From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 19, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / June 19, 1999

Passing by the newsstand the another day, an edition of Sports Illustrated caught my eye.

On the cover was a picture of Mark McGwire and his son. “Fathers andSons” was the title and it was being billed as a commemorative edition.

How appropriate. Because anything that brings fathers and sons togethershould be commemorated.

Also appropriate was the picture of McGwire and his son because the best moment in sports in 1998 was McGwire crossing the plate after his 62nd home run and giving his son a bearhug. It was the perfect scene tocelebrate an accomplishment for the ages.

It was a special moment. Just like many a son can recall having with theirown fathers.

My dad, my brother and I went fishing this past weekend. I think my dadenjoys these outings as much for being able to spend time with his sons than for the catching of fish. And although the last few trips we havemade the fishing has been slow, those times have passed far too quickly.

I can remember the times sitting with my paternal grandfather in Minnesota, listing to Twins games on the radio late at night. Hearing mymom call down for me to go to bed and telling her “just one more inning.”Ok, so the game usually was in the first innning at the time and this request was made throughout the night.

And then there was this past All Saints Day.

I often joke about my golf game and anybody who has ever seen my swing knows that is easy to do. But while I am on the course, I take the game asseriously as I can while remembering that it is still just a game. Playingin the company golf tournament on that Sunday, I took it even more seriously.

My maternal grandfather had passed away the previous December. Drivingacross the Causeway to Abita Springs Country Club where the tournament was to be held, I decided that I was going to dedicate my round to him.

Call it coincidence, call it because I was concentrating more or because I was finally getting used to the new clubs I had recently bought, but I played the best round of my life. I like to think it was because mygrandfather was looking down on his grandson.

My grandfather was a sports fan. He was a Saints ticket holder in the earlyyears of the franchise and remained a fan throughout his life. I remembergoing to my grandparents’ house every Sunday and watching the games on television.

One question that is often asked of golfers is who would be included in their dream foursome. Mine would include my grandfathers and my dad. Scores would not matter, that would still be the best round I have ever played.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. A time to reflect back on those specialmoments between a father and a son. A time to say thank you.

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