By RYAN LEMOND
I’m experiencing a new emotion today, and I don’t know how to handle it. I’m happy. I’m excited, and at the same time, I’m sad.
I cried today.
My oldest son, Gavin, turns 18 today. All parents have to face this day and go through this emotion, but I’m having a hard time dealing with it. Gavin is adopted. He came into my life when he was only 5 months old, and more importantly, he came into my life at a time when I didn’t know if I was ever going to be a dad. He was and is a blessing from God.
Growing up, my dad was my coach, and playing for my dad was one of the best times of my life. My dad couldn’t go to the gym without me tagging along. I couldn’t wait to coach my son as well. I was his basketball coach, his baseball coach, and his football coach. I loved it. It was a special time.
But sports isn’t really Gavin’s “thing.” As he grew older, he walked away from baseball, and then basketball, and finally football. I always thought he could have been a really good football player. Every dad wants their kid to be a star. It hurt me when he quit.
I used to take Gavin to UK games and to high school games, but eventually he stopped coming. Over time, friends and girl friends took priority over hanging with old dad. One of the last UK basketball games I took him to at Rupp Arena, he fell asleep during the game. Sports just isn’t really his “thing.”
He was teaching me something.
Life is short. You blink your eye and time passes you by. The kid who thought the baseball glove you bought him for his birthday was the best present in the world quickly becomes, “Dad, I would rather just have a gift card.”
Sports bonded my dad and me. I thought sports would do the same with my son. It didn’t. I had to come out of my “sports closet” and open some new doors to find a way to bond with Gavin other than forcing him to bond with me over sports. My two younger sons love sports, and they enjoy going to games with me and watching games with me. It’s been easy to bond with them over sports.
That’s what Gavin was teaching me.
Somehow along the way over the past 18 years, when I thought I was teaching Gavin how to be a young man and now a man, he was also teaching me something about myself. He honestly taught me as much if not more than I was teaching him. It was a lesson in life — there’s more to life than just sports. Get out of your comfort zone and experience new things, explore new interests. You may be surprised what you find out about yourself. I was.
So if I never have said it before, “Thanks Gavin!” You helped me be a better dad, a better person and a better man. You have no idea how proud I am of you and the man you have become. You are truly a Lemond.