Father’s Day Aftershave – Texas Gal

All I know about sports, and my undying love for them, comes from my Dad.

As the daughter of a coach, I pretty much had to learn sports or perish- and I definitely chose to learn (and love) them. Some of my earliest memories are of me and my mother sitting in the stands on Friday nights and watching my dad coach in football games and waving my black and gold pompom for Lubbock High.

Daddy also made sure I grew up indoctrinated in the Church of the Texas Longhorns. The lullaby he sang to me as a baby wasn’t the standard “Rock A Bye Baby” tune, it was “The Eyes of Texas”. I’m pretty sure I learned to do the Hook ‘Em Horns handsign before I learned to walk. Our Thanksgivings centered around watching the Horns take on the Aggies, and Coach Darrell Royal was revered as a legend in our house. So even though I couldn’t suit up in the burnt orange, I did the next best thing for a girl– and became a Texas Angel and for four years helped recruit those boys that would take the field for Texas. (I think the lullaby story helped me get the gig.) And, of course, my Pops was there in the stands at UT to watch.

My Dad also gave me the gift of baseball- the love for the game, and all its wonder and beauty. The routine of getting a bag of peanuts, kicking back and relaxing, and watching it all unfold in front of you. He taught me how to score games, and put me up in the booth to keep score for all of my brother’s little league games he coached. Unwisely, he also put me on the mic to call some of those games- and then found it tough to pull the mic away when the game was over.

I am proud to say, however, that although we share a reverence for the twin Texas baseball gods Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, I successfully managed to avoid adopting his love for the Yankees. I mean, I love my Daddy- but that’s just craziness.

And I can’t leave golf out of the mix- the one sport that I learned to love almost unwillingly. After a lifetime of golf talk around the dinner table, golf on the TV, going to the driving range or watching my dad (and brother) play 18 holes… I waived the white flag and gave in. This is mostly because Dad lets me drive the golf cart, which gives me an inordinate amount of joy. He didn’t even yell too loud that time when I was a kid, and drove the cart up on to the green… and then promptly reversed it and gunned it backwards off the green and down a hill into a tree. OK, I might have been 18 when that happened.

But my best sports memory with my Dad came last year, when I had the chance to repay him for a lifetime of sports gifts. When Texas beat OU in early October 2005, I gambled and bought 2 tickets to the Rose Bowl national championship game (and airfare, hotel and reserved a car). My gamble paid off when Texas finished the season undefeated- and so I got a dozen orange roses, tied them together with burnt orange ribbon and threaded the tickets through the ribbon– and wrapped it up as a Christmas gift for my Dad. When he opened the box and saw the tickets, he was (for maybe the first time in my life) speechless.

We were together for tailgating outside on the Pasadena grounds for 8 hours before the game (and my Dad perfected the art of getting free food and beer from USC fans); we were together to walk into the first national championship game either of us had ever been to; we were together to watch Vince Young put on the show of a lifetime; and we were together when Texas won its first national championship since 1970- the first in my lifetime. I wouldn’t trade anything for that hug I shared with my Dad in the stands of the Rose Bowl, with confetti raining down and tears running down my face. It’s one of the dearest moments of my life, and one that I’ll hold close to my heart forever.

For all this- and for everything else he’s done for me throughout my life: I love you, Daddy- and Happy Fathers Day!

This entry was posted in Father's Day Aftershave, Texas Gal, Texas Longhorns by Texas Gal. Bookmark the permalink.

About Texas Gal

Pitched four years for the Philadelphia Athletics, and then played shortstop for seven years for the Montreal Expos. Taught Rickey Henderson to steal a base. Taught Nolan Ryan to throw a punch. Taught Mickey Mantle to drink a beer. Threw one seven-hitter and seven no-hitters. Wonderboy was my creation, and first Jobu shrine was in my locker. Often called "the next Dustin Pedroia". Always wear high socks and eyeblack. Prefer to slide headfirst.

39 thoughts on “Father’s Day Aftershave – Texas Gal

  1. So awesome, Texy!

    And I love that pic of you as a little girl with your dad. So adorable.

    I’ve taught Baby Mets the “R-U” chant, and I sing “On The Banks of the Old Raritan” to her. I hope one day she has a similar story to share, Texy.

  2. Ah, a Texan becoming a fan of a “national” team, given the paucity of hometown entrants in the professional ranks. Totally understandable, & as such, excusable. & at least it’s just Yankees fandom… I know a Tejano who’s a rabid Notre Dame fan, football mostly. Don’t know how he survives that, given how Texam & Texas A&M fans are.

  3. TSW: two words… MICKEY MANTLE. He is my dad’s all-time favorite athlete, probably even beating out the god-like Jack Nicklaus. But for some reason, I escaped unscathed, free to become a fan of non-evil teams.

    Metsy: I think she’ll have stories like this and more- the pictures of Baby Mets at the games are precious.

    Stu: Beckett wasn’t around when I was a kid- though, come to find out, he grew up about 2 minutes away from me in Houston, and played my brother in little league.

  4. I can’t even imagine how great it felt to be able to give your dad such an amazing present. I don’t know if you have other siblings, but if you do I bet that secured you permanent favorite status.

  5. Pingback: Sports news without access, favor, or discretion. » Happy Fathers Day: Some Honest To Goodness Father’s Day Sentimentality

  6. Steagles- I hadn’t even told my mom or brother about it beforehand. No one in the family knew. He was shocked- I don’t think he even realized what they were. It was awesome.

  7. Two of my best friends in the world are die-hard Phils fans, and so I gradually picked up their love over the years. But after two years of Phillies spring training (11 days watching the team almost every day) and Cubs-Phils games, I was officially a goner.

    That, and Darren Daulton’s sexy greasy hair.

  8. It’s awfully dusty in my office after reading these stories.

    Swap “free trip to Las Vegas” for “Rose Bowl game” and your story sounds pretty close to the trip I took two years ago with my dad. I won a chance to cover the CES for cnet.com and I brought my dad as my companion. I got to nerd out all day at the trade show, he got to play poker for 18 hours at a time.

  9. TG, that story is awesome. And since you picked up a mic and called a game, welcome to the fraternity. Seriously, though, Rose Bowl tix is about as good as it gets for Christmas. Not that my dad doesn’t love the sweaters I get for him…

  10. Well, to be fair Radio, these were little league games. Not exactly Fenway Park.

    And Ian, you should know I can NEVER be turned to the dark side. Much like Luke, I have been working to turn my Dad back to the good side.

  11. My wife knows my sense of humor so well. She had my son present me with a tie for Father’s Day. Oh, how we laughed. I think my son has seen me in a tie maybe twice in his nearly five years on earth.

  12. Hey, I have a tape of me calling a Reggie Jackson home run in the worst hick accent ever when I was four years old. Calling a game is calling a game, from little league to major league.

  13. I was enjoying the various stories right up until the last few paragraphs, then – not unlike TexasGal at the end of that game – I started weeping a bit too.

    I’ve never tried singing fight songs to my daughters but I did used to sing “White Riot” by the Clash when they were tiny and resisting new diapers… I wonder what effect that will have down the road?

  14. I knew part of the Rose Bowl story, but I didn’t know your Dad went with you. And the sweet way you let him know you had tickets – you’re a great daughter TG. I agree that it’s never too early to inculcate a child into the faith as I was genuflecting to a posters of DePaul Blue Demons before I could speak.

    Oh, and you would undoubtedly be the best MLB play-by-play announcer.

  15. TG: Like most sports-loving-women, I owe it all to my daddy too. And the only thing I didn’t pick up from him was also being a Yankees fan. Although, I contend to this day (and had a hunch you were going to say the same about your daddy’s affinity for the Evil Empire), if I would have been alive to see The Mick hit from both sides of the plate, and play defense like he did (and charm the pants off everyone around him), I, too, would have been a Yankees fan.

  16. Kevin: only if you’d be my color man. Would they ever be able to shut us up, though?

    CMG: Agreed. The Mick was SMOKING hot, and I imagine I would have had a mega-crush on him back in the day. Hell, I kinda have a crush on old-time Mick now (hence naming the best ass award in his honor).

    Still, YANKEES SUCK. (it had to be said)

  17. It had to be said is right! The Patriarch (and subsequently, three brothers) being a Yankees fan is completely responsible for me becoming a whole-hearted Red Sox fan at the age of six. Well, that, and the other person who made me love baseball as much as I do, number 21, of course.

  18. You and I are probably the only Sox fans who worship Roger. And by “worship” I mean “have a huge giant crush on, of both the baseball boyfriend variety and the kind where you are in lust with his awesomeness”.

  19. Worship is correct, TG. Couldn’t have said it better. I carry pictures of my incredibly large family around, and included in the stack is one of Roger, first year as an Astro (and looking mighty fine being one). It never fails to make someone laugh like crazy while they’re flipping through, until one of my sisters says, “Yeah – Funny isn’t what she was looking for – She really thinks they’re going to live happily ever after one of these days (shakes head like I’m demented).”

  20. TexasGal, I think I’d rather that they followed in their mother’s footsteps and went to Vassar, only partially because that would save me from having to pretend to take their college team seriously.

  21. TexasGal, my mental defenses won’t let me contemplate such a thing, but if so they can pay for it themselves, dance floor and all, and we shall speak again after they have graduated.

  22. I’d throw in a car each if it meant that they didn’t go to Notre Dame. Other universities on the car-bonus list: UCLA, Oklahoma, Auburn, tOSU, Nebraska, Miami, and Wellesley – not because of football, but because there’s being “sex positive,” and then there’s being a Harvard-trawling whore.

  23. I’ll tell TG privately how much I appreciate her post for me. It brought back a lot of memories (sniff sniff). I only have have a couple of public things to say about this dedication … Theeeeee Yankees Win !!! I know most of you chowds are used to that by now.

    Actually, in 1962 (or thereabouts when the world was black and white on TV) only ONE baseball game was broadcast every week on Saturday afternoon. And every Saturday, it was the Yanks playing someone. It didn’t matter who because they beat everyone. Led by Mantle, Maris, Berra, Ford et al it was incredibly easy to become a Yankee fan. It just never left. TG just never looked good in pinstripes … so I didn’t push the issue.

    Thanks again girl for the memories and the fun we had during all those games and events. It is indelible (for you chowds, that means unforgettable). As I always told you … you’re my favorite daughter … but you’re not transferring to LSU.


  24. Dad- don’t call us “chowds”.

    Also- I cannot BELIEVE you’d bring up the LSU thing in mixed company. Come on, now. We’re supposed to keep that in the family.

  25. This was moving and it hit close to home. I too was indoctrinated to all things UT very early on. The “Hook ’em Horns” was the first hand gesture I ever learned.

    The second one I learned certainly came in handy during OU weekend!

    But I digress…

    The bond that exists between a father and his daughter is magic. Add a little Longhorn orange stardust to it, and it becomes a bond bound by the cohesive strength of the most enduring polymer.

    I had that with my father. That’s why in the fall, I’m always moved and so grateful that more often than not, the incredible Texas sunsets are always predominately burnt orange.

    That’s for you, Daddy!

    Laurie Kendrick

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