My Father, the All-American

My dad has always been in great shape. As far back as I can remember – in snippets and photographs, mostly – I’d ride¬†a rocking-horse contraption in the garage while he worked out.

After we moved to “the homestead,” his exercise routine grew, and so did the yard work. Rather than a simple vegetable garden in the back yard and a couple carefully-mulched trees, we had acres of land, and my dad filled them with rows upon rows of corn and carrots and tomatoes and beans and potatoes and…you get the picture. We have landscaping that wraps around the house — rosebushes and daffodils and barberry bushes — as well as apple trees and pear trees and cherry and plum and apricot trees, not to mention the Japanese maple that moved with us. Dad started making up his own weight-lifting techniques to strengthen his back for splitting wood and push-mowing the yard and digging out a pond for turtles and goldfish.

He’d visit my school or come to track meets or drill competitions and my friends would all make a point of telling me how hot my father was. (Nothing better captures my feelings when people do this than Gene’s comment in an episode of Bob’s Burgers when a student¬†compliments Bob: “He’s married! And to a friend of mine!”)

He and my mom recently stopped by my work and my boss and co-worker had a high-school-girls moment after they left, gushing over how good he still looks. One of them said they’d seen Facebook pictures of him when he was younger and he’s only gotten better looking. As usual, I uncomfortably thanked them and thought well, at least I’ve got good genes, right?

He threw the javelin in school. We have a pretty sweet picture of him in all his college glory, posing with the javelin and looking boss.

Now, he throws the javelin in the Senior Olympics. And by that I mean he pretty much cleans up at every meet. He’s medaled over and over. He’s been named All-American. He recently out-threw every competitor at the meet, aged 35-70.

He’s too humble to brag and feels silly making a big deal about it, but that’s what people have kids for.

I should probably mention, he’s dealt with a lot of joint issues. Every meet, he’s got his wrist or his back or his knees or his ankles (sometimes all of the above) wrapped. He stood on crutches at one competition, waiting for his turn to throw, and he still did amazingly well.

Dad gets his strength from his Savior. He throws to bring glory to God. As long as he’s blessed with the ability, he’ll use it to showcase how good God has been to him.

With Father’s Day around the corner, I think my father deserves a little recognition, too. He’s an All-American, and a hero to his family.