So, my father has always been a huge high school sports fan.* About a decade ago, after an incident involving my father, the principal of my hometown high school, and my father's middle finger, my father ceased his allegiance to my school, and indeed he later worked to help defeat referendums that sought to raise additional tax revenue for it.
Then he started following sports for the consolidated school of the towns to the north and west. Now that he is retired, he goes to home and away games for both boys' and girls' teams. Anyway, all his loyal travelling and attendance has been this year rewarded, as my father was recently selected "Fan of the Year" by this school:
Apparently one of the things this school does at the halftimes of its basketball games is have this contest where you pay $1 and get to attempt a halfcourt shot, and after halftime is over half the pot is divided among whoever made theirs. My father has won this contest several times, although because his hands are arthritic he's had to get approval to be able to wear these special gloves that help him grip the ball:
During football games, the cheerleaders from this school do jumping jacks every time the team scores -- one jumping jack for each point of the total score at the time, so they do more jumping jacks as the game goes on. My father, to "help motivate the team," does the same thing from some place off the sidelines, only he does a sit-up per point instead of a jumping jack. My father is 72 years old. For a game in which the team scored over forty points, this amounted to over 150 sit-ups over the course of the evening. I could maybe do 150 sit-ups, over the course of a month.
My father believes he can affect the outcome of high school sporting events using the power of prayer. However, he only uses this power when a team that truly deserves to win would lose if not for his/His intervention. He has a story about a time when this school was losing as a result of poor refereeing but then won on a last-second desperation heave by an unlikely player who was falling out of bounds as he shot. I mean, it's a fine enough basketball story in itself, but when my father tells it, the last two minutes of his play-by-play are interspersed with his supplications to God to allow true hoops justice to prevail. However dubious I may be of the idea of a supreme being who meddles with high school sports, the spiritual asides do make the story much more intimate and compelling, and if anything I've come to be disappointed by his accounts of other games where it's only about the players and not also his calling God for aid.
* We will not here discuss on this happy blog the implications of my father being such a huge high school sports fan and having a son so devoid of athletic aptitude. To his great credit, knowing other families with dads who are really into sports, my lot could have been far worse.