I played field hockey in high school and from the looks of it at times, people might have thought my dad played too. That’s a story for another time.

One would think it would be expected to have your parents at your games. However, my team and I always inconveniently played in the afternoon at 4pm, not in the evening, making it difficult for working parents to attend. Not for my Dad though, who without fail never missed one of my games. He’d walk down the long path, past the tennis courts and set up camp. Plopping open his folding chair, sipping diet coke, air horn in hand; he would eagerly wait for us to start.

He would watch with intent, focused way more on the game than my mom ever did. He never missed my goals and I’d look back to smile when I heard that obnoxious horn. That was my Dad saying good job! Sometimes in close games he’d get so worked up that he wouldn’t even be able to sit still. He’d be up pacing back and forth along the sidelines with the occasional, “SHOOT IT!”, embarrassing both my mom and me! Trust me, I have no doubt where I get my level of intensity from.

After the game he’d give me a hug with a few big pats on the back and say, “See ya at home!” and I’d head into the locker room to clean up. When I got home I'd go drop my bags in my room (the kitchen floor was not my bedroom according to my mother) before joining my parents for dinner. I can still remember like it was yesterday; after my first game, I noticed something on my bed... banana Laffy Taffy. I knew exactly who had put it there and what it meant. My dad hardly spoke the words, “Good job” or “I’m proud of you”, but I knew that he was by the taffy that was there on my bed after every game.

He’s a funny guy, my dad. Blasting air horns and giving banana Laffy Taffy doesn’t shout love to most, but it does to me. It wasn’t until later that I realized the countless vacation hours he sacrificed leaving work early to attend my games. Sometimes it’s truly not about what you say, but how you say it. Banana Laffy Taffy will always be our thing.

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Renee was raised in St. Louis & now currently lives in Los Angeles. Her Christian faith is the cornerstone of her life, desiring to walk daily with God & boldly share His love with others. She enjoys all things active & likes traveling, cooking, reading & spending time with friends and family. Renee is always up for an adventure, a good laugh & dessert!  Follow her @Beebopnae.