Nine years ago today was one of the worst days of my life.
My father, known as “Scotty” by most of his friends and family, passed away due to a heart attack.
During the time of his passing, I was a 22-year-old college student enrolled in a summer math course at Washington State University. It was the final class I needed to complete in order to earn my bachelor’s degree.
I wasn’t actually in Pullman the night my dad died. I happened to be in Hillsboro, Ore., visiting one of my best friends from my WSU days, John Ball.
We spent the majority of the evening enjoying the city’s nightlife. I went to bed at about 2 a.m. At about 2:30 a.m., I missed a call from my mom. I knew a call coming at that hour couldn’t be good.
I called her back about 15 minutes later, and she told me my dad was gone.
The next few hours were devastating as I called a handful of individuals in the wee hours of the morning to inform them of the horrendous news. To say it was a tough night would be an understatement.
Two weeks later, at my dad’s memorial service, I reflected on the fond memories I shared with him. He always said he didn’t want a tearful funeral. Instead, he desired a wake where his life would be celebrated.
Following his memorial service at the Belfair Community Baptist Church, a conglomerate of cars made the short trek up state Route 3 to my dad’s favorite spot, the North Mason Eagles No. 4226, where we spent the next several hours, reminiscing and sharing “Scotty” stories. It is just the way he would have wanted it.
It was a sad day, but it was special to see so many faces come together to celebrate him.
When I think about my relationship with my dad, one of the first things that comes to mind is sports. We were extremely close, and sports was something we both enjoyed immensely.
He coached me in soccer and baseball throughout my childhood. During my high school days, he rarely missed a sporting event I participated in.
Throughout the 1990s, our Sundays in the fall and early winter were spent watching NFL games from 10 a.m. through 8 p.m. It was a simply a day of eating and watching football.
I would guzzle close to a six-pack of diet coke and consume fried chicken, jojos and macaroni and cheese that we picked up from Mr. Chin’s eatery inside of Belfair’s Stock Market grocery store during halftime of the afternoon games.
I remember those days like they were yesterday.
While my dad and I were very similar, we were also very different when it came to picking our favorite NFL players. Two of my favorites of all time are Deion Sanders and Brett Favre. Both loved to celebrate after big plays, which my dad loathed. He was from the old school and didn’t believe in end-zone antics.
One of his favorite players from that era was Barry Sanders. He absolutely loved the way he ran the ball, and he liked it even better when Barry simply handed the ball to the referee after he scored a touchdown.
He would say to me: “See how Barry does it? He acts like he’s been there before.”
The friendly banter and constant sports debates are something I will never forget, especially on days like today. He may be gone, but those memories and stories will live on forever.
Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at shaun.scott@puyallup herald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.