A Father's Day Wish

By: Adam Niemeyer (FOX 19 Sports)

The bond between a father and son is a unique one. Sometimes the relationship between dad and son is fostered by sports. Many children grow up and get involved in sports because their dad is the coach. They find it to be fun, enjoyable and a good time. I'd say my life was no different.

Plus, sporting events get both father and son—or sons—out of mom's hair for a little while. And of course, what's wrong with a little bonding time?

But, this story isn't about my dad and all we've done together. No, this story goes out to a man who will probably never read this story—my 86-year-old grandfather, Joe.

He's a man who has instilled in me an honest love of sports and learning to fight through all the tough times. In 2006, he had his voice box removed, and although he's lost his physical voice, he still makes sure everyone knows his frustrations with his favorite sports teams.

My grandpa is an old-timer, you could say. He loves listening to the Reds on the radio while watching on TV with the volume turned down. In fact, my earliest memories of my grandfather are of visiting the house where he and my grandma lived for 50 plus years and watching the legendary Harry Caray call Cubs games on WGN TV.

My favorite part? The seventh inning stretch of course.

I think back to all the times we sat around and chatted about baseball, football and whatever else we could possibly wrap our minds around. My grandpa loved showing up to our games—basketball, baseball and, heck, I'm sure he even made it to a few soccer games. Back when he could talk, he was always there to lend a piece of advice after a game.

And of course he still offers advice to various umpires and officials on TV while watching sports. Even without a voice he is as vocal as ever.

My grandpa was an avid bowler up until his surgery a few years ago. In fact, when I bowled in high school, he'd occasionally travel over to Western Bowl to watch our matches. When a photo of me bowling surfaced at the family Christmas party a few years ago, he pointed out how much better I was after only a few short years of really practicing hard at my skills.

This calendar year however, has been especially hard on my grandpa. He's been in and out of the hospital more times than I can count. But we always make sure to bring him the sports section of the paper every day, and make sure that the Reds are always on the TV before we leave his room.

I know there's a very slim chance I'll ever get to see my grandpa bowl again, or even go golfing with him like I've done before. It's probably even more of a battle just to see if he'll ever walk again.

Even though he'll probably never read this story, I feel that on Father's Day it's only appropriate to take some time to sit back, think about those men in our life that have made a difference. My dad has made a huge impact on my life, but this Father's Day may be my last with my grandfather, and it's sad to think that the best baseball fan I know might not be around at this time next year.

So, whether or not your dad, or uncle or grandpa, has instilled a love of sports in your heart, it's only right to walk up to them today and tell them that they are important to you. You may not have to say, "I love you," but it sure wouldn't hurt.

So Happy Fathers Day to everyone today. Especially to my grandfather. Today is certainly a day to say "I love you" to him. I definitely don't say it enough.