Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day, is a day of celebration on half of the parties involved that created you. So yea, creation is a big deal. But me being a guy, Father’s Day obviously means just a little more because boys are more attached to their father’s. The whole idea of being like your dad, looking up to your dad, being as successful and then more successful than your dad — all of that applies to Ronald Lee Cox for me. When putting in my phone last month a reminder on Monday of this week to get and mail a Father’s Day card, I got the idea that writing a blog about it might be a cooler and longer-lasting idea, so I scheduled it and boom: Internet-forever Father’s Day ‘card’.
That night as I was lying in my bed thinking about the post, I got to contemplating on how long the list should be of things I loved about him being my dad / greatest memories (so far). There is no science as to why it’s 21, I just like to be different and didn’t want this to be a Top 5, Top 10, Top 20 clickbait list. So here they are in no particular order, I just started thinking are my top 20 great memories of why I love my dad:
- His Q95 zubaz pants. My dad was stylish I tell ya. But the best part was that he was such a bawse that he’d wear them to my Indy Force home soccer games. You have to have an extreme level of confidence to pull those off, so if you ever wondered where I got my exceeded level of confidence from, now you know.
- The first day I, legitimately, beat him in basketball. I remember it like it was yesterday. I think I was 12. Our old home-court at Autumn Ridge Lane. It was hot, and it was summer — and when the game was actually over Ronald got pretty hot too. My dad didn’t get angry much, but that day at that moment he was a little steamed. (I think I was like 6/7 from 3-point land that day.)
- That time he helped me and a girl I was dating the evening before Thanksgiving. I’m not going to go into details of what, but suffice to say it was a time he showed me that in certain moments parents make decisions because they think their kid deserves a huge one-time ‘save’.
- Helping me learn how to use a riding lawnmower. Obviously I know now that they aren’t too difficult to manage, but when he first LET me do the yard by myself, it felt like your dad letting you DRIVE the car. And my dad had a pretty tight-lined and well manicured yard, so me having the obsessions I do with perfection, I was soooooo nervous and wanted sooooo very bad to do a good job.
- Coaching me in YMCA basketball, specifically what he’d had me do my last year in YMCA. Because I was one of our best players and our PG, my dad would have me guard the best player (because in the YMCA back then that meant they guarded you) and for the first and second quarter he’d have me drive at them and either get them in foul trouble or foul out of the game. We went undefeated that year….so I’d say it worked.
- Going to Super Bowl XLI in Miami and seeing the Colts beat the Bears! It was kind of fitting since growing up the Bears were kind of our favorite team (dad was a huge Chicago fan in general, and the Colts kinda sucked), and being able to take my girlfriend Emily with me made it all the more cool.
- My first concert: Alanis Morsett at Deer Creek. My dad loved him some Alanis back in the 90’s…so in turn so did I. He took my sister and I with him, and it’s one of my favorite memories still to this day.
- The time my best friend Joel, myself and two babes were drinking in his garage and the music got a little too loud…Ronald just opened the door to the house and told us to keep it down. What he was wearing, well, LEGENDARY.
- His love of convertibles. As a kid, nothing was cooling than having a dad with a drop-top.
- Hearing him sing for the first time. I don’t remember how old I was, I don’t remember the song — but he sang a duet with Kathy Reed at our church (Cumberland United Methodist Church) and it was one of the first times I could hear just his voice, instead of mixed into the choirs. My dad has a beautiful voice.
- His last concert of the Praising Him’s. It was a group of 5 guys at my dad’s last church before moving to Florida. They even made a Christmas cd. He joined an already made group so he didn’t get too many solo’s, but he still got a few and it was pretty cool to see a packed church gymnasium for the last concert of a group. It was my dad’s Beatles moment…and I was there.
- His graduation party at DFAS. 34 years of service, and my dad didn’t know I was going to come. He doesn’t like to make a big deal of well, anything, so he didn’t even invite me. I don’t know if that was because he didn’t think I’d come, or didn’t think I’d care — but I came because I did care. Seeing that steady stream of people for a couple hours, and high-ranking people, praising my dad for everything he did — that was pretty cool.
- My first ever real sit-down and drink with my dad. It was last summer when I came out with the boys. My childhood friend Jeremiah Flores drove across Florida to hang for a day and we bought a bottle of the good stuff (The Woodford Reserve Special Edition), sat up late at night and had a couple of glasses and just talked about life. It was pretty cool.
- Going to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. I’ve been to an Olympics, that’s pretty cool. A memory that sticks out (or I’ve been lucky to keep since my accident) is my dad’s overall disgust with how much soda was in the pop machines that they had at the ‘misting’ stations every 50 feet or so in the line’s you’d wait to get into events. $12 for a bottle of coke.
- Watching IU basketball with him. I grew up considering Bobby Knight a second dad, and IU basketball the team of all teams. Nothing was better than watching IU basketball with my dad in the living room. “For Christ Sake’s Calbert!!!”
- Going to the 2002 NCAA Basketball Championship game in Atlanta: Indiana vs. Maryland. It didn’t end well for the Hoosiers, but it was still a hell of an experience. I hope to take him one day soon and we get to see the Hoosiers win another title.
- The Roger Clemens (almost) win’s 300th game at Wrigley Field in 2003. I got tickets for my dad and I to go and see the Cubs vs. Yankees in Chicago. The Yankee’s were my dad’s second favorite team (the Don Mattingly era Yanks) so it was going to be a blast. We sat in the right field bleachers and Clemens had a chance at 300. He didn’t get it, but it was still a great memory.
- Making noodles from scratch. My dad would make noodles from scratch for all of the big holidays when I was growing up, and I thought they were something out of Emeril’s best-kept secret. It didn’t ruin it for me almost 20 years later to know how easy they are to make, but seeing him roll them the night before and be laid out on our table was always a “OH MAN AWESOME!” feeling.
- The first time he gave me his car. My dad has passed a lot of cars down to me — but getting his convertible (see #8) in high school…I thought I was the coolest kid at Warren Central.
- My left-handed scholarship dinner. It was one of the scholarships my dad filled out the application for me because I was “too cool” and “too disinterested” in applying for scholarships. (#facepalm) But yes, I got a scholarship for being left-handed.
- Playing second base. I wanted to play second base because that’s where my dad played, and that’s where Ryne Sandberg played. Well my dad coached me for almost all of my Warren Little League baseball career (6-time All Star), and because he did I could be a left-handed second baseman. Well, I was a damn good 2-bagger, and I owe a lot of that to my pops. Genes + opportunity.
You’ll notice a lot of monumental sporting events on the list. Sports is something that’s always been special to my dad and I. My dad taught me at a very young age two very important lessons: If you work hard and are smart with your money, you can experience some pretty cool things. That is a lesson I wish it didn’t take me until I was 32 to really realize, but hey, better late than never. And the other, and most important lesson, is that putting more good into the world is not only the way to be, but it’s the way to lead. You do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. I love you dad. Happy Father’s Day.