I wanted to title this column “Mamba Out” and have a tribute to one of the greatest basketball players to every lace up basketball shoes; but I’m not a sports writer. I’ll admit I tried once to write about sports, it was a farewell column about Michael Jordan called, “Be like Mike”, and it was about his drive to succeed, his willpower to be the best, and how even in his last season as a Wizard, he averaged a respectable amount of points; he was one of a kind. But, he wasn’t was he? Kobe Bryant died this past week and will go down as one of the most feared competitors in NBA history, many accolades, a world mourning his death, (not a perfect human with a rape accusation that was never tried); but this column isn’t about Kobe, it’s about his daughter and all of our daughters.
Kobe was asked about due to having all daughters, who would carry on his legacy? The answer was GiGi, his 13 year old basketball loving child that was just one of the apples in his eyes. The University of Connecticut, (UCONN), probably the best woman’s basketball college in existence was where she wanted to play, (they honored her with a jersey on an empty chair). GiGi was a prodigy some would say, but after watching many videos of her practice sessions with her father and some game highlights, I would say she was simply an owner of that Mamba Mentality that her father created, never quit, never back down, and always strive to be better. Sadly, GiGi was with her father when the helicopter went down, a life cut short; yes the famous father Kobe Bryant, but to me the life of GiGi.
I’m a girl dad. Many of you who read my column know this. I cried when I heard the news of the crash, but I cried even harder knowing there were daughters on that helicopter, (teammates and other parents and coaches). A friend recently said, “if you raise them right they leave you”, this is true. Our children leave to start their own lives but they also know that the door is open at any time to come in, eat my food, and sit on the couch and tell me about their days. Bethany, my youngest, is a full time employee and in college. She’s got her parent’s work ethic and may skip class from time to time, (I won’t get into how many times I did), but work; she doesn’t skip. I couldn’t ask for a more caring child that will come over, eat my food, and pick my brain as she’s pursuing a psychology degree like her dad. Briana, my Jr., my mini me, (a term she truly dislikes), has the same emotional output as me. She cares deeply for others, has a great work ethic and is destined to be a “boss” as she has my trait of not liking employees who doesn’t pull their weight; and she makes me laugh the hardest. Hannah, my oldest, my writer and teacher, (she subs and I hope that some school will pick her up permanently as a paraprofessional), she’s the one with the most sass; mostly giving it to me, but still has that edge. Just today as I was dropping her off for work she mentioned that she has a cold, nothing too bad though, and reiterated one of my sayings, “if you can breathe , you can go to work”; I am proud of the work ethic but I may have pushed too hard. I write about my girls, my young adult women, because I am a “girl dad” the phrase coined for Kobe. I’m not like Kobe in any other respect but I pray for his family that lost a father and a sister. Lastly, a downside of divorce is that you lose touch with former in-laws and outlaws; a shout out for Jack, a man who took me under his wing and taught me some “man stuff”, I’ll miss his laugh and I truly loved him. Mamba Out. firstname.lastname@example.org