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Family Sports Stories

August 24, 2021

My father was not a ball player. He was not what you would call a sportsman. I never saw him pick up a ball or even wear tennis shoes. And certainly never shorts.

But, I own my love of sports to my father. We watched everything at our house; basketball, football and especially baseball. (No, we didn’t watch hockey or soccer. Those weren’t real sports in our house.) My dad bet on some of the games. So, we learned about point spreads and over/unders. But, it was never (okay, rarely) about the bets. It was about the games.

I remember the heartbreaking 1977 series when the Seattle Sonics looked like they would win their first NBA title. Going into the series final against the Washington team, they had shirts made up that said, “Bulletproof!” The Washington Bullets beat them four games to three.

And I remember the next year when they went on to win it all over the defending champion Washington Bullets.

Neither the Bullets nor the Sonics are around anymore.

My dad took me to my first professional baseball game. The Mariners played in the old Kingdome. It was a terrible baseball venue. And my dad wasn’t thrilled with the venue. It managed to aggregate both is acrophobia and claustrophobia at the same time. Afraid of confined spaces and high places.

I didn’t realize until much later how much of a sacrifice it was for him to take me to those games. He planted a seed that didn’t bloom until years later. I really became a baseball fan in 1995 when Ken Griffey Jr led the Mariners to their first winning season.

But, it was my father way back during the bleak Mariner years that planted that seed.

My mother liked sports, but not like my dad did. Back in those years (the 1970’s) the NBA was so unpopular that they didn’t broadcast games live. They would show the games on tape-delay. In fact, during the 10:00 evening news, the sport caster, Wayne Cody would tell people to turn their volume down while he reported on the game if they were planning to watch the tape-delay. He would signal the audience to let them know when it was safe to turn the volume back up. The game started about 11:00pm.

My mother often fell asleep during the late broadcast. One morning, before she headed off to work, she asked me dad,

So, how did the game turn out?

Sonics lost it in the fourth quarter. Real heartbreaker.

Mom then went off to work at a state agency in downtown Olympia.

Too bad about the Sonics huh?

What do you mean?

You know, that heartbreaking loss in the 4th quarter.

Her coworkers just stared at her.

They didn’t lose in the 4th quarter, did they.

Not really. It was a blowout from the start. Sonics by 20.

Mom still fell asleep during the broadcasts, but she checked the morning paper to find out who won.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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One Comment
  1. patricia a nelson permalink

    Often I think I’m just too busy to read your blog. But every time I squeeze one in I think, “He’s such an insightful, interesting writer, I’m going to read everyday.” They are a delightful treat.

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