I married a sports fan. ESPN is on… pretty much all the time. It’s a lullaby, really.
I did not grow up in a sports fan home, though. I grew up in a home full of people who played sports. But no one ever really went crazy over them, unless you consider my dad’s love of the Chiefs and the Packers. No… in recent years my dad’s work schedule has dictated his interest in everything, so he chose to simply watch the highlights instead of the whole game and use his free time for more important things. Like completing my mom’s to-do lists.
My favorite is when I come downstairs early after a big ‘event’ and they are still replaying Sports Center from the night before. I get the news stories. The highlights. The drama. And, of course, the day’s Top Plays.
There’s something about the Top Plays that reminds me what I’ve always loved about sports- whether I’m watching them, playing them or cheering them on. Top Plays are the biggest hits, the craziest moves, the most passionate, intensity-filled catches or dunks or touchdowns. The top plays are what make sports worth watching.
So it doesn’t surprise me that my dad prefers to watch them.
He’s always been a Top Play kinda guy. Going for the biggest thrill. The best vacation. The most exciting surprise. He loves life. I don’t know that anyone who knows him would deny that… and especially not me. (I am a daddy’s girl, after all)
So in honor of Top Play Dads everywhere, here are some of my dad’s Top Plays. What are some of yours?
Spur of the Moment Excitement: My dad is an on-the-fly guy. He sees a trailhead? He pulls over right in the middle of the journey and takes a quick hike. He has a 5-hour layover? He’s calling up an old friend and meeting him for lunch… with 20 minutes notice. He has a free weekend and enough points? He’s on a plane going… anywhere. He realizes that life is short… and he doesn’t want to miss a moment of fun!
The Big Surprise: My dad loves to surprise people. I think it’s one of his love languages, actually. He loves knocking on the door, camera in hand, and catching the big shock on someone’s face. I first really enjoyed this aspect of my dad when I was little. It never failed. Every now and then, I would get a call from the office at school that my dad was there to pick me up. And where would we go?
Seriously? Who does that? Who surprises their kid and pulls them out of school to go flying? My dad! When we took our first family trip overseas on what we thought was going to be a week in England, he surprised us by loading us up on the Chunnel and treating us to a few days in Paris as well! My dad loves to surprise and bless people when they least expect it.
Daydream Believer: My dad loves the song Daydream Believer by the Monkees (Go ahead… click the link. Sing along. You know you want to.) And every time they sing the line “O what can it mean, to a— daydrea—m believer and a ho—mecoming quee—-n!” he grabs my mom around the waist and sings it at the top of his lungs. Then he always says, “That’s us honeeeey! A daydream believer and a homecoming queen!” And that is more true than you could ever know.
My dad is a dreamer. Big ideas. Big dreams. Big plans. Some realized, some left undone, some in the works as we speak. And the best part of him being a dreamer, is he also always believed in his kids. And that’s what makes him the best dad ever. When my mom was a proper mom and wanted to protect us and keep us safe, he was standing beside us. Hands on our shoulders saying, “a bird can never fly unless you let it try.” And fly, we did. Sometimes we flopped. Sometimes we fell. But that was part of the equation, and he knew that. He knew we had to learn. And we had to try. Just like he did. Because it was worth it to rise above and make that Top Play. Because you only get one shot at life. Might as well spend it making as many Top Plays as possible… and loving every moment.