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  • Growing Up Without a Father, Finding Positive Influences, and a Love for Baseball

    Sean Franken

    With Father’s Day upon us, I thought I’d get a little personal. This is a story of growing up without a father, how my love of baseball began, and how my father not being around was his loss, not mine. 

    Image courtesy of © Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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    Father's Day has never meant much to me, because my dad chose to walk out on my mom, sisters & me when I was a kid. He wasn’t around to take me to baseball games. He wasn’t around to buy me my first baseball glove or my first pack of baseball cards. He wasn’t around to watch my Little League games. It turns out all of those things weren’t my losses, they were his. 

    My mom was left to raise three kids on her own and she did an amazing job. She worked multiple jobs to provide for us. She also was instrumental in my love for baseball. My first memories of going to Brewers games were in the early 80s. County Stadium seemed like a magical place to me as we’d make the drive from Green Bay a couple times a year. I was in awe of Paul Molitor, Robin Yount and Gorman Thomas. We’d often stop off at a McDonald’s in Port Washington on the drive down. That’s where I got my set of 1982 Brewers placemats and my set of 1982 Brewers drinking glasses, all of which I still have to this day. My dad lost out on these opportunities.

    My mom never missed one of my baseball games. She’d even play catch with me in our front yard to get me prepared. When she went to the store I could always count on her coming home with a pack of baseball cards. My dad lost out on these opportunities.

    With the absence of my dad, I still had many positive male influences in my life including my Grandpa and my uncles. They showed me what a good man should be. One of my uncles bought me my first baseball glove, a signed Rickey Henderson glove, yet another opportunity that my dad lost out on.

    My mom re-married to a great guy, and my sisters married men who are great fathers to their children. In 2018, I married an amazing woman. During the ceremony I had the honor of announcing in front of all of our family and friends that I had officially changed my last name to my mother’s maiden name. I wanted to honor her, my Grandpa, and my uncles who were there for me when my dad wasn’t. 

    I want to thank my dad. Yes, you read that right. His cowardly choice allowed me the exposure to many positive influences in my life. Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads that do it right! 

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    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this deeply personal take on Father’s Day.

    My own father is still around and in my life but I can hardly call him a role model. So while I don’t understand this, I totally get it. 

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