100: More Than a Friend

100: More Than a Friend

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Golf and Sport

More Than a Friend

You are my sonshine.

~Author Unknown

Louisville, Kentucky, is a place where basketball is an important part of life, and taking my son to an NBA exhibition game is very special. Little did I realize how special the evening was going to be! It was a biting winter cold that was blowing some mean wind, as Josh held my hand as we crossed the Kentucky Fairgrounds parking lot headed for famous Freedom Hall. Being eight years old, he still felt it was okay to hold his father’s hand, and I felt grateful, knowing that these kind of moments would pass all too soon.

The arena holds nineteen-thousand-plus fans, and it definitely looked like a sellout as the masses gathered. We had been to many a University of Louisville basketball game and even a few University of Kentucky games in this hallowed hall, but the anticipation of seeing Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls against the Washington Bullets (with ex-University of Louisville star Felton Spencer) made our pace across the massive parking lot seem like a quick one, with lots of speculation about how the game was going to go.

The turnstile clicked and Josh hung on to his souvenir ticket stub like he had just won the lottery! Climbing the ramps to the upper elevation seemed more an adventure than a chore, as we got to the upper-level seats of the “true” fans. Before we knew it, the game was underway and the battle had begun. During a time out, we dashed for the mandatory hot dog and Coke and trotted back so that we wouldn’t miss a single layup or jump shot. Things were going as expected until halftime. I started to talk to some friends nearby when there was a tug on my sleeve, my arm was pulled over by a determined young Josh Frager, and he began putting a multicolored, woven yarn bracelet around my wrist. It fit really well, and he was really focused intently as he carefully made a double square knot to keep it secure (those Scouting skills really are handy). Being a Scoutmaster with a lot of teenage Scouts, I recognized the significance of the moment, and wanting him to be impressed with my insightful skills, I looked him squarely in the eyes, smiled the good smile, and told him proudly how I knew this was a “friendship bracelet” and said, “I guess this means we are friends.”

Without missing a beat, his big brown eyes looked me straight in the face, and he exclaimed, “We’re more than friends... You’re my dad!”

I don’t even remember the rest of the game.

~Stanley R. Frager
Chicken Soup for the Father’s Soul

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