Sports bring families together

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

One of the things I&8217;ve always loved about sports is its ability to bring people together. Whether it be two strangers sitting next to each other at a stadium or bar or a family gathering to watch their favorite team, it tends to make people forget about their differences for two or three hours.

The biggest area where I think this is the case, though, is between fathers and sons.

Relations between a father and his sons can be a bit strained at times, but for whatever reason many find their common ground on the gridiron, the diamond, the basketball court or any number of sporting events.

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I&8217;m sure many of you spent a great deal &8212; or even the majority &8212; of the time you spent with your father growing up either playing or watching sports. I know I did.

That&8217;s really one of the great things, because some of my most cherished memories are with my dad at football games or while he coached me in various youth sports. That&8217;s the case with a lot of fathers, I&8217;m sure.

As I&8217;ve watched a few of the Dixie Youth and T.M. Jennings teams compete in the weeks since I&8217;ve been here, it&8217;s been great to watch the supportive parents in the stands and in the dugouts, and it brought back plenty of memories. We really take the role our dads play in whatever our biggest interest might be for granted, but over the last few months it has become crystal clear, for me. I&8217;m sure my story is no different than many of you reading this.

Growing up, my dad did everything he could to include me in his sporting pursuits, and then help me in mine.

While he played church league basketball and softball, I was right there as a little boy watching.

When I played Little League Baseball and YMCA Basketball a few years later, he was there to coach.

He took me to sporting events in New York, North Carolina, California, Texas and all points in between. I will never forget our many trips to college football games &8212; be it at Auburn, Alabama, Florida State or anywhere else.

He helped me make contacts in the radio business in college and the newspaper business a few years later, and I would certainly not be here with the passion I have for sports were it not for him.

I&8217;m sure many of you have had fathers who have done the same for you, and I certainly hope to do the same for my eventual son or daughter.

Today is my dad&8217;s 50th birthday, and I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank him.

Tim Cottrell is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached by phone at 601-445-3632 or by e-mail at