Happy Father’s Day!

I didn’t realize it before today, but this is the first Father’s Day I won’t be with my Dad. I am working in Florida for the summer, and won’t be back home until the winter holidays. I have taken today to reflect on the last couple of years, and it is weird to think about how fast time flies. I can’t believe I have left my teenage years and have already completed half my time here at Harvard.

When you look back at your teenage years, you only remember disconnected fragments. For me, most of my childhood memories involve traveling across the country playing junior tennis tournaments. It might seem like a glorious lifestyle, being able to travel to new places and play at nice country clubs, but it is a very lonely path. You lose the chance to live a normal childhood, where you can spend your holidays at home with your family and have a good balance of friends. Luckily, my dad traveled with me to every one of my tournaments and was there every step of the journey.  I still remember my first tournament I ever played. I competed in the 10 and under category at the Johnson Ranch Country Club in Sacramento. I was thrilled with my second place finish, and knew I loved the game, but couldn’t imagine where it would take me.

For the next eight years, I found myself on the road with my dad. We would travel almost every school weekend in the local Northern California area, and then would travel nationally on the major holidays(Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, Summer Vacation, etc.). From the beginning, my dad made it clear that he would not be my coach. He didn’t want to have that relationship with me, and I am grateful he decided that from the beginning. As we traveled I saw many cases where the parent became too involved, and it destroyed their parent-child relationship off the court. By having this hands off approach he let me make my own mistakes, and I was able to learn much quicker. Despite not being my coach I always searched for him in the crowd during my matches, and he was the first one I wanted to see right after a match.

When we started this journey over ten years ago, I don’t think we imagined where it would take me, and am grateful for everything I was able to achieve in the sport. We were both thrilled when it earned me a place in Cambridge, knowing that I was about to embark on an even greater adventure. Even though I know I won’t see him in the crowds when I compete in Boston, I can feel his presence on the court, and I know he is always on the court supporting me in every step of the journey. Be sure to thank your dad on this special day because I know I wouldn’t be here without all my dad’s support.

Happy Father’s Day!

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2 comments

  1. Dante Smith’s avatar

    Hello Shaun -

    I really loved your latest post on “Happy Father’s Day!”. I have gone ahead and added “Harvard College Student Blog” to my Flipbaord. Keep writing awesome stuff, and I will keep reading it.

    Thanks again,

    Dante Smith

  2. Kelli’s avatar

    Really nicel posting Shaun. Your post made me think of my father. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers!

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