By Ava Green, Assistant Features Editor
This week I wanted to shoutout The Griffin’s number one fan: my father, Chip. He started getting more invested in The Griffin in the fall of 2021. Funny enough, this is also when I started writing for them. What a coincidence! Since then, my Dad has been a loyal reader; he probably knows more about what’s going on at Canisius than I do, and I’m sure he loves seeing his daughter take on one of his passions. You see, my Dad is a poet. Well, maybe not famously or professionally, but he sure gives Walt Whitman a run for his money. (Please don’t tell my English professor that I said that.) Over winter break my parents showed me a whole box of poems and letters that my dad wrote to my mom, proving just how deeply my father loved and cared for my mom. He taught me what love should look like. This is just one of the many things that I have learned from my dad.
When I think of my dad, I think of encouragement. My dad is not shy about expressing his opinions; if he thinks you are doing something dumb, he is going to let you know. He will also let you know when he is happy for you and wants to support you as much as he can. With the encouragement comes helpfulness. He was my biggest cheerleader when it came to performing. He photographed my shows, took me to vocal training and has sat through multiple showings of some of the worst-quality community theater productions that the world has ever seen. He feels intense pride in others when he gets to see them succeed, which is also why he was an amazing coach growing up. He just believes in people. He sees the weakest link on the team and will go to the ends of the earth to help them, not only by making them a better player, but also by making them more confident. He has a way of making the most hidden people feel seen that I can not describe. He taught me how to believe in myself.
My poor father is the lone man in our otherwise all-female household. I cannot begin to imagine what constant stress he is under because of this fact, but he handles it flawlessly. This is because my dad is extremely understanding. He knows when girls need to be left alone and when we just need a plain old hug. He’s like this because he is also a great listener: he observes and listens and supports without even trying, it’s just who he is. Now, he may never get my age right when asked, but he remembers just about everything else. I could tell him about a test a month in advance and he will wish me luck on the day of. He somehow is able to tell me exactly what I need to hear when I am angry or upset about something. He is so good about this that it can be frustrating when I am in the mood to just be stubborn — a skill I also get from him. He has always told me to try to see where people are coming from in order to be more patient with them. He taught me how to be compassionate.
My dad is extremely strong. Not only does he help move my furniture during my monthly room rearrangement, but he is emotionally strong, too. He has guided me through the most difficult times in my life, which by extension are also hard times in his life. My dad has always put my mom, my sister and I first; I find it very noble, and I have always tried to be selfless like that. He never lets my sister and I see him in a weak way. He stayed strong so we were never scared. As I grew up, I realized how much adversity my father has faced without even breaking a sweat. My family appreciates his strength and courage of course, but I wish that I could have been able to be there for him as much as he has been there for me. He taught me how strong I am.
While I could go on about the enigma that is my father, the last thing I have to mention about him is his spirit. My dad struggled after my cousin passed away. It was the first time I have ever seen him be so vulnerable. He stayed strong for my family and channeled his emotion in his photography. He always talks about how he photographs to capture the spirit in a soccer player running or a musician playing. What I don’t think he realizes is that he is capturing his own spirit in every single photo he takes. The glory of scoring is nothing compared to the pride my dad feels in his photography. He taught me how to find beauty in all things.
My dad taught me other valuable things like: how to throw a football, drive a car, do donuts in the parking lot and so much more, but he says I talk too much so as a gift to him, I’ll wrap it up. My dad rocks. He has shown me and this whole world so much love for so long. He is more than deserving of being a part of this week’s newspaper because I would not be here — writing for you — if it wasn’t for my dad being there for me day by day.