COLUMN: To a dad who rocks

Summer's soundtrack, at least as I experienced it growing up in Yale, sounds a lot like this: Gravel crackling under truck tires, the growl of my father's John Deere lawnmower and Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" blasting from the back deck.

Before I discovered music on Youtube and Spotify, the bulk of my music appreciation came from car rides with my dad. He liked to play this game called, "Who sings this?" It was a way to educate my young ears. It helped me learn about the different styles of rock — the classics, 80's hair bands and 90's grunge.

He went from Black Sabbath to the Eagles, and from Motley Crue to J. Geils Band. He wasn't big on Boston and he never listened to Journey. Still to this day, you can call his phone and anyone around him will hear the intro to Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" as his ringtone.

Now 22 and living on my own, the Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix posters plastered on the walls of my messy apartment are a small, but cherished reminder of one of the many characteristics I inherited from my father. As for obsessing over bands, he's "past that stage" now. But that man — the first man I've ever loved — is a rockstar to me.

Courtesy Photo | McKenzie Sanderson | Central Michigan Life
President Barack Obama gave a speech in 2012 on Father's Day. His words helped put into perspective the appreciation, and love, I have for my dad.

"For many of us, our fathers show us by the example they set the kind of people they want us to become," he said. "Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, they teach us through the encouragement they give, the questions they answer, the limits they set, and the strength they show in the face of difficulty and hardship."

When I was young, probably around six-years-old, I knew my dad had great taste in music. As I grew up I started to see him for more of what he really is — a hard-working, devoted, selfless father, whom I get to visit once every few months now if I'm lucky. 

During the past two years I've been living two hours away to attend college. I've learned to block out feelings of homesickness and replace them with gratitude. 

Before I was born, and long after my younger brother finishes high school, my father literally and figuratively has worked to put bread on the table for my family. He wakes up every day before the sun rises to work and strain his already deteriorating back so that I can pursue a Bachelor's degree in journalism. He also works hard to support my brother who is being scouted by colleges at his high school baseball games.

He might not wear the band t-shirts or rock the 80's hair, but my dad has influenced me in more ways than any musician could. He is strong, humble and always looking out for my best interest. To me, he rocks more than Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones combined.

 Happy Father's Day, Dad. Thank you for everything.


About McKenzie Sanderson

McKenzie Sanderson is the Sports Editor at Central Michigan Life. She is a senior at Central ...

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