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Simmons Says - Dishing on dad for Father's Day
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My dad has always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to celebrations. His birthday is June 13, which usually falls within one week of Father’s Day. So the two days which would usually consist of celebrations of the man my friends have come to call “Don Juan” (because his name is Don and he works in Mexico) usually get condensed into one.
But since it’s his birthday Wednesday, when many (I hope) will be reading this, I figured I’d tell two stories about the only person who calls me little –-- little Jefe (Spanish for “boss”) to be exact.

My dad is an avid sports fan. It probably has something to do with me being a sports fan. The correlation has to be more than just a coincidence. He’s also a collector of sports memorabilia, something I’ve helped with on my adventures to Tennessee games he wasn’t able to attend.

The games he misses are few and far between though, even if he has to walk to the game on a broken ankle.

In 2000, we were going to watch Tennessee play Louisiana Monroe. It was going to be me, my younger brother, my dad, step mom and one of my friends. Before we left, a raging debate of who could win a game of two-on-two on our hoop outside needed to be settled.

Me and Ross Marlowe took on my dad and brother Brett, with the score bouncing back and forth the whole way. At the time I had grown to be a couple inches taller than my dad, so he had to get separation to fire off a silky smooth jumper, especially from the corner.

The short corner in our driveway just happened to have a pretty steep drop off just a couple feet behind the asphalt, as my dad would find out on game point. He got a pass in the corner and, as I closed in to challenge, rose to fire a jumper before taking a step back.

Was there a nudge? It's never been determined, but he went barrel-rolling into the yard.
Papa wasn't a very good rolling stone.

He swears he made the shot. He also may have sworn when he realized his ankle was pretty mangled. He soldiered on to the game, walking the many steps at Neyland Stadium to see a 70-3 shellacking.

A couple of days later, he found out he had torn several ligaments in his ankle and chipped the bone. But to this day, he says he made the shot (and I believe him).

The second story came from a post-game slip as he tried to give a pep talk to the McMinnville Mariners, our travel team. He was trying to motivate us after a loss, asking us to dig deep and show some guts. Only as he completed his talk, he spouted “you gotta have butt.”

When you say butt in front of a group of 10-year-old boys, you’ve lost the crowd. His motivational speech turned into a comedy routine for years for his players and our family.
So yeah, maybe he’s been the butt of my jokes a lot, and he probably still has side effects from a fall that I may have sent him to. But he’s a great dad – one who has inspired my love for sports and helped me become the man I am today.

Happy birthday and Happy Father’s Day Pops.