I have always struggled with what to get my dad for Father's Day. This is compounded by the fact that his birthday is June 19, and some years that is the same day as Father's Day. As if one gift idea weren't tricky enough, I had to come up with two gifts.
For the past five years my dad has been in a nursing home, suffering from dementia. Birthday and Father's Day gifts mean nothing to him at this point. However, I can't help but think of him as some sports-themed books come across my doorstep. I could always pick up John Feinstein's newest book and give it to my dad with the knowledge that he would enjoy it as he read before bed each night.
You’ve Read That?
Caddy for Life by John Feinstein was published in 2004 and I bought a copy for myself and my dad. We didn't set out to discuss it, but my dad offered what he knew of Edwards from the many (and I do mean MANY) hours he spent watching PGA golf on television. The story is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Bruce Edwards was Tom Watson's caddy, a job he took as a young man and kept until his death at the age of forty-nine of Lou Gehrig's disease. His friendship with Watson and battle with his disease was big news in the golf world at the time, and Feinstein allows readers to get to know Edwards and Watson and their friendship.
Today is my dad's 71st birthday. Recently I've read a few books that make me think of him and his love of sports. These would have been perfect Father's Day gifts or birthday gifts for the man who spent his free time glued to ESPN and The Golf Channel.
Now Read This!
Coach Wooden and Me:Our 50 Year Friendship On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Abdul-Jabbar is the author of this book that is autobiographical, but really focuses on his relationship with John Wooden, his college basketball coach. Their relationship evolved over the many years the two knew each other, only ending with Wooden's death. Wooden was an amazing man-even more amazing as a man than a coach- and Abdul-Jabbar captures that perfectly.
Augusta's Fairways: A Collection of the Greatest Masters Stories Ever Told by Jim Hawkins with Robert Hartman- a book like this would have been right up my dad's alley. Some of these stories are from as early as the 1930s, but run right up until the present day and cover a variety of different famous golfers and their experiences at Augusta. My dad liked nothing better than reliving some of the stories he had watched unfold on television.
Arnie: The Life of Arnold Palmer by Tom Callahan - If you love watching golf, Arnold Palmer is a man you want to know more about. This biography fills in some pieces of Palmer's life very nicely by including a variety of anecdotes about this golf legend. (Incidentally, as I was reading this book, we were just minutes away from Palmer's home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania).
What other sports-themed books should I add to my list? Even though my dad can't enjoy them himself, I continue to read these books, and remember so many things about my Dad and his love of sports.