Thursday, December 2, 2010

Because of Joe

Tomorrow, December 3rd is my dad's birthday. He would be turning 57 years young. Last year at this time I never could have imagined he would be gone, it's still so hard to believe. Over the past months I have often thought about how badly I want my future children to know their grandfather without having him here physically. How will I be able to carry on his legacy? What has my dad taught me that I can share with his posterity?
If I were to describe my dad in one word, the first that comes to mind is generous. He lived a simple life so he could give more to others. He was a talented coach that made good athletes great. He believed in them, taught them how to work hard, be successful and achieve their goals.
About one month ago, my oldest sister, Shelley had purchased a two week membership at a gym for a fundraiser from her son's basketball team. She had never been there before and finally went on the very last day before the pass expired. Upon leaving, the owner of the gym approached her, gave her the new member spill and was trying to talk her into joining. She was in a rush and didn't want to be bothered. The gym owner finally asked her why she was so against joining and she said, " because my son is trying out for basketball and needs some help getting stronger and faster, I need to put my money into training for him, not me right now". The guy looked at her and said, " well that's exactly what I do! When I was in high school, I tried so hard to make the basketball team but got cut my sophmore year. I went to tons of different coaches to help me get stronger and jump higher but none of them helped. Finally I was sent to the very best coach"...

At that moment, my sister knew who he was talking about. The young man went on to say, "his name was Joe Jolley". With tears in her eyes my sister said, "that's my dad". The young man looked upset and walked away. A few minutes later he came back a little choked up and said, "now you don't have anyone to help your son because your dad is gone?" The young man told my sister how my dad trained him, believed in him and helped him achieve his dream of going on to not only make the high school team, but also play collegiate basketball. He said he never would have accomplished what he had or be where he is today without the help of my dad.
My dad helped so many young athletes on and off the field. Coaching was his hobby, not his career. He often did it without pay, sacrificing his time and talent out of love for these young kids and their sport. More important than athletics to my dad was the gospel of Jesus Chris. He once told one of his athletes, "there are two things your future wife has to have, number one, she's got to have a testimony and number two, she's got to be able to back squat double her own body weight!"
I've decided that every December 3rd on my daddy's birthday I'm going to try to go out of my way to help someone more than usual, think to be a little more generous, and do something kind. I'm hoping that my future children will notice this and come to realize I do it because of my dad, because of their grandfather, because of Joe.




6 comments:

Greg and Michelle Andersen said...

I love you Jen! Birthdays are hard, but I think it is a great idea that you are going to pay it forward on his birthday. Focusing on serving others somehow always helps. :) What an amazing man.

TJ and Jen Sherwood said...

what a sweet story Jen. My sister's birthday is in December also so it always helps me to think about what is really important but I love your idea of helping someone on that day.

Livin' Wright said...

Jen, this post brought tears to my eyes. A simple way to let you know that he is watching over you and your Family, God's tender mercies. What an amazing legacy your father has left.

Brittany said...

A great tribute to a great man. No doubt your children will join you in celebrating your dad's birthday this way -- it's in their blood, they'll be naturals.

I'm excited to get filled in on this weekend and hear how everything went.

Kaylene Whitten said...

Jen, I too really enjoyed hearing your story and wish I had the opportunity to meet your dad. I have wondered how I could help my boys remember our sweet McKeon. Although McKeon's life was short and he met so few people, his life has blessed and postively influenced so many. I can't think of a better way for my boys to know and remember him by doing the same thing for others. Thank-you for the idea and know I love you and know you have inherited many of those great qualities of your dad!

Ali Seaman said...

Jen, I just hurt for you every time you share something about your dad. I'm so grateful for the gospel and I think it's a wonderful idea to continue sharing your memories of him and passing on a legacy. Merry Christmas.