Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy 16th Birthday Tyler

On this day back in 2003 I was working feverishly to launch this site, then known as I wanted it to happen on July 2nd because that is my son’s birthday. My first born turned 11 in 2003.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen. We launched on the 3rd and Ty got to keep this day all to himself. Looking back, I’m glad it happened the way it did. July 1 I’ll always remember as my Mom’s day; the 2nd belongs to Ty and now the 3rd belongs to 24x7.

I suppose things do have a way of working out as they should.

Today my son turned 16. Like all of you with children, it’s hard to believe how the time just rolls by.

Of course every Dad has some vision for his son and in that regard I am no different. As an avid sports enthusiast, naturally I harbored thoughts of Ty becoming a stud athlete who would ace his schoolwork leading to his choice of schools on their dime not ours.

But like most things in life, time has a way of changing things. Hopes and dreams for your children are no exception to such changes.

As a parent I learned that my well-intentioned aspirations for Ty while clearly ambitious yet hardly unrealistic were not his. Although a fan of sports particularly football, Ty was never really driven to excel the way my dreams for him required. And I learned along the way as a Dad that that was ok.

You see, what Tyler offers the world with his charm, his good looks, his sense of humor and balance is far more meaningful than a scholarship. And that’s not to sell him short because if he set his mind to it, I think he could accomplish anything. And maybe someday something will grab him and he’ll go after it with all the gusto that he can muster.

But even if that never happens, I’ve learned that Tyler’s happiness is my happiness. If he can walk through life with a confident smile on his face, what more could a father really want for his son? It’s his life. I don’t want to steer him, I can only hope to teach him through my experiences and hope that such teachings can help him avoid some costly mistakes his old man has made.

A few years ago, Ty was playing recreational football for the Fallston Cougars. At the time Ty was very undersized, weighing in at about 87 pounds. His age group at the time capped out at 160 pounds. That is the equivalent of me and my 185 pounds trying to take on Jonathan Ogden.

As bad luck would have it, the practice started with Oklahoma drills and Ty was challenged immediately. His first assignment was to drop the team’s biggest player who was every ounce of the league’s weight capacity.

Ty approached the drill timidly and when he went to tackle the 160 pound wrecking ball, Ty lightly brushed his opponent’s thigh pads – a seemingly half-hearted attempt to avoid a one-sided collision and get his tackling turn over with.

The effort did not escape the notice of one of the team’s assistant coaches and he ordered the two combatants to line it up again and repeat the drill.

Driven by embarrassment Ty was determined to drop the relative Goliath – and he did with a nice shot delivered just above the ball carrier’s knee. But the player who didn’t get up was Tyler. He lay writhing in pain with a bruised shoulder which had already begun to swell under his shoulder pads.

Ty would not play organized football again.

Yet it hasn’t broken his spirit. Today he is not only a football enthusiast and a Raven Maniac, he is also an enthusiast of life.

What more could a father want for his son?

Happy 16th Birthday Ty!

I hope that I’ve taught you as much about life as you’ve taught me about being a Dad.

I love you!