I think we all felt that gut punch when we heard the news about Kobe, his daughter, and the passengers aboard his helicopter. It still feels surreal. As a life long basketball lover, (and player), I felt it too. I’ve cried as Kobe’s friends and teammates have cried on TV, as late night hosts and news anchors cried, at the images that display just how much he loved his girls, how he was a much needed champion of women’s sports, how Gigi had her whole life in front of her to leave her own legacy, over all the lives lost, over what it must have felt like to find out from the media that your loved ones suddenly passed away, that it may have been avoidable...

I’ve cried over it all. It is just so tragic.

Seeing Gianna’s relationship with her dad reminded me a little of my own. I struggled to connect with my father growing up because he was often distant, stressed and tied up with work. He was a talented and decorated varsity athlete, (and musician.) Although he was incredibly busy, he always made time to pass along his wisdom and knowledge of sports to his kids. And he never ever missed our games. He lit up when he taught me how to shoot a free throw under pressure, how to play defense, how to pitch a strike, how to never miss a fly ball. He came alive when it came to sports.

We didn’t have a lot in common when I was growing up (that came much later on), but the one thing we shared together was sports. And though he’s gone, I’ll always cherish those years of watching and playing sports with him.

This week reminded me that sports was always more to me than just competing. Sports was my sanctuary growing up, and it also taught me at a very young age how to love and connect with my father.

And for that I’m forever grateful. 

APRIL LIKINS

FOREST

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