1994 June 19 – Father’s Day reflection (Bulletin Letters)
St. Patrick’s Parish / Bulletin letter
by Fr. Frank Cordaro
For many people Father’s Day brings mixed emotions. Most everyone has a picture of what the ideal father should be in their minds and hearts. Yet the experience of many of their own fathers fall well short of the ideal.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones for my father lived up to my highest ideals. There are many things that I remember about my dad. His whole life was devoted to his family, the Church and Dowling H.S. He set high standards and solid Christian / Catholic values for his children to live by. Not any easy thing to do during the turbulent 60’s. These standards and values were not set by edict or command. They were formed and nurtured by his good example and loving and endearing heart.
My father was the Athletic Director of Dowling H.S. When we kids finally got to Dowling, my father never cut us any slack. He made a point of showing no favoritism towards his sons. (Dowling was an all boys school at the time.) But every once and awhile there would be a moment when my father would ceased being the Athletic Director and show his true fatherly love.
I remember one such moment in my Sophomore year during a varsity wrestling match. It was Dowling’s first year with a wrestling program. Our coach was an assistant football coach who knew as little about wrestling as we did. It was early in the season and our wrestling style was more akin to the kind of professional wrestling you see on T.V. than the discipline H.S. wrestling needed to win matches. Our fans, mostly our fellow male students weren’t any more sophisticate. They came to see a good show and let off steam. We got beat often and badly that year.
I cracked the varsity line up and was considered one of the favorites of the crowd. Mostly because of my reputation on the football field and my out burst of emotions on the mat.
This one night we were at home and getting beat badly. There wasn’t much for the crowd to get excited about. I took the mat with my typical show of intense emotion; all show, no substance. I got beat badly, pinned within the first moments of the match. My emotions got out of hand. I through a temper tantrum, embarrassing myself, my school and most of all my father.
I left the gym in a huff and went to the locker room. My father followed me. I knew I was acting very badly. My dad found me hiding in the shower, shamed and feeling sorry for myself. He could have said a lot of things, reprimanded me for my lack of sportsmanship and confirm what I already knew, that I was embarrassing myself, the school and him.
He didn’t do any of that. Instead, he looked me in my tear filled eyes and told me he loved me and than he hugged me. My tears came easily than. I don’t know how long his hug lasted. It felt like an eternity. I knew I would never forget it. I returned back to the wrestling match, dutifully repentive and apologetic, knowing that my dad loved me no matter what, a love that was unconditional.
Father’s are being fathers at their very very best when they are loving unconditionally. This is true of our Father in heaven, as well as our fathers on earth. Happy Father’s Day!