I’d like to first take a moment to thank all the family and friends…and left-handed people for coming today to honor my Dad, Stephen Liadis.
What can you say about my Dad? There are so many things really. Let’s start with what you would call him because that defines him as much as anything. To a select few of us he is Dad, or Hubby, or Papou or Father-in-Law. To others he was “Steffer” or coach, or Mr. Liadis. For a very brief period of time I hear he was even called Suzy. But to all of us he was “friend”.
What I’ve heard mentioned most in the past few days is his smile. I was always a little jealous that he had such a great smile in pictures. Meanwhile when I try to smile for pictures it comes across more like I just farted or something. But it was easy for him because smiling was just his natural state. I realize this now.
We played so many games of 1-on-1 basketball together, spent so many hours playing catch in the road in front of the house or in the backyard, traveled to so many baseball card conventions and visited so many baseball card shops. Current days he sat beside me at church, sat (or stood) beside me at the kids’ soccer matches, and sat beside me at family dinners. We even coached a U8 soccer team together a few years ago. We spend so much time together, yet it doesn’t feel like enough. I want more.
Ok, I promise I’ll be done soon. I just wanted to tell a few of my favorite Dad stories. I promise these are all true.
One time he was coaching Christa’s youth basketball team. He wore his running shoes and I guess they had too much traction and they wound up causing him to severely dislocate his ankle. It was so bad that the doctor’s had to pass around a “manual” to determine how to fix it. But what sticks out to me was when we saw him after surgery and he was still woozy and he had this huge smile on his face and he said “my eyebrows feel heavy”.
We took the 3 hour drive to Pittsburgh together the three times in the 90s the Pirates made the playoffs. Yes there was a time when the Pirates made the playoffs. I remember on the way home him blasting the radio, AC, and rolling down the windows to stay awake. I had to stay awake to “watch for deer”.
My Dad was a very faithful Christian but still my Dad. He used to whisper various “inventions” to us at times. His big one was flavored communion wafers. BBQ and Cool Ranch were to of his best ones. I think this could’ve caught on. His other invention was “edible Velcro” to keep those top most fruits in the fruit cups that the church sold at Houtzdale days.
As I said earlier we used to drive on Saturdays to the Comic Swap which is located in downtown State College. One time we went during a home football game. He had on his Mo Valley baseball cap he got from coaching. It was yellow/gold with a big “M” on the front. Some guy, probably drunk, got on his case for being a Michigan fan. I’m pretty sure Dad just laughed, which was his most used defense mechanism.
He jogged most of my life. In Summers he would go out jogging and I’d ride my bike along with him. Back then his go-to running gear were plain gray t-shirts. He didn’t want some big fancy logo on there and give Nike or somebody free advertising.
Say a little prayer, or give your business to Rapid Transit, the local shoe shop where he got his shoes. He got a lot of shoes there. But he wore every one of them.
One final one. We had a bat in the house one time. Mom wasn’t home (this is a KEY detail in the story). We didn’t know what to do. And so in July, with no central air in the house, my Dad and I put on our winter coats and gloves, him a hat, me an old football helmet, and went to battle armed with a tennis racket and nerf football. No bats were harmed (at least not fatally) in the making of this memory.
In conclusion thank you all for being here for all of us. If I could ask one more thing of you it would be to continue to tell stories about my Dad. Even now when it hurts to tell the story and even later when it hurts slightly less. Keep his memory alive. And this one is for me, don’t forget to smile.
Rolling Stone just published an excellent long-form conversation between Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney about music, song writing, and just life. This one is well worth anybody’s time to read.
Taylor Swift arrived early to Paul McCartney’s London office in October, “mask on, brimming with excitement.” “I mostly work from home these days,” she writes about that day, “and today feels like a rare school field trip that you actually want to go on.”
Our first game of the Fall season, and the first game for many of these kids in nearly a full calendar year, wound up a great success. Parents watching the game all seemed to keep at an appropriate social distance from each other and the kids played hard and had fun. And there were no injuries.
The game itself wound up in a tie, which I think is the best possible result. After all the way this season works is that we have 26 kids and we split them in different teams of 13 kids each week and them just play a game. A blowout game wouldn’t be fun for everybody. The icing on the cake was that my son scored a nice scorcher of a goal in the first half and generally moved the ball well.
For me it just felt nice to be out there with the kids, and doing my part to put them in places where they’ll have fun and be successful. The photo above is my attempt on paper for the first half to get kids as near equal playing time as possible. I think that went well too.
All in all it was a nice Saturday on the cusp of Autumn in Pennsylvania.
What with the global pandemic and all, things have changed everywhere in life, including youth sports. People are still a bit wary about things and so when we received sign-ups for our local soccer club our numbers were down a bit from years past. And there were just so many questions. So we decided to forego our usual travel soccer programs (travelling to other counties in Pennsylvania) and just do things in house as a club. Which means we needed more coaches.
So I’m coaching our U13 co-ed team. This was our first week, and it’s gone pretty good so far. It’s nice that a number of the kids in the program are ones I coached at the U8 level. They’ve all grown so much. And luckily they are right at the edge of still being young enough to be entertained by my corny jokes and general weirdness.
Our first game is tomorrow. Each week we are splitting up the 26 kids we have into 2 teams and then having them play against each other. No it won’t be like playing against kids from other towns, but hopefully it will still be fun and more importantly keep them progressing with their skills. And it gets me out in the nice Autumn air.
I came across this article a few years back and had to share. Just how exactly does one convey danger of something to an audience thousands or millions of years into the future? From the article, “Sandia National Laboratories charged a panel of outside experts with the task to design a 10,000-year marking system for the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) site, and estimate the efficacy of the system against various types of intrusion. The goal of the marking system is to deter inadvertent human interference with the site.”
This is part of what they came up with, also from the article:
This place is a message…and part of a system of messages…pay attention to it!
Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.
This place is not a place of honor…no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here…nothing valued is here.
What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.
The danger is in a particular location…it increases toward a center…the center of danger is here…of a particular size and shape, and below us.
The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.
The danger is to the body, and it can kill.
The form of the danger is an emanation of energy.
The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.
Go ahead and read the article. I find it fascinating, even if I doubt intelligent life on this planet can survive even thousands of more years with us humans running around, mucking things up.