Mom and dad at the Mets gameThis Sunday will be my first Father’s Day without my dad.

Throughout my childhood, playing and watching sports was the way I connected with my dad.  Maybe that’s why all 50 times I’ve watched the last scene of Field of Dreams, I’ve cried when Kevin Costner says “Hey dad, want to have a catch?”

When I was six years old – this is 1963 — I asked my dad why we rooted for the Mets instead of the Yankees.    The Mets were abysmal while the Yankees were a legend, and it seemed everyone else rooted for the “right” team.  How could we be so wrong?  My father’s answer:  “Because, dear, we root for the underdogs.”

Look, there’s nothing wrong with rooting for winners… if the Mets ever became perennial winners, I’d be ecstatic.  But there’s something special about winning when you’re the underdogs.   Thanks, Dad…  Let’s Go Mets!

Clearly, for my dad, winning wasn’t the only thing.  In fact, dad’s sports mantra (and the sports mantra of my youth) was, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”   Today, the sports mantra has become, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Except with golf!  Still today, “golf is a game of honor” and “golf is a gentlemen’s game.”    Golf requires just the type of sportsmanship my Dad taught me.  Now you might be thinking… hmmm, Patty doesn’t care if she wins or loses?  HA!  My mother can tell you stories of what I’m like after a loss.  There’s slamming of doors, yelling, kicking, crying… and that was just last week!

Suffice it to say, I like to win and I hate to lose.  But golf demands we bring sportsmanship and honor to the game, and they have to come before winning.    And that’s why I love golf.

And why it reminds me of my Dad.