My dad came to most of my games growing up. He would still be in the stands even when he knew I wouldn’t be playing. Sometimes I could hear him, but I could never understand what he was saying over all the other friends and family members in the crowd. However, what he said was not as important as where he was looking. When I looked up into the stands from the field, I always knew one thing for sure; he would be looking at me.

Sometimes, he even waved. I miss him.

In the film Avatar, the Na’vi race expresses their affection for each other not by saying, “I love you,” but by saying, “I see you.” Words are nice, but to be seen by those you love is truly what we all desire.

We can love someone and still be less than present at times. But to “see” someone requires us to be fully engaged and present. My dad saw me. No yelling was required. He didn’t need to encourage me to run fast or hit hard. He didn’t need to throw love bombs at me from the

stands to ensure my ego was okay from the bad pass I just threw or the tackle I missed.

When I messed up and my pity party was over, I would look up in the stands and make eye contact with my dad. He would smile and give me a thumbs up; that was all I needed from him.

PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Kids love presents, but what they NEED is your presence. 

James Leath


Your presence is requested as long as you remember that …