Home > fatherhood > I *think* this is a fatherhood post…but not 100% sure…

I *think* this is a fatherhood post…but not 100% sure…

I have a couple of lasting memories from this summer’s Olympic games. One is when my son decided that synchronized diving was “RJ’s jump,” his way of saying that it was only for him to be able to watch/enjoy and not me or anyone else. Then there were the memories of the moments themselves; seeing Serena Williams finally get her singles gold while dominating the final match in the process, seeing Andy Murray avenge his Wimbledon loss to Roger Federer, and seeing team USA win the gold in men’s basketball. In the latter case, it was not only the game itself that was the lasting memory, it was watching the reaction of the team and noticing an obvious bond between Lebron James and Coach K.

My wife thinks I’m too much into sports simply because I make it a point to watch a lot of games. What she doesn’t really understand is how it was years before we met, when sports really did mean a little too much to me. I can remember being legitimately depressed when the 1999 Red Sox season ended. There was a tremendous high of beating Cleveland so dramatically, which made losing the next round to the Yankees even worse than it might have been otherwise. If you had asked me back then, I would have said I hated the Yankees. Nowadays, with a little more perspective gained by years of life experience, I better understand the gravity of the word “hate.” I still don’t want the Yankees to win, but I wouldn’t use the word hate to refer to them.

All of that being said, Lebron James and Mike Krzyzewski are not two people I typically root for to win. As a Celtics fan, our rivalry with Lebron predates the fiasco that was “the decision”, and after that the rivalry only intensified. As for Coach K, while I’m not a diehard fan of any particular college team, I’ve always been on the UNC side of the rivalry. The Duke teams I grew up watching were really good, but there was something about way they carried themselves turned me off. It wasn’t just a simple swagger like Michigan’s Fab 5 or the great UNLV teams of that same era. There was also a perception of entitlement that went along with how good they were.

So this brings me back to the gold medal game. Team USA won the gold, and then, it happened. In the absence of a Gatorade cooler, Lebron took two bottles of water to dump over Coach K’s head – a mini Gatorade water bath. They then faced each other with looks of mutual admiration and exchanged some words and then a hug. During the celebration, all of the team USA players and coaches looked elated that they had won, and this showed in how they congratulated each other, but with Lebron and Coach K, it was different than any other reaction between any other two people involved in that game. For this moment my prior thoughts about either of them didn’t matter.

The fact that Lebron grew up without his father has been widely reported. It’s also widely thought of that many college coaches, especially the older and more established ones, act as father figures in certain cases. Lebron didn’t go to college and so he missed out on his first chance to have that type of relationship with a college coach, It makes me wonder if being around Coach K as much as he has through two Olympic runs has made this type of relationship develop between them. I can’t know for sure, but I definitely know what I saw. Clearly, it was something special enough to compel me to write this.

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  1. Ask A Great Dad
    August 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I’m the same exact way with sports. I’ve been going to games since I was 5 with my Dad and it is an addiction. I’ve gotten a lot better with age as well. The 2006 NY Mets were my turning point. Great post, I miss those UNLV & Michigan type teams.

  1. June 13, 2013 at 6:49 am

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