Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there in Who Dat Country and beyond...may you receive the recognition and adoration you so richly deserve on this special day.
Have I got a wonderful treat in store for you! Dads and non-Dads alike are sure to enjoy the Father's Day-Palooza that follows the jump. (Fair Warning: Prepare yourself for father-related Saints/NFL items separated by youtube videos of sappy, cringe-inducing [or warmly nostalgic] songs featuring Daddy Issues.)
We'll get this party started with Harry Chapin. (See, I told you it'd be sappy and cringe-inducing [or warmly nostalgic].)
As I woke up this morning (well, nearly afternoon, to be honest - Mrs. Hans and I had a very nervous Shih-Tzu climbing all over us in bed for a couple of hours early this morning during a loud thunderstorm, so we slept in until just past 11:00 am), wondering how I'd kick off this post, John DeShazier of nola.com hit me with a beauty of a piece about Sonny Lee, the son of the late Bivian Lee, who played in the defensive backfield for the Saints from 1971-1975.
Bivian, who led the Saints in interceptions in 1972, died in 1984, when Sonny was only three years old. As a result of his experiences growing up without a father, in addition to his day job as the Chief of Staff for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Sonny runs the Son of a Saint Sports Foundation, providing mentorship and education to fatherless young males, ages 9-13.
Sonny has another direct Saints connection. He worked for three years as Assistant to the Owner for Tom Benson, leaving just prior to the 2009 season (d'oh!).
Quite a story. And the clip below also tells quite a story...here's Cat Stevens (nee Yusuf Islam) with Father and Son.
Thinking of the Father and Son Saints connections in that story led me to consider other recent Father-Son NFL and Saints connections that have bubbled to the surface.
Just last night, ColdP and I discussed a pseudo-father and son New Orleans Breakers/St. Louis Rams tandem in the Buford Jordan post. Scroll down to the comment section, and look for the "Ah You" comments.
We also have the ever-present former Saints great Archie Manning and his prodigious NFL Quarterbacking/Super Bowl Winning and Losing Spawn, Peyton and Eli. And you can't forget about the eldest Manning boy, Cooper, whose football career was short-circuited by a spinal condition. When they have children, I wonder if we'll have more to say on this subject, like the Matthews family multi-generational epic football-playing saga.
In the 2011 draft, a trio of father-son story lines (to my knowledge) orbited the Saints organization. Craig "ironhead" Heyward's son, Cameron, a defensive lineman from Ohio State, was touted as a possible Saints first round pick, and both of the Saints actual first-rounders have poppas who played in the NFL. Cameron Jordan's father, Steve, played tight end for the Minnesota Vikings, and Mark Ingram's father, Mark, played wide receiver for the New York football Giants.
Can you think of any other father-son connections in the Saints/NFL world that might be of interest to discuss in the comment section below?
This next song (that I first encountered in the Judd Apatow 2007 flick Knocked Up) reminds us that fathers and daughters have special relationships, too.
In this last section I want to give a shout-out to my own father, who did a great job of showing me what it takes to be a wonderful man, husband, son, brother, employee, blogger wanna-be, and Saints fan. (See what I did there? Pump myself up while praising my father...it's win-win, baby!!)
I fondly remember many instances of shared Saints moments together. In the late 70's/early 80's we'd listen to Saints home games on the radio, acting out the mostly-disappointing ends of the games in the backyard with our nerf football as Danny Abramowicz and Wayne Mack called the action.
We mastered the craft of sheer joy followed by crushing disappointment, as only the early Saints could provide for a fan base. Case in point - Earl Campbell's carry in the opening game of one season - it was a road game, so we got to watch this one on TV. He broke through the line and had a clear path to the end zone, and we jumped up and high-fived and hollered whoops of excitement, which turned into cries of dismay as he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury just short of the goal-line, allowing a defender to catch up to him and knock the ball out of his arm - AUGH!! and GAAA!!!
Those were tough times for Saints fans, but through it all, my dad maintained a perpetual level of optimism and hope for the future of the Saints' next play, series, game, season, head coach/gm, etc., that served him well in his life and work, and that I try to emulate in my life and work, as well.
Dad also took me to a New Orleans Breakers game, which I chronicled here, as well as few Harlem Globetrotter performances, and he let me have 1987 Final Four tickets that he got through his work. My Dad (and Mom) helped found the first recreational soccer league in Covington, both coaching and refereeing for years as my sister and I played soccer growing up. The list goes on and on...
Thanks, Dad, for all that you gave me, and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!
After you groove out with me and The Temptations to the last song of the day, feel free to add your own Dad stories of Saints fandom (or whatever) in the comment are below...