, maybe I over exaggerated that a tiny bit, but it was still all about being tough. Having to really bulk up as a kid in a psychological way was one of the best things for me. I’ve put up with a lot of stress in my life, and being raised like that made it a lot easier on my mind to handle it all and I have my dad to thank for all of that.

Throughout my life my dad was all about going out as a family and doing things together. To him I guess it was more of spending time together to really “drink in” the good ole days. Like everyone always said, “They won’t stay young forever,” and my dad was all about spending time at the lake. I felt like every week during the summer my dad would pick out a day where he was off work and we would go to the lake. The first time we ever went dad was ultimately determined to get my brother and I to water ski, so my dad put my brother and I up on the tailgate of his truck and taught us everything he knew about water skiing and the rest was history. I remember going out for the first time and I kept telling myself, “arms out, knees bent” and guess what I did? I face planted right back into the water like a skydiver without a parachute. It was one of the weaker points of my life where I was so frustrated that I quit. So of course, as usual, my dad finally convinces me to get up and try it one more time, and as he promised, I got up first try and it made me the happiest kid in the world. All because of my dad telling me, “one more time Joey,” and that’s all it took for me to accomplish one simple thing such as water skiing. He was always there pushing me, telling me to keep going, don’t give it up, and to not settle myself short. All of these things have stuck in my head since I was a little kid, and when I find myself in a situation where I need motivation I ask myself what my dad would tell me to do and that gives me that final push that I need to get something done.

Motivation from my dad also came from the cheering behind the fence or on the sidelines of a sporting event. I can remember playing baseball and being a catcher behind the plate. My dad would always be just a couple of feet away from my back, talking to me and cheering me on, as well as telling me when to calm down and pick somebody up if they were down. My dad showed me how to be a leader and transformed my perspective of sports. He taught me how to step up and be a leader, how to bring someone up if they were down and that respect was a sure sign of strength and not weakness. Responding to someone older then me with “yes sir, no sir, no ma’am, and yes ma’am.” This all came to me when I was playing sports. Through all the baseball, basketball, and football games, my dad was always the first one to tell me I played well even if I didn’t play to the best of my ability. If we lost a game he would always tell me, “the sun will come up tomorrow.” That saying has stayed in my mind over all the years and knowing that no matter if I lost or won that I would wake up the next morning and carry on throughout the day. He would always stand by my side through every low point in my life and would help pick me up when I needed it.

The lowest point in my life hit me when I was a junior in high school and it had seemed like my year wasn’t going so well and at the start of 2010 I hit rock bottom. I had a situation where the law got involved and I truly felt like my life was at its lowest point. I was in a situation that I couldn’t seem to find any reasonable thing to try and hold myself together. My mind started to go drift off in the wrong direction and I had came to a point where I had to change my decision making as well as the way I looked at the problems I came in contact with. My dad was the one who really stepped up and told me that he was going to point me in the right direction but that I had to do things on my own and grow up. I know that it sounds like a bad thing to tell a 16 year-old kid but it was what I needed to hear. I truly had to work myself back up and make things happen for myself instead of having someone do things for me. My dad guided me along the way. Telling me where to go and if I went one way how it would change my outcome. My dad gave me a solid base and really helped me figure out what I was truly capable of doing. He showed me that anything is possible with motivation and responsibility. I found myself going out about my daily routine of life with a new perspective. He showed me to look at something that was bad, and find the good in it and work with it. There is always a good side to a situation in anyone’s life, they just have to dig deep and find it, and throughout the rest of my life I carried that with me everywhere I went.

Dad was always the first to tell me not to stop, once I reached a goal. He told me that I needed to carry on throughout my days with an attitude that never settled for best because the best could always get better. I remember one of the last days in high school when I found out that I was for sure going to graduate, and that I had reached a great goal in life. So I sent my dad a text while I was at school saying, “Dad, I’m graduating.” Well a couple of minutes went by and I got a text back. I thought the text was going to be a very happy and joyful moment but what I got was, “Good. Don’t get cocky.” As I read the text I couldn’t help but laugh and wonder why he sent me that as a reply, and that is when I figured out that I didn’t need to stop there. Yes, I had reached an awesome achievement in my life, but there was no reason to not keep going. For me this was a moment that I will never forget because I took it as an uplifting lesson in my life.

“Steadfast love,” is what my dad used to always tell my brothers and I. The definition of steadfast is “fixed or unchanging; steady.” When my dad would tell me this as a kid I didn’t really think about it as a big word, but as I got older I started to realize that it was more than just an adjective to me. It was more of a reminder that no matter what, my dad as well as my mom would always love me. Even through the hardest times and no matter what I did, they would still love me. My dad taught me how to love, and when I loved someone or some thing that I needed to hold it close to my heart and defend it with everything that I had.

I know that I use past tense words while talking about my dad but that doesn’t mean anything. Things that have happened in the past with me have carried me on throughout my life and I know that I wish I could go back to the days as a small child where the worst thing that could possibly happen was being told to go to bed early for talking back to my parents, but my dad taught me that it is all a part of life, this whole “growing up” thing. I know that people will come and go through everyone’s life but the ones that are meant to be in it will stay. And for me, my dad is indescribably the most influential person in my life and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. I will always be in debt to him for the amount of motivation and commitment he gave me. As one of my dad’s favorite people always said, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give another person, he believed in me.” –Jimmy Valvano

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