2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

I am the proud product of my father

Published: June 14, 2014, 4:43 pm, by interns

By Quentin Sickafoose

 

When I was young, my father told me to take time and appreciate the moment that was happening right before my eyes.

 

It was the evening of January 25, 1998, two days after my seventh birthday, and I was about to experience something he’d seen a handful of times before I was even a thought. The Denver Broncos were in the Super Bowl for the fifth time in team history and he wanted me to realize just how special that actually was.

 

As a 7-year-old kid, it seems unimaginable to put watching grown men playing sports higher on your priority list than cartoons or Pokemon cards — but that’s exactly what happened.

 

Of course, Denver would go on to win its first world championship that night. John Elway’s helicopter-like run and Pat Bowlen’s four-word postgame speech are memories I’ll take with me to my deathbed.

 

I’d like to think that moment is responsible for who I am today.

 

From the first day I started school, extracurricular activities were always just as important. I wanted to be a sports star, my only problem was trying decide which one. I dreamed of being the next Todd Helton, so my father bought me my first baseball glove and taught me how to catch. Then I strived to have a jump shot like Nick Van Exel, so my father hung a basketball hoop on the garage and we’d play all day long.

 

I’d like to think those moments are responsible for who I am today.

 

In high school, I found my prowess in running. I learned to depend on having at least one familiar voice cheering my name from the bleachers at my track meets every weekend. Win or lose, good or bad, my father was at the finish line waiting for his opportunity to congratulate me.

 

I’d like to think those events made me who I am today.

 

Last month, I sat in the Coors Field pavilion, enjoying a beer while the sun set behind the front range of the Rocky Mountains. When I needed company, someone to talk about baseball and life with, I turned to my left where my father sat beside me.

 

I’d like to think that moment is responsible for who I am today.

 

Really, all of those things made me who I am today, a kid with a passion for writing and an undying love for sports. But the truth is, none of those moments would have even happened had it not been for my father, who is fully responsible for who I am today.

 

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.