by Shane Snively
The year Dad died, one of the hardest things to handle was college gameday. Go Bucks!! No texts …. no phone calls …. no laughing about the five-second delay he had on his TV compared to mine, “spoiler alert, Penn State just fumbled!”
Dad was a hybrid Penn State/Ohio State fan, and it was the sit-on-the-couch-and-talk ritual during the games that always had me in stitches. That first college gameday without him would have been insane with the double over-time. I still miss his funny way of breaking down the play.
“Joe Blow is back! Oh no, he lost his mind and is running the ball down the gut, doesn’t he know he has had five concussions already this year? Oh yeah, he must have forgot.”
It was so hard to turn on the Saturday game and just sit and watch without the conversation.
So, what now, I thought?
Thank God for the Netflix Saturday distraction, is what I thought! I let our four kids choose a theme and, guess what, a few hours later I could tell you everything you ever needed to know about the Power Rangers, Jake and The Neverland Pirates, or Pokémon.
Pokémon. Will Ash and Pikachu take down the next challenge?
As interesting as the latest cartoon adventure was, I found myself with a pencil in my hand, drawing with Camryn and Samuel. I had not picked up a pencil since high school, but there I was, drawing Ash and Pikachu, with my kids looking over my work, kind of cheering me on.
“Daddy, that looks great! It looks just like them! You are amazing, Daddy!”
I found myself getting excited about working on the picture with them, laughing about funny stories of me in art class, teaching them about shading, perspective, and the different angles and dimensions.
So big deal, so what, you draw one little picture, and suddenly you think you are Vincent van Gogh? No, that’s not it. Dealing with death is hard, dealing with the loss of a best friend, someone who was always proud of you to matter what–it’s hard. And it’s not over. It’s still not over. But we all have to figure out a way to cope with the silence and live again, handle the stress, figure out a way to give love back to your kids, your spouse, your friends, and your family. I find it a little comical that a silly little Pokémon show helped me realize how blessed I am. Truly, we are so blessed, and we have so much to be thankful for. We need to be grateful for all of it.
That night, after drawing with my kids, I ended up watching the Ohio State Buckeyes win while texting with two friends during the game. I was grateful for a fun time, grateful for my friends, and even more grateful for having had a great Dad!
I originally wrote the above Dealing with the Silence of College GameDay article a couple of years ago, right after Dad died (I’ve updated it a little, as you can see). Since then, my business partner, Eric Kasimov, has come out with a lot of articles about sports—sports and business and life. One of his articles, titled Sports Bring People Together, really explains why so much of our content revolves around sports. Actually, the title pretty much says it; sports bring people together. That article hit home for me the first time I read it—it still does. It’s real, it’s genuine, it’s us. One of my favorite moments last year was watching the Ohio State vs. Wisconsin game at Eric’s house. The good guys (that’s Ohio State, if you didn’t know) won in overtime, but it was just fun to take in a game and some banter with a friend. And really, that’s what everything else we do here is about. And for me, it all started with my Dad.