Growing up in Spokane, Washington, I was blessed with good weather, safety in the streets, a good family and a love for sports. Few scents in this world awaken childhood memories like a freshly cut baseball field, laces on a football or orange slices from the days of soccer halftime. I have so many experiences related to sports, of which 99 percent are positive.
One such experience during the early years of Seahawk football was the quick drive my dad and I would take to Eastern Washington University to watch training camp. My dad, John Riley, wasn’t what I would call a big time sports fan. His true love (after my mom of course) was fixing and building things. We didn’t need an auto shop, we had John. Installing a pool? John will do it. Building a champion Pinewood Derby car for scouts? John did that too. Sports just wasn’t a passion or priority. It was so, however, to his youngest child. I did everything in my power to make sure he knew it.
Once I started playing little league sports, my dad took an interest. We started playing catch in the yard. We practiced soccer moves with the ball. Eventually he would coach and quickly learn the games I loved so much. It wasn’t until a new NFL team arrived in Seattle that sports would really become important.
The drive to the Seahawk training facility was a quick one. In my youthful mind it was a real road trip. We walked around the fence separating the fans and players looking for my favorite player, Steve Largent. The crowd around Steve would be so big, far too big for me to push through. So dad pushed through and got an autograph for me. Those were fun days, even for dad.
Dad has since passed away, leaving a lot to be built and games to be watched. As this Sunday draws near I can’t help but wonder how excited he’d be to watch this young Seahawk team stand 60 minutes from a Super Bowl win. My guess is he’d find something to do, checking on the game often.
What I do know is a real void will be felt.