Odin of Einherjar
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When I was a teenager, I'd play basketball for hours. I'd be out until 2am. I'm sure the neighbors hated me.

My dad was extremely competitive. A marine, golden gloves boxer, and worked out twice a day. He was very proud of us kids but always pushed us to be a little bit better. I had to warn my friends about my dad before they met him for the first time. "He's gonna challenge you to a push up contest." He did hundreds of pushups a day.

Sure enough, "this is my buddy Mike from my biology class."

"Hey Mike, nice to meet you man. HEY! How many push ups can you do, Mike?"

"Uh, heh I don't know, 5?"

"That's okay, let's go down and do 5. Then next time I see you, we'll see how many you can do!"

When Mike did 5 push ups, my dad would yell, "CMON, MAN 2 MORE! YOU CAN DO IT!" Mike would walk away with sore arms and shoulders but he busted out 12 push ups and laughed with my red faced dad who was doing push ups with him.

When friends would say "my dad can beat up your dad." The ones who met my dad would respond for me "uh, no. His dad would kill your dad, literally."

One day my dad came out to play basketball with me. He was built like an ox and would plow right past me, only to jump up and fadeaway a beautiful 3 pointer. Swish nothing but net. I loved playing with him. He made anything fun.

He was beating me by 40 or something rediculous. I said, "c'mon Tim, let me win one time!" He was my step dad in name but he raised me starting when I was only 5 years old. His name stuck. He's my dad, period.

The joking stopped and he tucked the ball under his shoulder. Out of breath and sweaty, he said "let you win?"

Still laughing I pleaded," yea man, you win everything. Just let me win one! What kind of dad are you?!" I joked.

"You're out here all the time. Keep practicing, you'll beat me one day. When you do, you'll know you earned it. You'll know the time and effort you put into getting better will be rewarded and you'll have pride. If I let you win, I rob you of pride. I rob you of learning how to overcome obstacles. I rob you of seeing how good you can be. That's what kind of dad I am. "

I never forgot that moment. I dwelled on that thought for a long time. Years. As a full grown man, it still resonates within me and finds new meaning as I walk through life. Never give up, never stop trying, always strive to be better.

My dad finally did get beat. June, 2018, he lost to cancer. He challenged the nurses who bathed him to push up competitions. He could only do 5. Then 3. Then 2. But he always did them.

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