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Thank you, John, for honoring Dad with your most insightful column. He would have been honored three times over. First, he would have been moved that you thought about him. Second, he would have been flabbergasted to be mentioned in the same article as Peyton Manning!
Third and most important, he would have been thrilled that you understood and shared his message about fewer bleachers and more playing fields.
As a physician Dad believed in the value of exercise for its health benefits. Until he was no longer able, he walked four miles a day and played tennis five days a week. He had to reserve two days a week for fishing!
He believed that sports keep young people occupied with healthy activities.
He observed that sports provide important lessons in self-discipline and build friendships that are outside of our every day lives.
Dad was a product of the then Boys Club of Little Rock. He wrestled, lifted weights and enjoyed the lessons of character that are gained through participation.
Here in Steamboat we also have great and affordable institutions for kids and adults, the Boys and Girls Club of NW Colorado, the Tennis Center of Steamboat Springs, Howelsen Ice Arena, city-run basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, soccer, softball, and basketball leagues, mountains full of free trails for hiking and biking, and the most beautiful spot on earth for enjoying these activities.
So, John, thank you for admiring Dad. Most of all, thank you for understanding and carrying forward his message that participation is the thing.
John, you so captured Dad's spirit, and he would be honored by your recollections of him. He would also be flabbergasted to be mentioned in the same article as Peyton Manning!
You shared the essence of his beliefs--that people should participate regularly in sports for the health benefits, for the value of self-discipline as it crosses into all areas of life, the importance of being a good sport and for the lifetime friendships that are made through sports. Ultimately, just for the pure pleasure of playing. You don't have to be the best on the court, course or the field to enjoy your game. The only person against whom we really compete is ourselves. There is great pleasure in working to be a little better today than you were yesterday, no matter what your skill level.
In their daily games Dad, Stan Whittemore, John Fetcher, and youngsters, like Cal Myers, spun the racket to see who would play with whom and who would earn the right to go home that day and tell about their victory. It was about the love of the game.
Thank you, John, for recognizing the importance of participation through the life of a humble guy who just liked to play. We have so many affordable venues here, like the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, for people to enjoy the benefits of sports. If Dad's legacy can mean anything, it would be to give sporting opportunities to as many people as possible for all the reasons we've shared, for them to start as young as they can and to continue for as long as they possibly can.
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