Archived Story

Here’s to you, dad

Published 6:50pm Thursday, June 16, 2011

For the two-plus years that I was sports editor at The Outlook, the column-writing portion of the job was one of the easiest for me.

First of all, the main sports topic people care about in our area is obviously college football, and I’m all over the Auburn-Alabama rivalry. I keep up with both sides, I listen to a lot of outside opinions on the subject and it’s something I care about a lot, so that makes it fairly simple to think of an idea worth writing about.

Secondly, I’m a cynical person. Certain things just annoy me, especially about sports, so it’s no problem for me to pick apart an issue or someone else’s stance on something and turn it into, hopefully, a somewhat interesting article.

However, over here on the news side, it’s a little more complicated. You have to be well-versed on a subject to make a good point, and there aren’t many things outside of the sports world I’m comfortable enough about to argue.

So unless I have a lot of time to research, I have to cross most of those types of columns off the list. There are plenty of current events nationally or locally that I could probably scrap some words together about and turn it into a column, but the majority of the time, not much gets me fired up enough to actually write about.

And if it’s not something that gets my full attention, it probably won’t result in the best article. It would bother me to have my name on the byline of a column that I know is crappy, so unless I feel strongly about something, I usually just try to avoid it altogether.

Columns don’t always have to be about news though — they can also be personal. But, that’s just not my style. I don’t know why people would want to read about my life for one thing, but even if they did, I’m not too comfortable letting people know things about me. It’s no one’s business, and like I said before, I don’t just want to write something to fill space.

I know, I know … it’s time to get to the point. Today I’m branching out, I’m not going to be critical or sarcastic and I’m going to talk about myself.

Well, sort of — I’m going to talk about my dad.

Sunday is Father’s Day, and I probably won’t get to see my dad. He and my mom and brother live three hours away and I have to work Saturday, so one day and six hours of driving is a little more than either one of us want to endure.

If we did get to hang out though, more than likely it would be on the golf course. Since I’ve left home and moved to Auburn almost seven years ago, I see all my relatives less and less. So, for my dad and I, playing golf is one of the best ways to spend the short amount of time we get together.

Nothing is more satisfying than taking five bucks from dad on the course. We both may be struggling to break 90, but we’re trying just as hard as Tiger and Phil.

We’re similar in a lot of ways, but sports are what we both relate to best. He was my little league coach growing up, and he and mom were always at my games in high school.

After all colleges inexplicably passed up the chance to offer me a baseball scholarship following my high school days (OK, had to add a little sarcasm), we had to find something else to do together and that was golf.

But even if we both couldn’t play golf, we still have Auburn. Despite having mostly misguided Crimson Tide family members and friends, dad has long been sporting the orange and blue.

I’m sure he helped push me toward Auburn’s side as a kid, but I remember making the decision on my own. One of the first games I can remember watching was the Alabama-Miami national title game on Jan. 1, 1993 when I was 7.

I don’t recall who all we watched the game with; I just know he and I were the only two Auburn fans and that dad took some serious jabs from the rest of the room. It was then and there I decided that Alabama was evil and Auburn was pure, and I feel the same way today.

That next football season, Auburn was on probation and none of the games could be broadcast on television. We listened to each game on the radio (all 11 victories and zero losses) and we’ve missed very few since then.

So, dad, I won’t see you Sunday, but I’ll give you a call so we can discuss AU’s recruiting class and to make sure I shot one stroke better than you did.

And to tell you Happy Father’s Day.

Dusty Harper is news editor of The Outlook.