My relationship with my father could have taken a bad turn in 2002 when I moved with my mother and her family from California to Washington. Instead, we wound up with a stronger father-son relationship than ever before.
My father has been a huge San Francisco Giants fan since he was a child, watching Willie Mays and Willie McCovey smack long-balls all over Candlestick Park. I was a fan, too, but not to the same extent. That changed in 2002.
I became embroiled with emotion as the team streaked through the playoffs, only to fall flat on their face at the end of the road. To this day, I have a severe distaste for stuffed monkeys and thunder sticks. But more importantly, I found a bond with my father despite living 818 miles away.
We share in the glory and heartbreak of the team's trials and tribulations. That is why last year our fondest collective dream came true when the Giants won the World Series. Even though I was at work that night, I was on the phone with my father as we both listened and watched events unfolding. Coworkers of mine still speak of the level of emotion I showed that night.
A similar bond was forged through music after I moved in 2002. It was around that time that I started listening to the music my father had grown up with. It was an effort on my part to remain connected to my father despite the physical separation.
Out of that grew an obsession between me and the music of Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen — my father's favorite musical artist. I have attended seven Springsteen concerts with my father since 2003. Together we have flown all the way to Washington, D.C., to see Springsteen perform, and then driven to Pittsburgh the next day for a second show. I once skipped school to fly from Seattle to Oakland to see back-to-back shows with my father, and then flew right back home.
I harbor a grudge against anyone who bad-mouths Bruce Springsteen or the San Francisco Giants. Not because they are insulting something I am a fan of, but because they are insulting my relationship with my father.
Family bonds are something I take seriously. I hope the bond that exists now between my father and I continues to endure — and I hope to one day have such a strong a bond with my own children.