For the staff of I-95 Sportsbiz, Father’s Day is a great time to think about the support of our fathers, dads and pops, and the positive effects they have had on our lives, especially in the interest of sports. The four of us being aspiring sports professionals is no accident because ever since we were kids, our fathers helped us as athletes on the field and fans off of it. Without our dads, we would not be in the positions we are today and we each just wanted to give a short reflection on what these amazing men have meant, and still mean, to us. Enjoy!
Happy Sunday 95ers! As you (hopefully) already know, I dig sports! Throughout my life, my sports interests have grown and been influenced by many factors. Some of which were youth sports, high school sports, intramurals, coaches, books, my studies at Drexel and definitely my pops (you can catch him in the comments from time to time, Pops75). Growing up my dad was always a big sports fan, all Philly all day (he owns two Veteran’s Stadium seats). He was the coach for my youth league basketball team, and was an early adopter of fantasy football… which he introduced me to when I was about 10 years old. The fantasy drafts were more or the less the same then, but this was before keeping track of players and scores was all done online. Each week the guys would have to either call-in or fax (I’m not kidding) their rosters. Then after all the games he would have to buy newspapers for the box scores so he could physically score each teams fantasy stats and then fax the scores out (“POW! The Commish breaks 100,” was the headline one week... I always remember that). To this day, I’m still very involved in sports, and always talking to my pops about our favorite teams and the latest sports news... and I still beat him in fantasy football. Thanks for everything pops, Happy Father’s Day!
My dad was always a big sports fan, New York of course, from his time growing up right outside of the city. The Yankees and Jets are his two teams. While I was growing up, he never forced me to be a sports fan. Naturally though, if he was watching a game, I would watch too. Every son wants to be just like his dad. Interestingly, I never really picked up on the New York fanhood. He stuck with me through my Denver Bronco days when John Elway was winning Super Bowls at the end of his career. He stuck with me when I wanted to go to college to major in basketball. He stuck with me when I made the full-time switch to all Philadelphia sports. Never pushing me away from Philadelphia, he always embraced it. Memories of him taking me to the Vet, Citizens Bank Park, old Yankee Stadium, new Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park all stick out clearly in my mind. We’ve always had plans of visiting ballparks all over the country, and I can’t wait to get that going. I was never coached by my dad when I played baseball and basketball though he did encourage me throughout both and also some story-filled attempts at soccer and football. One thing we always shared was the bond of playing golf. My dad showed me the game when I was probably 6 or 7 years old, and we never looked back. He dealt with my childish outbursts of frustration on the course although I have no idea how. With the busy schedules of my college career and work schedule and his work schedule and little league presidency, time on the course has been tough to come by. Every year the thing I look forward to the most is getting to play a round with him down in North Carolina. This year is no different. My dad has greatly influence my passion for sports by introducing me to them and encouraging me every step of the way. Look at the monster he has created. This one is for you Dad. Happy Father’s Day.
To me sports represents more than a hobby or a source of future employment. Sports to me represents relationships and bonding experiences. When I started to get involved in sports, I naturally followed the sports teams that my dad followed, and by that I mean Philadelphia teams. I grew up fortunate enough to have partial season tickets for the Sixers. I always enjoyed going to the games with my father, and I still do. As our relationship in sports progressed, this meant him coming to my baseball games. While I was playing it was a comforting feeling knowing that my father was watching me, although he did show up late some Saturdays due to golf. Before I knew it I would be joining him on the golf course. When I started to play golf, I instantly loved the game. Playing with my father is something that I enjoy, in fact on this Father’s Day we are playing in a father-son tournament. I know sports has bonded me with my father in a way that we may not have been able to experience had I not fallen in love with sports. Happy Father’s Day dad and to all the other fathers out there.
Bryan, my dad Frank Fyalkowski
My life’s journey to sports began at the age of five when my dad would take me to the Fitzgerald Field House to watch Pitt basketball games in the upper section of the arena. He would let me climb around on the wooden benches and would watch with me while he explained the different rules and answered all the pestering questions I had. All that he did fostered my interest in sports, which grows stronger and stronger every day. My dad was a collegiate basketball player at Washington & Jefferson who, as he told me, could once dunk a baseball. He was not a big baseball guy, but I was. I learned to read and do math my reading the sports page with my dad and the beginning of my sports career was on the diamond. I played all the way up until high school until I followed in my dad’s and grandpa’s footsteps and focused solely on golf. While beating me consistently for the first few years, when I began to score better than him, and drive the ball further, he did not sour. Instead, he was the voice of reason when I would act up on the golf course and begin to not have fun during a round. Although my interest in sports is strong, it is also reasonable and healthy, from my point of view at least. Sports are my hobby, my passion and eventually will be my profession, but what my dad has taught me is is better to not take sports too seriously to not enjoy them. The day I base my love of sports solely on winning and losing, failing or succeeding, is the day when everything my dad taught me has eluded my brain. Happy Father’s Day Dad, enjoy the Open!