Inspiration, Motivation & Dad Jokes


There are a small handful of people in my life that I would consider strong inspirations to me and have actively shaped me into the person I am/want to be. In one way or another, these people have shown me what it means to truly be a "good" person, and while that definition can be different for people across the globe, these people have shed light on my own personal definition with their words and actions. Among these individuals is my father, a reserved and quick witted man who taught me the importance of patience, honor and kindness. Additionally, my father taught me to respect the perspective of people around me, to understand I am but a single soul in a world inhabited by 7.5 billion and possibly most importantly, the best time to crack a good joke. I could continue rattling off situations and events in the last 25 years where I learned valuable lessons from my father, but I'll attempt to stay on track instead. Last Tuesday my father passed away, from a combination of illnesses that have plagued him for many years. Obviously the loss of a parent is a very sad occurrence, regardless of age and condition, but among the hundreds of things my dad helped prepare me for and truly understand, his own passing was one of the most important. As I mentioned, my dad was a reserved man and he kept many things below his dignity, and I can say for certain that this included his own passing. He would never want his loved ones to fall prey to a self-fueled pity party, he would want nothing more than for me to hold my head up high and move on with my own life, honoring him by remembering everything he has taught me.

I only knew my father for a fraction of his long life, but I'm thankful to have gotten extremely close to him in this time. My dad was one of the only people in this world I could tell absolutely anything to, including the first time I drank so much I threw up, the first girl I ever liked, work frustrations, etc etc. No matter what, good or bad, my dad was always willing to truly listen to whatever I had to say. This relationship went both ways, and I also cared enough to spend time talking and listening to anything my dad wanted to talk about as well. This included a plethora of stories about "the old days", politics, the state of the world, whatever, it didn't matter. Despite how close we were, our views varied enough where we would disagree in many things, but respected each other enough to never let these differences effect how much we really cared about each other. Even when we disagreed, I believe my father always looked out for my best interests, as I did with him, and I'm very grateful to have had such a pillar of support in my life. We've both made mistakes in our lives, and I can't stress enough how much my dad helped me turn these mistakes into valuable lessons. In multiple ways I wouldn't just consider my dad a good guardian, but a great friend.

I chose to write about something as personal as my father in our LAN center's blog for a multitude of reasons. I suppose one of the main reasons was as a sort of outlet, hooray blogging! The main reason being that my dad truly supported me in everything I did, and of course that meant almost every aspect of LAN Mob. One of the most difficult decisions of my life up to this point was quitting my previous job, so I could stop half-assing at both, and devote more of my life to the LAN, and I possibly would have never come to the decision if it wasn't for my father. When times at the LAN are rough, or when we're met with difficult weekends filled with tournaments, events and birthday parties he always kept me grounded and most importantly happy even if it was as simple as venting, or focusing on all the good moments. Additionally, I'm happy to say my dad truly understood gaming, and why I cared about it so much and supported the culture. Certainly this support was somewhat financial growing up, on both of my parents accounts, but in my dad's case it was much deeper than that, and extended far past when I got my first job. He believed having an outlet was good, and when I hit middle school and my friends started flooding in mostly due to the hobby, he was genuinely happy I found more people to play with. When I broke a record at the arcade we frequented, he always congratulated me, and while that may seem simple enough he really was the only one who ever did. This extended even into the recent years at our Saturday LML Smash events; where I'd always make sure to tell him how I placed and how I played because he always asked, without fail. While the last 5 years or so were very difficult for my father due to his declining health, he never failed to continue to care enough to show interest in gaming, because he knew how much it meant to me, or because he started to take a personal interest himself. I've watched more EVOs with my dad then without, and even if he didn't understand everything about them, he was willing to let me talk his ear off about this competitor and that game, etc. He was even a bit of a gamer himself, some of my best memories of Elementary School were watching my dad pound out a 250+ lap race in NASCAR 2003 on the highest difficulty or taking on a few missions in Ace Combat while I finished up my homework. Unfortunately the last few years made gaming impossible, but he still watched the occasional stream with me and was even excited to hear about Rome Revolution practices + Thursday Night Fights. He believed in everything we do here, and that kind of support is such a rare thing.

It goes without saying I'll miss my dad very much, and I'm still in a bit of a difficult stage, even as I type this. I miss him a lot. It's difficult to lose somebody who just believes in you no matter what, especially when things get difficult, not to mention somebody you spend hours with every single day. However, as cheesy as it may sound, he taught me well enough to know that his support transcends being physically present and that's quite the motivator. I'm now hungrier than I've ever felt in my entire life. It's funny, because I've never really been one for a random epiphany, but here we are. I want to work harder, think clearer and earn a life my dad would be proud of (even though I'm pretty sure he'd still be proud of me if I was a homeless hamster fight club owner). I want to give more of myself to what I do and this extends to everything, including my ability to coach the Rome Revolution League team and even my own desire to compete at a higher level in some fighting games, because I know my dad would be extremely proud of success on both fronts. This last week I've felt some regret for not being around enough the last few years, but they're quickly put to rest when I think of everything the LAN Mob team has accomplished, and how he applauded every successful moment we've ever had, and helped me work through the tougher moments. I wish I could thank my dad once more for believing in me and what makes me me, especially in a world where people don't do it for each other enough, but I know he already knows and would just crack some sort of joke anyway, then probably scold me because my sleep schedule is completely abysmal. He would probably also make a joke about this post, commenting on how I managed to leave out all the difficult times, but I'm just exercising yet another lesson - focus on the positives.

I realize this post was quite cheesy but hey, what's the point of contributing to a blog if I can't get uncomfortably personal sometimes, right?! Thanks for reading everybody, and please save the comments like "I'm so sorry" and "He's in a better place now." There's nothing to be sorry for, my dad was awesome, and I already know he's in a better place. The grind continues, except now I feel like I've got the strongest motivator ever.
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