Today will be my third Father’s Day without my father. Father’s Day was always a strange day growing up because my dad’s birthday is June 19, so Father’s Day and his birthday would fall on the same day or within days of each other. I always felt he kind of got short changed. The two days set aside each year to honor him were so close together that I often felt like one day.
That was probably the only thing in my father’s life that was short changed. I’ve never known anyone who got more out of life than he did. He squeezed the blood out of the stone. He ran 2 ½ miles every day for thirty straight years on two knees that were so damaged that he shouldn’t have run one day on them.
My father had a capacity for greatness, but he was also a human being with flaws and made mistakes. He was a lot like Saint Peter. One minute, he was walking on water, the next minute he’s denying Jesus.
Peter had this belief, this courage, this passion about him. He was the only one to step out onto the water and walk across it toward Jesus. He did it without thinking because he was driven by a belief in him. My father would have been the first one out of the boat. He was a charge ahead type of man who many times did things without thinking. That was his greatness, but also one of his weaknesses.
Through all his failings, Jesus chose Peter to be the rock of the Church because of his passion and his heart was in the right place. And if anyone knew my father, Jim Garrett, you felt his passion in everything he did, and you always knew his heart was in the right place.
He was the bedrock of our family. He was determined that all of his eight children got a college education. Getting a college education was never up for debate in our house. His determination drove us, as it did for his two younger brothers who grew up poor, raised by a single mother who went on to become a doctor and a judge mainly because of my father’s belief in them, and his determination for their life.
I witnessed this with the countless number of phone calls to colleges my father made for aspiring athletes who came through our door. He made every player sound like the next Johnny Unitas or Jim Brown to the college coach he was speaking to. He always saw the best in the player, what his top potential could be. To a fault, he never extinguished anyone’s dreams. In fact, many times, he was the one stoking the fire of their dreams.
My father was the most optimistic person I have ever met. He was passionate, and generous. He had a great love and respect for family. These are the traits that I will always remember about him, the traits I try to incorporate into my life. He affected many people’s lives for the better, and even 2 ½ years after his death, his impact is still felt by the many people he touched. The world is definitely a better place because of him.
Love you, dad. Miss you.