“way to go Tiger!”
Many of you know, I had the opportunity to play on a state championship football team in high school. During those years, at sporting events, there was always one voice that stood out among the crowd. I don’t know if this voice was audibly any louder than the rest (likely was); however, I sure recognized it’s sound. Beyond just the recognition of that voice, the words I’ve grow to remember and cherish are “way to go Tiger!” Yes, these were the words of my father in the stands cheering on the team and myself for which everyone knew Dave Arnold.
Evidenced by my Dad being my best man at our wedding 25 years ago, he’s always been one of my biggest fans and supporters. We’ve shared many fond memories in life together and a special bond as father and son. Dad taught me the value of things like hard work, integrity, honesty, and respect. Many of these were instilled in me as I worked alongside him in the family business at a very young age. I recall many tireless hours with all it takes to run a commercial laundry and dry cleaning business. We spent many late nights repairing equipment only to prepare for the next day of washing hospital laundry in time to make the drop off later that next day.
While we worked hard, it wasn’t always about work. I remember many hours playing little league sharing time together and him showing me how to pitch. Yes, this old guy knew how to throw a fastball. Many don’t know it; however, he likely was headed for the majors prior to throwing out his arm in pitching in college. Dad was throwing in the 90s back prior to being able to clock a fastball. Baseball was just one example of time we spent together having fun.
To that end, I recall a conversation that I had with Dad back in the 2009 or so. I’d just left my corporate job and started my own business. During this period of time, every month, Dad and I would gather at the lake house, have lunch, and talk a few hours. One of these conversations I’ll always remember centered around self-employment and the value of family. I shared:
“Dad, you know one of the things I recall about growing up and our owning our own business is that we worked hard. There were multiple nights and weekends that I recall being at the plant repairing equipment. That being said, you know what else I recall? You never missed a ballgame and I can’t say the same for my kids.”
Yes, self-employment wasn’t always easy; however, it affords much freedom and flexibility for which, at the time, I hadn’t personally experienced with my own family. Thankfully, I experienced much since that time for which I now very grateful.
Well, while the players have changed on the field a bit, that fan in the stands hasn’t changed much in all these years. His voice continues to tower above them all as we attend family sporting events together. The photo in today’s post is of Dad and I attending my nephews final high school baseball game just a few weeks ago. Closing in on 80 years this year, there are aspects of Dad’s health wearing and tearing on him. That being said, you won’t find him missing a ballgame, dancing at a wedding, or any other opportunity he has to share with family.
Papa Dave, you’re a “good, good father” which has led a generation of Arnolds and planted the seeds for future generations to lead with integrity, honor, and respect of one another. I know that it pains you more so than I that, with your current ability to see, you’ll likely never be able to read these words or others I’ve written along the way. That being said, may you hear at a heart level how truly loved you are by your son. Your entire family is so appreciates all you’ve done for us and the example you set on what it truly means to be a father.
With these final words I’ll offer one big “whoooooooooooooooo” which likely only our family will understand. And, say, “way to go ‘big’ Tiger!”
Happy Father’s Day , Papa Dave!!!