Happy Father's Day from The Notorious RBG & The Outfit
My dad has always been a sports guy. He would never tell you, but he was recruited by some top-tier colleges to play football. He got an accounting degree, settled down with his high school sweetheart (shout-out to Mom) and had four kids instead. Even then, he’s always been the dad who taught his kids how to play baseball, how to kick a soccer ball, how to shoot a basket, how to swing a golf club and a hockey stick (a sport he never played but learned enough of the fundamentals to teach my hockey nut of a kid brother), and how to throw a spiral.
My dad is also the guy who took me to the roller rink in the next town over every time my school had a skate night. He was the guy who taught me how to cross over on my rollerblades so that I would win all the races.
I was never really a sports kid to be honest. I played softball growing up (Dad coached, obviously) and I was maybe better than average on a good day. When I got to high school I dropped sports for music. I was a nerdy kid, the least sporty of all my siblings by far. My brother fenced in college and my sister did basketball and Timber Sports, which is basically the Olympics but with chainsaws. My youngest brother plays literally every sport. When I went to college at University of Illinois in Champaign I was pretty much all books, all the time.
Then, after I graduated, I took a semester off to work full-time before starting law school. While I was working in Champaign, I heard about the Twin City Derby Girls. I borrowed some quad skates from a relative of a coworker who reffed. I went to an open skate just to see if I even remembered how to skate at all.
I got out there and after a few laps I heard my dad’s voice in my head from 15 years ago teaching me how to cross over. I tried and found that I remembered how. After, the derby girls who were there told me I had good form. I told them it was thanks to my dad.
Since I started derby my dad has never missed any of my bouts at the Windy City Fieldhouse. (This Saturday is actually the only exception- he’ll be in Wisconsin celebrating Father’s Day with his dad, so I’ll allow it.) He’s picked up the fundamentals of derby so we can talk about my gameplay. Once a coach, always a coach, I guess. Even though he’s not going to be there physically as we face off against Grand Raggidy, Dad’s always with me in spirit when I play. He’s my best coach and my biggest fan, and I hear him in my head every time I cross over.
Happy Father’s Day, Pops. This one’s for you, and all the other dads who teach, support, and encourage their daughters to be athletes.
- Notorious RBG