Considering Father’s Day is right around the corner it’s hard not to think about Pops.
As adults we look back on our childhood with two outlooks.
I understand I’m blessed to be able to say I look back on mine with nothing but fondness.
I know I talk about him a lot, but my Dad is the most influential man in my life. We had a very healthy progression of father/son into friendship.
Now, he is still very much my father. He still takes care of me when I need it, always offers advice when I seek it, and even at 32 years old I still have a deep desire to make him proud of me.
However, now I get to count him as my best friend.
I’ve learned so much from this man that I’ll never be able to recall all of the lessons nor be able to share them all with you.
It has been fourteen years since I left my hometown. I’ve been back on numerous occasions for holidays and other events.
One of my favorite things about going home is being stopped by former players, classmates, or friends and hearing a story or two on how Dad has impacted their life.
Without any exaggeration at all…it has happened every time I’ve been home since I left in 2003.
Here is dad with two of his golfers. Dad is now coaching the Varsity team for Vassar High School.
He will forever be my most influential mentor. So hearing that he invests in other people like they are his own children is very heartwarming to me.
The reason I love golf so much is because the venue for some of the best memories of my life with my dad were authored on the golf course.
We had a tradition growing up…
Every Sunday evening around 6pm we would go play 9 holes at Vassar Golf & Country Club. We would typically meet Uncle Russ on #10 and play the back nine.
Dad taught me about manhood during those nine holes on those Michigan evenings. You see, on the golf course I was treated by those men like one of them. They gave me margin to get frustrated, work through it, and then learn from it.
I was encouraged, I was pushed, I was loved, I was accepted.
Now, I have a couple little guys of my own. Carter & I have started playing golf. It’s funny how memories become so real to you in the moment. When I take Carter to the golf course now I can literally feel the Michigan warm air, smell the grass, and still see the golf course I grew up on.
This past fall I had the incredible moment of playing golf with Dad and Carter on the very course I grew up playing. I caught this special moment while they were walking down #8.
My dad is not only a great father but he is also an invested and #present grand-father.
This picture of him with Jack at Thanksgiving is so precious.
Dad, I know you are reading this. I also know that your default is deflect credit.
You weren’t always successful by the standard you live your life by and for that I’m so thankful. You taught me how to fail.
Nicole & I are so incredibly blessed to have you in our life. I can also say the same for my many foreign and domestic siblings.
You’ve impacted many lives. The incredible trait I hope I inherited from you is your ability to make everyone you are speaking to feel like they’re the most important person in the world at that moment.
Also, thank you for not taking life too seriously.
You’ve always lifted me up when I’ve been down. So I want to return the favor. I’m so glad the paper was able to capture the last time you made a putt over 10ft (2015)!
I close with this…
Matthew Koch (Dad),
I love you. You are so much to so many people; husband, son, brother, advisor, coach, friend, and much more. To me though you are Dad. Only Nicole, Amy, Jake, Stay, Henner, Veri, Maja, Izzy, Jona, and Alena can claim that.
You constantly tell me how proud of me you are and I hope somewhere deep down you know it is a reflection of the environment I was blessed to be brought up in.
Now, it’s my turn. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of the man you are. I’m proud to be your son. I’m proud to know that you are one call/text away if I need something, even if that something is just to simply hear your voice and say hello.
Even though we won’t be together this Father’s Day, know that my thoughts are with you, back on that tee box in Vassar. You are my constant inspiration. Your failures and successes make up the DNA of that inspiration. I’m thankful for all of it.
Happy Father’s Day Dad.
In His Grip,