We all inherit quite a bit from our father's. You may have the same eyes, the same nose, the same bald spot, but for me the best thing I inherited from my father was my love of all things Purdue. Like many of you my Purdue fandom started early. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Purdue football (bad) and Purdue basketball (good) in the early 90's. I remember my dad taking us to early season football games and every now and then we would be lucky enough to see Purdue play someone like Notre Dame, like we did in 1997. I remember sitting in a stadium that was near empty with plenty of space around us.
What I remember more than the games though is the time spent with my dad. I remember walking around campus and him showing us where he had class. I remember seeing the fountains, the statues, and the places where my dad lived while he was on campus. I don't think I fully appreciated what he was sharing with me at the time. To my young brain they were just buildings, they were just places, they were things other than the football game and maybe a snack that I was going to get. I realize now though that he was sharing an experience with me. He was sharing a feeling. He was taking me back to a time in his life when things were much simpler, where he didn't have as much on his plate When we walked around the campus I can remember how happy he was, how much joy it brought him to make that two hour drive and arrive on campus.
My Purdue indoctrination started in those early days and I wouldn't have it any other way. I got to know my dad more on those drives and that time on campus than perhaps anywhere else. My dad isn't a big talker. He's content to enjoy the silence most times and read a nice book. There's nothing wrong with that at all, I also got that from him. If you get him talking about Purdue, history, or politics he can go on for days. As I've gotten older and I no longer live in the same town, state, or hell even section of the country as my father, I find myself talking to him about these things more and more. It's our way of staying connected with one another. The great thing about my dad is that with all four of his sons he has something different that he connects with. For one it may be politics and Purdue, for another it's music, or maybe a good book.
For many of you I would imagine you have a similar story of growing up as a Purdue fan. Of growing into a fan as a son or daughter due to your father. I know on this day in particular I get nostalgic and think about those days when the only thing I wanted was to hop in the van with my dad and take that 2-2.5 drive up to West Lafayette to watch a Purdue game. I look back now and realize it wasn't truly about the game at all. It was about my dad. Happy father's day to all the fathers out there. I hope one day to live up to the legacy that my dad gave me...and also to make my son/daughter love Purdue the way he taught me.