Sunday, February 3, 2013

Where the Silly Becomes Sacred {My Dad & the Super Bowl}

There are three places where I can "see" my dad.  Not just remember him, but actually see him.

One is the Lincoln high school parking lot.  I excelled at locking my keys in the car during those first driving years and one of the many times my dad came to my rescue he said, "Melissa, the average person only locks their keys in the car 2.3 times."  For the record, I think he made that number up because, really, who knows that stat on the fly?  But, I met his info with a little truth of my own.  "I always strive to be above average, dad."  He was less than impressed, and when I drive past that parking spot I see my flabbergasted dad and laugh.

Then there is Prairie Green golf course.  Oh yes, the summer day I showed up to my father-daughter date golf tutorial in flip flops and a spaghetti string tank top.  Not. Popular.  Apparently I was supposed to be thinking more about sports than my tan.  Oops.  However, he quickly got over it and covered my hands in his to teach me the appropriate club grip.  It was the beginning of hours of teaching, laughing, and chatting.  I was terrible, but he actually got a win (he was no golf extraordinaire himself) and I got a nice tan so it amounted to a win-win.  Today I look at those rolling greens and see my dad investing in me.

Finally there is the NFL.  When my brother and I were little he'd hang with us for hours after church, teaching us the logistics of the game.  The time investment was his alone because my mom could care less.  She occasionally dawns a Packers shirt but that is more about annoying me than it is having any kind of team spirit.  We sat around the kitchen counter - him always sitting on the end, always in his dorky zubaz. 

He was a 49ers fan and with each touchdown he'd fly off the stool into a victory dance that looked more like a seizure than any sort of coordinated dance move.  When my brother claimed the Cowboys and myself the Vikings, the dance became a taunt and the smack talk flew.  More hours were logged watching the pigskin fly together than I could count.

And, even though that made kickoff Sunday tough for me after his death, it also became one of the most special places God shifted my perspective because every Sunday during football season memories come alive of cherished time spent together.

When the Vikings fell out of playoff contention, my support naturally went to his Niners.

Today they will play in the Super Bowl.  I didn't think it was possible to love seeing a team that wasn't my own in the game, but I've never been more excited for the title game.  We're having a taco bar because Mexican was my dad's favorite.  Milk Duds and Whoppers will be available by the handful because those were the candies he loved so much that he actually hid them from us so as to not have to share. 

To top it off, I got a package in the mail from my brother.  When I opened it my emotions flip-flopped between laughter and tears.  I can only imagine his smile in heaven. 


In my teen years I rolled my eyes over these loud pants and swore I would never wear them but today I can't imagine anything more appropriate.  Nicely played, bro.  Paired with a black long sleeve T from Santa and beads that my 5 year old bought me at HyVee, I'm ready to fly off the couch into a victory dance of my own.

And, as I do, I will see my dad dancing too.

Today the silly becomes sacred.  Flying pigskin, yummy food, and obnoxious, ugly pants connect us here on earth to my dad in heaven, and I am forever grateful.


Love you, dad

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  1. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Melissa, my dad died Jan. 11. Yes, just a few weeks ago. He was a devoted Fighting Irish of Notre Dame fan to the very end. I mean very end. Just a couple days from his death, the last thing he read was the newspaper to look for the championship game details. They lost that game, and dad lost his grip on life just hours later. This whole death of a father thing is new to me, but he did like football, and I will be thinking of him in a special way today. Thank you for sharing. :)

    1. Roxane, my heart is with you. Ironically, my husband and I are big Fighting Irish fans as well. That game was rough but I'm glad he got to see them play in it.

      I remember sobbing the first football games I watched without my dad. It felt like salt in the wound, and I longed for his company.

      Your world has changed and my email is available in the connect if you ever wish to. However, over time, there will be those places that are painful right now that God makes into a "connect" that will cause you to smile in his memory. Perhaps football will be that place.


  3. Well said Melissa...and yes, I am sitting here with tears. May you have a wonderful day and be wrapped with your pleasant memories.


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