Name: Denis with one “N,” also answers to Bobo and Dad
Likes: College basketball, Miller Light, Cheez-its, acronyms
Dislikes: Vegetables and authority
In honor of Father’s Day, we’re honoring my father. What, what! There’s so many wonderful things I could say about my dad. I could fill this post with so many sappy memories and heartfelt expressions that it would make you weep. But I feel like the best expression of how great my dad is can only come through in one great story from my childhood.
My dad is a retired basketball coach. All through my childhood he coached at the United States Military Academy at West Point and Warwick Valley High School, where he won Coach of the Year. So obviously, I loved basketball too, and going to the park to play with him on a nice day.
When I was 11, me, dad and my friend Pete Rose (no, the other Pete Rose) went to Roe Park to innocently shoot some hoops on the double-rimmed baskets with chain-link nets. Because at 11, we were cool like that. When we got there, Bino, also 11 (and shocking similar in features to the rapper Ja-Rule, even as a tween), was shooting hoops as well, and not liking that we were on his turf, challenged the girl (me) and the redhead (Pete) to a game of two-on-two.
After jumping out to a 7-0, Pete and I were cleaning up the court, and Bino was not havin’ it. So he started in on my dad.
“Yo, man,” Bino said, also sounding exactly like Ja-Rule. “I seen you around. What’s your name?”
“Bob Cousy,” Dad said dryly, not missing a beat.
“Nahhhhh man.You ain’t Bob Cousy. I know him. You ain’t him. Nahhhhh.”
“I am. Square business.”
This went on for a good five minutes, until Dad finally gave up and said the only thing he could think of: “Fine. I’m Robert Cousy.”
To which Bino replied, “Ahhh man, why you tryin’ to be Bob Cousy’s brother?”
Not a kitchen table conversation in the Carroll household can be had without telling that story. Greatness.
Anyway, at 13 my dad sat me down and told me that he was done raising me. He said that he and my mom had given me all the tools, and from then on out, everything was going to be my decision. My choices. Little did he know that I hear that conversation every day; his voice inside my head, in every decision that I make – trying to leave things better than when I found it, striving to make each day count.
And I know it’s cheesy, and I know I refer to it every time I talk about my dad, but he truly is the man Rudyard Kipling speaks of in his classic poem “If;” the man who can meet with triumph and disaster, the man who can lose and start again at his beginnings, the man who fills the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run. I hope that I can live up to everything that he is. I hope that I’ve done a good job on my own since I was 13, even though secretly, I think he’s been following close behind ever since.
I love you Dad.