Dad, This One’s for You

Blog / Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

I’m a terrible, awful, no good son. Of all the things I could have forgotten to do, why-oh-why did I choose this? Did I choose? What does it matter? What matters is that I forgot to wish my father, the man who helped create me, raise me, and guide me along in my life, a happy birthday. The worst part? It wasn’t just any old birthday; it was an old birthday.

My father was born June 4, 1962. He was born and raised in Chicago. He attended Gage Park High School. Pitched for the school’s baseball team and even had scouts come to check him out (he says he’d never pitched a worse game in his life and remains humble and thinks he wouldn’t have gotten out of the minors but I’ve seen his “bread and butter” pitches and I doubt his humbleness). He was a member of ROTC in high school (and due to my mother’s joking around I thought this meant Rotten Old Tin Cans for the longest time). He took 2nd place in the all-city air rifle competition–I’ve seen the trophy. At the urging of his friend, he went along on his senior class trip to California. That’s where he first became acquainted with my mother.

My Father and Mother
My Father and Mother sometime before I was born.


In 1983, my father married my mother. In 1984, 1986, and 1987 he became a father to the best children in the world (even if they sometimes forget to wish him a happy birthday on his birthday). In 1990, he took a job that changed the course of his family’s life for the better and transplanted us all to Wisconsin (he still works at the same company and my brother and I have had the pleasure of working alongside him).

He’s fairly coached hundreds of soccer, t-ball, and softball teams. He attended hundreds of sporting events more (including more soccer, softball, baseball, volleyball, track, and basketball games) even though other parents chose not to brave the biting cold or the monotonous games played by awkward children still growing into their bodies. He raised his family with his same stoic mannerisms and instilled his slightly twisted, corny lasting sense of humor on us (ask any of us about the time he committed a felony).

My father has sat through driving lessons with each of us. He’s scolded and punished us when we deserved it. He’s molded us into ideal human beings. Most importantly, he’s never told us that we can’t do anything that we want to do. He’s supported our endeavors even if they seemed hair-brained at times.

This post is not only a sorry attempt at an apology for missing such a milestone in life, it’s trying to honor a man who has had such an impact on my life. I’ve known him for half of his lifetime and I can confidently say that he’s my hero and role model.

Join me in wishing my father a happy 50th birthday!

If you use the Twitter thing, send a tweet @fivexz wishing him a belated happy 50th birthday.

Joe Zawacki
Joe Zawacki - The Man, The Myth, The Legend


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