On December 12th, I learned that there probably wasn't much time left with my father. On January 13th 2018, time was up. I'm writing this as a way to cope and think about him, but also as a way to give him some respect and express my thoughts. He grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee where he wrestled for McCallie school. He chose wrestling over boxing when a classmate of his, Ted Turner, asked him to box with him, and clocked my dad a couple times. Being that getting punched in the face sucks, he chose to wrestle. He ended up placing second in the mid south in what must have been 1955, and ultimately enjoyed the sport well enough to encourage me to wrestle when I was older. I was horrible as bad as any wrestler that I've ever seen. My Mom wouldn't let me quit, which is a huge contributing piece to me doing what I'm doing now. My Dad was very competitive, and that fight and drive helped me use the losses as fuel, and teaching moments rather than killing my confidence. I knew that I had valuable experience, and worked harder than anyone else, and that naive confidence, and the genuine belief that you worked harder than anyone across from you is a huge advantage.
He never missed an event of mine, and I'm looking for old wrestling tapes to re-watch today. He would yell completely insane things like "throw his ass down", and "give him his fucking two". At the time it was obnoxious, but in retrospect it is some of the funniest stuff out there. In addition to wrestling, I got my sense of humor from him, and ability to think critically about things. We would listen to Richard Pryor, and George Carlin records (yes records) and crack up. He played the piano, which is why I took it up as well. The day that he died, he told me that I had a family to be proud of, and that I'm probably tired of him saying that. "That's something I'll never get tired of hearing", was what I told him, being completely unaware that it was going to be the last time. It's difficult to articulate everything that's going on, but I wanted to share some of the things that he gave me, and all that I'm grateful for.