By Chris Bridges
Fathers, sons and sports: perfect trio
There have been numerous books written by many outstanding writers about the relationship between fathers, sons and sports and how the three are closely connected.
Sports writers with much more prestige than I carry have done as much through the years. I realize not all fathers and sons share the bond of sports and some share it more than others.
Like many youngsters growing up in this great country, I enjoyed the magic that sports presented to a father and son. I was never a great athlete by any means, although I certainly gave it the old college try once upon a time. While I lacked in athletic skills, I certainly always had an admiration for sports of all degrees and continue to until this day. In fact, I have such a fondness for athletics and athletic competition that I make a living at it, or least attempt to.
My father, Paul Bridges, began passing on the love of sports to me when I was a true youngster. I remember trying to stay awake and watch Monday Night Football with him back during the glory days of the 1970s. I usually only made it to halftime, but I always gave it my best.
I remember watching Atlanta Falcon games with him and have sketchy memories of the 1978 season when they went to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history under then coach Leeman Bennett. I remember both of us being excited two years later when Atlanta won the old NFC West and appeared to be a contender for the Super Bowl before Tom Landry’s Cowboys crushed those hopes.
The year 1980 was a good year football wise in our household as the University of Georgia won it all in the collegiate ranks. The memories of watching the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame with the legendary Keith Jackson calling the action is something I vividly remember.
As far as playing sports, my father coached my Little League baseball team way back when. Believe me when I say I was not one of those kids you hear about who got special treatment or was made the star simply because he was the coach’s son. I was treated just like any other player on the team, probably harsher.
My playing days continued through high school and my father (and mother) were always at my games regardless of their work schedules. Looking back now, I realize how much of a burden that must have been at times. Still, they were there each time, even if I only saw limited action.
I think I can safely say I am more of a die-hard football fan than my father is now. It does seems since he retired, however, he has gotten back into the habit of watching more games in the fall. When I go to visit in the fall the television is usually tuned in to some game so I know he is keeping up with the action.
Yes, sporting events are a great bridge which have always helped bring fathers and sons closer. No doubt they will continue to do so in generations to come.