Showing Up Is More Than Half The Battle

Whoever first said it, it’s true of fatherhood.

Recently Kentucky basketball head coach John Calipari Tweeted a photo of a dad, wearing his sooty workclothes, sitting with his little boy, in the stands at a game. It touched Calipari because he grew up in a West Virginia coal mining family. I know, I know, in an election year, EVERYONE is saying that, but he actually did.

The man’s name turns out to be Michael McGuire; he works for Excel Mining. Starts his day at 4:30 AM and raced straight from work to be with his family at the Blue-White game. His wife Mollie says that’s how he is.

It reminded me of my own dad a little. Not a coal miner, but an office worker who hated his job, but kept it because, beyond supporting our family of 6, it was less than ten minutes from our house. He turned down promotions because they meant transfers to more distant towns. He worked through lunch so he could leave earlier.

In short, he organized himself around being there for me, my two brothers and my sister. He wouldn’t have seen it as noble or a sacrifice. He loved being a dad. He didn’t have hobbies, unless you count wrestling and boxing with us, fixing our bikes and toys and keeping our house weathertight and in repair. Oh, and helping with math homework, college applications and Bible reading.

He read a lot, but I don’t know if he ever read a book about fatherhood (I’m guessing not), and there weren’t any websites or Facebook groups to give him affirmation. Are those things really helping us today?

Michael McGuire and my dad never met, but I like to picture them passing each other in traffic, smiling, eager to get to where their kids are, knowing that’s the key to it all.

They showed up.

Somehow they knew that being there would matter.

And it did.

More about: