A father is a son’s first hero…
In the words of the great Jim Valvano, my dad gave me the greatest gift you could give to anyone…he believed in me.
Mine always does. There isn’t anything that could possibly amount to how much it can do for your self esteem as a man when the man you look up to most always has your back.
There truly isn’t a better man I could have hand-picked to be my dad.
We are talking about a guy who slept on the floor in my room until I was 7 or 8 because it made me feel safe at night. We would pop in a movie and I would fall asleep knowing the man who could protect me from anything was less than two feet away. I remember the day I told him I was too old for him to sleep in my room. I am sure that was hard to hear for him, but he took it in stride. I will never forget that.
This is the same guy who would spend every Monday and Thursday watching wrestling with me. Whenever it came to town, he would always buy us tickets. I remember being six maybe and going to see WCW Monday Nitro and us going nuts when our favorite wrestler, Ric Flair, came out. I will never forget that.
Don’t even get me started on the countless hours and money this man invested in me for baseball. We would drive down to Houma to go hit in the batting cages after Celebration Station closed. Also his shoulder probably took a beating from the the amount of BP he would throw me at the park. His knees took the same beating from him letting me throw pitch after pitch in our front yard. He still has a mark on his leg when I drilled a line drive at his leg. I will never forget that.
My dad, being a salesman, traveled for work a lot when I was reaching the bulk of my playing days (10-13), but he will never understand how much it meant when he would come to the games he could. He typically served as an assistant for many of my teams growing up. I will never forget that.
Before the legend of Nick Saban, there was the legend of Bob Fucking Hotard. I remember the first season he was head coach for my rec team. We went 23-0-1 and the game we tied, guess who wasn’t there? Yeah, Bob. Fucking Legend. There was nothing better than playing for him. It gave us both something to always look forward to. He continued to coach until I stopped playing. Those four years are some of the best sports memories I will ever have. It also helped that we walked away with three championships. We only fell short one year. It is something we talk about a lot. I will never forget those seasons. Is it because we like reminiscing our glory? Maybe a little. But hey, we did it as father and son. That is pretty cool.
If there is something Bob and I know how to do, it is win.
You know, I thought he was going to dropkick me when I came home and told him I wanted to quit playing high school ball. But people can surprise you. I remember hearing on the morning announcements at school that the softball team needed a public address announcer and I thought that would be fun. Considering I wanted to be a broadcaster, I thought it would be a good place to start.
I spent the next week mulling the idea and how I would tell my dad. After all the time and money he spent, I didn’t want to disappoint him. I wanted to quit baseball because it wasn’t fun anymore.
When I told him about the opportunity and that I would have to quit baseball, he told me go for it. He told me it was decision I needed to make for myself and to live with that decision. It made that decision much better knowing that my dad had my back. I will never forget that.
He has always put my interest ahead of his. When I was in college, he had been laid off from his job at the time. I remember walking to the caf from football practice and the conversation we had on the phone. I held a job working as videographer for the program and it took up about 20-24 hours Monday-Friday and weekends were pretty much all football except Sunday afternoons.
All those hours for $1,500 per semester. I figured I would have to quit to earn more money. He told me, “fuck no…absolutely not.” He wasn’t going to allow me to give up something I enjoyed. We were going to figure it out. I will never forget that.
Even at 26-years-old, we still have a bond as strong as ever. He is still the same man. Our relationship dynamic is a little different. The love is always there. We just tend to show it differently. It usually involves verbal jabs. There will never be love lost though.
We still enjoy a lot of those same things we always have.
We still attend wrestling events together. In January, we sat in the third row for Monday Night Raw. I brought a sign that said “Still Real to Bob Damn It,” which got featured on a very popular internet wrestling show.
We still watch movies together about once per month when my wife works on Saturdays. We take that opportunity to go check out a new flick.
And this blog. You won’t find a bigger supporter than he and my mom. Whenever we have people over at our house or they have people at theirs, you will probably find Bob and Erin both wearing their Hotard Huddle t-shirts. Talk about love for your son.
Aside from being there for me always, my dad has taught me so many lessons that I carry with me. He has taught me how to be a loving husband to my wife. He has taught me how to be successful in my work. He has taught me how to take punches and roll with them, not literally though. Feel like I needed to clarify.
He has given me every tool to be successful in life.
But the one thing he has taught me is how to love and be a great dad. It is a task I can’t wait for and that is in large part because I had the best one.
One of my favorite scenes from a show we always watched together, Boy Meets World, puts words perfectly as to how I feel about him.
Alan had fired Eric from the store they owned because they wanted him to apply himself. Alan told him he needed to find his own way because there would be a time when he wasn’t around. Eric decided to take the ACT and scored well. At the end of the episode, he told Alan…
“You said to me that there would be a time when you weren’t going to be around anymore and that’s not so. I remember everything that you taught me and I am going to turn around and teach that to my children. So you see, you’re always going to be around.”
That goes for you Bob. So thank you. To the best dad I could possibly ask for…
Keep being a fucking legend homie. Happy Father’s Day.
Also have to give a shoutout to my other dad, Grant. You the man, fam! Then of course my grandpa who is no longer with us.
Love all you guys!