The Harbinger Online

Senior Bonds With Father Over TV

My dad loves baseball. His life, at one point, revolved around it. When I was in elementary school, we would play catch in the backyard almost every night, even in the fall until we froze. Now, I know what you are thinking. Looking at me now, I wouldn’t strike you as a softball stud. This was also a time where puberty left me with my diminutive 5’2’’ stature. So there was no way basketball could come into the picture either. High school came around and my dad came to watch me at games. Except this time, I was cheerleading, not playing. Athletics weren’t exactly my forte anymore. I was never really a stud when it came to sports once my elementary school-prime was over.

When I realized Varsity athletics wouldn’t be my way into college, I didn’t want to disappoint my dad. I thought the moment I stopped sports meant the moment we would stop bonding. It’s not that he was a mean, pushy kind of guy-nothing like that. He just loved sports. And the fact that I was the first girl born into the Hess family in 106 years didn’t help my case.

Without softball, I wondered how I, a teenage girl, was going to find common ground with my dad, a 40-something attorney. Little did I know, communities stranded on islands with polar bears and zombies attacking all of the human race would become our commonalities on a weekly basis.

***

My father grew up in Hawaii and lived there until he was in high school. It’s where he learned how to surf, to play sports, to talk. He knows the history and the myths of the islands.

So, in 2004, when he heard that there was going to be a new show called “Lost” that would be filmed in Oahu, he was immediately reeled in. Together we watched the premiere of this show and became obsessed.

The randomness of the show and the thrill appealed to both of us, regardless of our generation gap. As we sat on our couch watching the survivors of flight 815, our new way of bonding began.

Throughout the show, there would be panoramic views of Oahu’s beauty. Whenever one of those panoramic shots was on the TV, he would immediately pause the show and say a random fact that he knew about whatever was on the such as “that is Mokulē’ia Beach, near the northwest tip of the island.”

He would follow up with an anecdote about how he surfed there once, or how his two older brothers forgot and left him there after a day at the beach.

[media-credit name=”James Simmons | Harbinger Online” align=”alignright” width=”264″][/media-credit]Now, most kids wouldn’t be thrilled to listen to their parents talk about their childhood experiences, but for some reason, I love it. My dad’s stories are fascinating to me. It makes me feel closer to him, like I was there on the island with him.

Some may say my interest is just a product of Midwest syndrome, where I am just astonished by the life of anyone outside of our neighboring states. But I think there’s more to it than that.

As “Lost” ran its six-year course, I became lost as well. I needed a new show, one that I could continue to use as a bonding mechanism. So the fall after “Lost” ended, we found our new show: the CBS remake of “Hawaii 5-0.”

In 2010, “Hawaii 5-0” premiered as a remake of the 1968 series. Both tell the story of Steve and Danny fighting crime for the greater good of Hawaii. Not only was it a riveting show, but it allowed us to keep our tradition running.

With this show, he could tell me more about his upbringing in Hawaii as well as stories about watching the old version of the with his pops. It made me feel like I was there watching Steve McGarrett, portrayed by the original Jack Lord, with the my dad instead of Alex O’Loughlin.

After eight years of rigorous TV watching schedules, we added two more to the list — “Last Resort” and “The Walking Dead.” Although “Walking Dead” has absolutely nothing to do with Hawaii, considering it is about a zombie apocalypse, we still love to spend our Sunday nights religiously watching zombies eat peoples’ limbs right and left. Quality daddy-daughter time, right?

Maybe we just have similar taste. Maybe we’re just reaching to find a way to relate. Or maybe it’s one of the only ways dads and daughters can bond. Despite the fact that I was the first girl to be born into the Hess family in 106 years, I am and will always be a daddy’s girl.

But let’s just say I’m pretty happy my brother Ryan was born. He took over my long time spot as MVP in the back yard. And without that, I wouldn’t be spending my weeknights watching an array of TV shows with my dad. The only bad part is, I lost my shot at being in the WNBA.

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