(I am so late in re-posting this. It was originally posted exactly five years ago. I wanted to re-post it in enough time to make a difference to kids and their folks this year. Well, I failed miserably. The deadline for being a part of this has long passed. But the ultimate message is far from failure. Please continue reading this, keep all of this in mind until next year’s Father’s Day event. You moms and dads will not regret the knowledge and the heart. And – Jason will appreciate whatever happens. Of that, I am certain.)
FROM JUNE 15, 2010
buy cytotec without a prescriptionIt was Father’s Day weekend. I told my son, Matt, we would do it. But frankly, all I wanted to do was what my own Dad always did on Father’s Day – try on his new underwear, sit in his easy chair and sleep through the US Open Golf Championship while the little woman and offspring waited on him hand and foot. This was my vision of the perfect Father’s Day.
But I did it. I committed to two days of pretty intense stuff. Physical stuff. And. As it turns out. Some pretty intense emotional stuff, too.
Other than fatherhood itself, I guess this was the most significant commitment I had ever made to the life of my son. For a while before we did it, self-doubt was my constant companion. Could I keep up physically? Would I embarrass my child? Stuff like that.
I never knew Jason Clark. Not really. This Sunday is Father’s Day. Next week’s Lunar will honor my own Dad. This weeks’ will honor young Jason. And a man who made fatherhood so very real to me. And special. In 1995.
Eric is the man’s name. He knew Jason. Very well. Because of both of those guys, I know my own son. Very well. Much more than I should have ever expected.
Jason and Eric were friends. For a while. Jason is very well known. Thanks to his buddy, Eric. Eric is a friend to many. He’s just one of those good guys, you know? He coaches youth basketball in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He’s a friendly, encouraging and reassuring coach to his young son and teammates. He and his young family attend a local church, and he always nods and says hello to the friends and strangers he meets at after-church lunch. He even took the time one evening at a gas pump in Chapel Hill to adjust my own teen son’s necktie before a very important school function. My son was an apparent stranger to him at the time. But he adjusted the tie anyway. It’s no wonder, then, why it is so easy to understand the relationship this man took up with young Jason.
buy cytotec without prescriptionEric didn’t have to do what he did. But he did. It began in 1993. Eric met Jason at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Eric was a pretty busy college student back then. With many demands on his time. But he found time to visit Jason. Many times. On a regular basis. Jason had cancer. The earthly friendship with Eric lasted but nine months. I’ve met Eric. Those nine months were surely the best final months young Jason could have ever hoped for.
buy cytotec oralThe loss of Jason was pretty hard on Eric. But Jason made a difference to him. A huge one. When Eric graduated college, he could have chosen a more flashy lifestyle of success and money and fame. Being a successful college basketball player on a National Championship team followed by a strong run in the NBA may have made a lesser person than Eric Montross simply revel in his own success. But Eric chose to make a difference as well.
He chose to honor the short life of Jason. He committed himself to raise endless sums of cash for the hospital that cared for Jason in his final months.
And. He brought my son and me too close to each other to ever really separate. Ever.
Eric Montross, in 1995, began the “Eric Montross Basketball Camp.” A two day event. An annual experience. Held on Father’s Day weekend. On the campus of Eric’s alma mater. The University of North Carolina.
My son and I were there at the very first camp. I went. Like I said I would. We were there with Derek Phelps, George Lynch, and others from the 1993 NCAA Championship UNC team.
It was a small group of Dad’s and sons and former champions. We stayed in an on-campus dorm. All of us. We sat on the floor with North Carolina basketball icons, eating pizza and watching Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA playoffs on television that first year. Frankly, I was too much in awe to notice my son in awe. But I’m sure he was. Just as much as was I.buy non prescription drugs generic cytotec
My worries of my own performance melted away as easily as would a scoop of ice cream on the hot steps of the Dean Smith Center on a June Sunday. Ease of fatherhood was exactly what this weekend was all about. And it worked. To perfection.
My son and I did basketball drills together. We played dad and son games together. We watched film together. We listened to Eric and to his own dad. We heard encouragement from Eric and from Derek and from George and the others. My son’s first night’s sleep on a college campus was with his dad. We slept together. We ate together. We ran and played hoops together. We became exhausted together. And it all felt so right. So damned good.
My son and I laughed at each other’s mistakes. We cheered each other’s successes. We high-fived each other all weekend. I very easily noticed how much these basketball stars liked my son. My son noticed how at ease I was talking and laughing with those stars.
My vision of the perfect Father’s Day changed for me that weekend. What we got from Eric and Jason energized us for days. For weeks. For years. For a lifetime, really. What those two guys gave my son and me is – well – there are no words for all of that. There are many things that bind me with my son. Few are more important to me than that Father’s Day weekend in 1995. My guess is that my son agrees.
buy online cytotec 200 mcgAll the income from that camp goes to the hospital where Jason shared his friendship with Eric. And this year’s camp is full. Intimacy at this event is important to Eric. But if you have a young child, next year’s camp should be something to consider. And the year after. And the year after that. My son has already invited me to join him and his two toddler sons in a few years. I’m not sure Eric ever envisioned three generations in the same camp.
buy cytotecBut what a better way to honor the life that started it all. Young Jason’s. Maybe I know Jason better than I think. Soon my grandchildren will know him. And my vision of the perfect Father’s Day will change again.
Here’s a link to Eric’s camp.