John Wall, Rafael Furcal, and the Dark Side of Father's Day

It's harder to celebrate Father's Day than it is Mother's Day. Fathers can duck out on children more easily that mothers can, and they do, in dismaying numbers, leaving bitterness behind. (Warning: Some people who tweet about deadbeat dads are angry about it.) But if you want one specific example, read the story of John Wall and his father, who was incarcerated for much of Wall's childhood and died of liver cancer in 1999, in the Washington Post.

⇥"People have jokes, so I just said, forget the jokes, we can fight," Wall said. "Just so much anger built up. I was mad at everything. I did not trust coaches, people. Anytime somebody told me something, I just said, 'You don't know what you are talking about.' I did not want to believe nobody for some reason. That's just how it was."⇥

⇥...⇥

⇥

⇥Wall's worst fight occurred when he was 10, waiting for his turn at bat during a sandlot baseball game. One particularly tall, strong 14-year-old boy would not move from home plate. Wall swung the aluminum bat, and it connected with the kid's eyebrow. The two punched and wrestled and kept fighting -- taking two-minute breaks -- during a marathon slugfest.⇥

⇥

⇥Wall's aggression was so intense that, because he lived some 30 minutes from school, his mother would drop him off and sit in the parking lot because she knew he would be sent home in less than two hours. Pulley was unsettled at where she saw her son's life heading. "The same way his father's life was: prison," she said. "In trouble, mostly. It was sad. That was the sad part."⇥

That's just a bit of it; the rest is well worth the 15 minutes you might spend with it.

And then there's the tragedy Rafael Furcal must deal with: His father's death on Father's Day. Silvino Furcal died in a hospital in the Dominican Republic in the early morning, the result of complications from a kick to the chest by a horse.

I'm lucky: These are stories I can read and contrast with my own. Not everyone is so lucky, and it's worth remembering that—and remembering, on this day and others, to tell your father or father figure how much you care.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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