A Cleveland Father’s Day note from Factory of Sadness writer Joe Russo, who thanks the man responsible for making him a diehard Cleveland fan.
While we don’t have a way to turn all of our accents blue on this site, we should still celebrate Father’s Day here on Factory of Sadness. I myself know that if it weren’t for my father, there’s no way I’d be in a position to spend quality time talking about Cleveland sports online with a community of readers that have put FoS where it is today.
We all have fond memories of sharing moments in sports with our fathers. From the first games of catch to learning what the heck a pull block was, the same is true for me. My local fandom was hardwired into me by a combination of osmosis and intentional branding. There was always an Indians or Browns logo on some article of clothing, and sometimes a “Bock O” for the Buckeyes, even though my father wasn’t much of an Ohio State fan.
I’ve written in this space before that 7:05pm was a sacred time in our house during the summer. To this day, I’m not entirely sure if my father was an Indians devotee the way his sons turned out to be, but the games were always on the television if for nothing more than to be the background noise to whatever else we were doing as a family.
He was a career educator, so summers weren’t just time away from his students, but the rare opportunity to have 100 percent of his focus on us at home. I think he used those games as a way to get us all together and to have a “home base” of sorts. Lots of times it was card games and still is to this day, though the beverages of choice are a little different.
Football season was always a bit contentious. As someone who focuses on Ohio State football here at FoS, the Buckeyes caused more arguments in our house than you would think. My mother was a student athlete there but my father took a special joy in chiding the rest of us about Ohio State.
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He took particular delight in the John Cooper era, where well hyped teams would inevitably fall to Michigan and short of expectations. As some sort of joke, there were even Michigan sweatshirts as a gift one Christmas. Urban Meyer, though, at least as him coming around.
It wasn’t just the local teams that provided the greatest amount of appreciation for sports. It was the way watching any football game that happened to be on turned into a shared family moment. It was how conversations about a particular play weren’t just about the results, but about the how and why of all of the little details made it successful. I still can’t watch a football game the same way without noticing just about everything than the guy who has the ball in his hands. I have my father to thank for that.
Now, he gets to watch his granddaughter, my niece, do her best to play soccer for the first time and I have never seen him happier in my life. I hope that he isn’t watching those games with the same level of detail that he taught to us, but you never know. To my father, Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for building the appreciation for sport that I have today.
To all of the readers out there of Factory of Sadness, Happy Father’s Day as well.