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Some thoughts from a long time #GirlDad.

POSTED February 26, 2020
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

On Monday, February 25, 2020, a memorial was held for NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

I had written this story for the next edition of the LCS Magazine but wanted to share it now.

-It was a fairly normal Sunday afternoon in our area on Sunday, January 26, 2020 when the news came out about the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles.

Normal went by the wayside as it was reported that a total of nine people had perished when something when horribly wrong on a flight that Bryant routinely took to save himself from the brunt of LA traffic.

One of those other eight, Bryant’s 13-year old daughter Gianna added a layer of disbelieve to an already surreal situation.

The thought of a daughter passing with her father made this something that hit home with so many, even leading to the creation of a hash tag #girldad which has spread around the world.

What was it about this tragedy that was different than so many others?

Was it the combination of an international basketball icon and his daughter, someone who seemed destined to do great things, both on and off the court where her father made his fortune and influenced so many?

The #girldad tag and this man’s love for hanging around with his daughters is what made it hit home for me.

Old thoughts of fathers wanting to have sons to carry on the family name and to play sports with are falling by the wayside and for good reasons.

Our kids are our kids. Girl or boy, no matter. Each has a unique set of gifts that can change the world in their own ways.

In the Gaffney family, this generation, we are girl-centric, to put it mildly.

Five daughters and two granddaughters.

Heck, if somebody has a boy, I’d be no help. All I knew about boys was that I wanted them to stay away from my girls!

In 61-years of making my way around this day to day life, nothing gives me more joy at this point in life than to take in everything about my girls.

Their fire, their determination, their meltdowns (we all have them), their ability to push on and the pure pride and joy I feel when I am lucky enough to be around them.

It’s a gift, every time and I’ll never take it for granted, none of us should because as we saw in a blink of an eye that day in January, it can all go away far to fast.

Maybe that’s what made it hit so many people so hard.

A father and daughter, doing something that in days past was reserved for dads and their boys, sports.

From the outpouring that has rained in from so many facets of woman’s sports, it was evident that Bryant was a huge influence of so many start athletes from the college and pro game.

You could see it when WNBA and UConn legends like Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi spoke of what Kobe meant to them or when Breanna Stewart spoke of how he was one of the first to reach out to her when she tore her Achilles.

For me, it was an opportunity to continue to do what I try and do every day. Don’t pass up an opportunity to tell somebody you care about that you love them.

At the end of the day, what else is there?



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