A GIANT Father’s Day!

I’ve spent most of my adult life living in Southern California  –9 ½ years in Los Angeles and 4 years in San Diego.  In both locations, friends learned relatively early on that I am a San Franciscan through and through.

This means 1) I call my city by the bay San Francisco –not “Frisco” (that’s a bastardization that non San Franciscan’s use); 2)  I root for the 49ers NOT the Raiders (seriously….why root for a team that shows no loyalty –yes I am a Raider Hater and proud of it); and, 3) I am a SF Giants fan and have zero love for either the Dodgers or the Padres.

Many friends learn early on that I can hold my own in a sports related conversation.  I’ve learned that more than a few of my guy friends take great joy in setting up debates between me and their unsuspecting friends –just to see the dumbfounded look on their friends’ faces when I school them on some of the finer points of West Coast sports and my disgust with ESPN’s east coast bias in reporting.

So how did I learn so much about sports –and why did I develop such a love of SF Giants baseball – my dad of course.   I’m not a fair weather fan …and earned my stripes spending many a game freezing my a$$ off at Candlestick Park (yes the real name of the stadium…)  Some of my best childhood memories are of my father taking me to Candlestick park  for the student honor roll awards –where you received free tickets to the game if you earned over a particular GPA.   Like every true San Franciscan –we’d bring my glove (even though we were in the Euker (sp?) seats, 2 sweaters each, ski jackets, wool socks, and a couple blankets and head off to the ‘Stick.  Miraculously, my dad always seemed to know one of the cops working in the parking lots –and it always gave me the impression that he knew everybody.  Actually –the fact that my brother and I have this knack in our respective circles to seemingly know everybody –is probably inherited from my dad who is still Mr. Networker.

My love of sports and specifically the SF Giants are directly attached to my dad and our shared love and appreciation for all things San Francisco.  My father taught me the importance of integrity –that when you say that you’re going to do something you do it.  Through his actions, he showed me what it looked like to make an effort. For example, I can’t count the number of times my dad showed up with Bill Cook (an uncle I miss on days like today)  at either my brother or my life/sports event in squad car and in police uniform on their ‘lunch break’ to watch us.  (For those who don’t know, my dad is a retired San Francisco Police officer).   He also introduced so many father figures into my life.

As vilified as police are in the media –San Francisco’s finest will always be the best bonus aunts and uncles a girl can have.  Even when times were difficult –so many of these father figures were there to support.  Even though I smile whenever I think of them –my heart hurts knowing that great men like Allen Lim and William Cook are no longer in this world.  I have too many childhood memories that I share with them and their families –and I know who I am today is in part to the great role models they are.  I am blessed to still have some great father figures who’ve traveled  my life’s journey with me  —Bob Vitali, James Speros, Bob Bonderude (ok not a cop, but great guy none the less), Byron Wong (ex-cop who’s now a political appointee) to name just a few.  When all is said and done – I am who I am today because of the community of role models I had growing up.

So today, as I hang out in San Diego on Father’s Day –I’ll wear my Giants Jacket to honor my dad for being a real father.  I may rarely agree with him politically, but I will always be grateful that he let me steer my own course in life and provided so many opportunities , conviction, and above all else love that have helped me make my mark in this world.

I love you, Dad!!

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad and of course all the father figures who guide us through life.

Finding Voice: Thanks for the Reminder John Delloro.

Has it really been a year?

June 5, 2010 –the world lost a great leader, teacher, mentor, and family man.

On the one year anniversary of his death, I found myself reading John Delloro’s book, “American Prayer: Online Meditations on Asian America, Obama, and Self “ and reflecting on the strength, vulnerability, hope, anger, and possibility he shared in his writing.

One year later, I find myself inspired by his words, his passion, his commitment.  Lately I’ve faced my own struggles that challenged me in ways I was unprepared for. I find myself searching for something that I can’t seem to put my finger on –but I know that I need to identify it before I can move forward. As I continued reading, I finally realized what I was searching for –my voice.  There in the pages of his book, I realized that I could hear what John had to say, I felt what he believed, and I knew in my heart the future he envisioned for his children.  I realized how easy it was to feel powerless in the face of personal and political obstacles  –and I knew — no –I felt in my soul, that I have it in me to fight for what I believed in.

I wonder if this is what John felt like when he wrote, “I felt a rekindling of something warm inside me that I have forgotten.  This is more than a sentimental feeling, but a remembered epiphany” (pg 79).  I know he was talking about finding a political candidate he could believe in –but these words mean so much more.  For me, it’s a reminder that there are so many values that our communities share and that we must do the work it takes to make change happen.

John reminds us that, “central to organizing is the belief that everyday people have the power within themselves working together to create change and take control of their lives” (pg 171). So step one for me is committing to the process of change and ‘saying what I have to say.’  In the past 4 months, we’ve witnessed continuous attacks on immigrants, workers, and public servants.  My pledge is to not let myself get mired in petty politics and instead commit myself to the process of writing and communicating the type of truth to power that was at the core of all the work that John Delloro and his allies did.  Maya Angelou wrote, “I can be changed by what happened to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it. “  Now it’s time for me to clock in and work for change.

I hear you John. Thanks for the reminder. You are missed.

Works Cited:

Delloro, J. (2009). American Prayer: Online Meditations on Asian America, Obama, and Self. Burning Cane Press. Los Angeles, California