My Dad The Butcher
My father was a short man. He stood about 5'6''. He was a butcher by trade and his hands were rough and thick like the sausages that he made for a living.
He was not an educated man but he was a good father and wise in many things. During the summer or during the evening when he took his shirt off to cool down or get ready for bed I could see the bullet holes, bayonet wound, and shrapnel entry points in his shoulder area. These were his scars from World War 2. He sometimes would talk about how he had received those wounds but more often than not he would not talk about the war because he said that he couldn't sleep well at night. My father taught me many lessons in life.
One of the most valuable ones that he taught me was on a hot August day during high school football practice. I had spent the summer getting ready for football by lifting weights religiously. I had also spent that summer bailing hay on a farm and doing farm chores. The only thing that I hadn't done was do any running. During one of the most sweltering days of the summer we were finishing two a day practices and the coaches were having us run 100 yard dashes. We ran so many that I thought I was going to die.
I told myself that I didn't need this kind of torture and got on the bus to go home thinking that my football career was over. I remember sitting in the kitchen at home when my father came home. He was home early that day. He asked me why I was home and I told him that I wanted to quit playing football. He very calmly told me to pull up a chair. He reminded me that I had also quit football my freshman year.
He said that it was the last time that I would quit anything. He told me that I might not understand it now but someday I would thank him for it. He went on to say that once you start quitting it becomes a habit. Every time that you encounter difficulty you will want to bail out because it is the easiest thing to do. I knew enough not to argue the point when I saw his eyes and their stone hard, intent stare as he made his life changing point to me. I knew then that I would not be missing any more practices.
I thank my father to this day for the wise words that he gave me that day. As the season went on we eventually went on to an undefeated season and conference championship my sophomore year in football. I started my junior and senior years and we again won a conference championship my senior year. We went to the semifinals of the state playoffs where we were beaten. I went on to play football for a year in college and from there I've gone onto to do things that I know my father was proud of.
I am convinced that none of this would have happened if he had not told me to sit down in that kitchen on that steamy August afternoon and explained how I would deal with adversity from that point on. I am very thankful that he took the time to share his tough love with me. Never, Never, Never Quit Fred Nicklaus P.S. It would be worth your while to look for mentors and teachers in your life who refuse to let you give in when things become difficult. It's in learning to stay the course and not give up that we learn things about ourselves that make the journey worthwhile.
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