Father’s Day started in America on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. But it wasn’t until 1972 that it was officially recognized as a holiday. Mother’s Day became a holiday in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson made it official. Since then, the second Sunday in May is known as Mother’s Day. The main reason for the “Father’s Day” delay was that it didn’t have the same commercial appeal with florists and Hallmark cards, so it wasn’t pushed for quite some time. Plus, most men didn’t like the sentimentality of the idea.

Fathers play a huge role in our lives. Whether they’re involved in a child’s life or not, they have a profound impact. Fathers teach their sons how to become a man and provide self-esteem for their daughters. They show them how to play sports, shave, properly shake a person’s hand, how to respect yourself, and more.  A father is there to guide young men and women through life while answering key questions as they grow up. Along with a child’s mother, a father provide’s food, shelter, and comfort.

What My Father Means to Me

I was born when my father was 36 years old. Nowadays, that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but 40 years ago, it was. Most of the kids I grew up with had fathers that were a decade or so younger than mine. However, that didn’t matter. My dad was extremely active with me. He taught me how to play just about every sport and played them alongside me as I grew up. Whether it was riding the bike up to the local park to practice baseball, shooting baskets in the driveway, throwing and catching the football in the front yard, or shooting hockey pucks in my basement, he was there. Despite being older than most dads during that time, he always had the energy to teach me.

Like most dads from the Detroit area, he worked a regular job at one of the big three automakers. He had an hour commute to and from work every day. He’d leave the house many days before the sun came up. However, he was always home in time to take me to practice, and I barely recall him ever missing a game. As I got older, I started to play on travel teams with hockey and baseball. I excelled at hockey especially and was on the top team in the entire country from the age of 10 to 16, and because of this, we played in tournaments all over North America. My father was always there and, with the help of my mother, drove me everywhere so I could thrive as an athlete and have a better chance to succeed and fulfill my dream of making the pros.

The sacrifices he and my mother made financially weren’t evident to me when I was younger, however, as I got older and became an adult, I understood how hard it had to be for them to put me through such an expensive sport like hockey. My dad had a middle-class job, and we were typically the poorest family on all of my hockey teams. But that didn’t matter, I always had the equipment I needed (which wasn’t cheap) to be the best I could be.

What My Dad Made Me

With the help of my father, I was able to reach the professional level as a hockey player. I also learned about hard work and sacrifice. He took the time to pass on his knowledge and spent most of his free time making me a better athlete. I’ll always remember him that way, and I’m forever grateful for having a father like him. Here’s a salute to my dad and all of the others who do their best and take pride in their children. Also, a nod to those that might be struggling with fatherhood and hopes for better times ahead.