-Matt Hendrickson Reporting.

Before I start this, I have to admit that I got the inspiration for this posting from Jimmy Kimmel’s blog posting at Grantland.com. Seriously, if you haven’t checked it out, you need to. They’re writing like I wish I could.

This year, I didn’t do anything for my dad for Father’s Day.

I have to make a confession. Mike Henriksen and I are not father and son. Yes, we have similar last names and yes, we’re both broadcasters. But my dad’s name is Steve. And while he’s got the voice to be a very fine broadcaster, he has been a truck driver for well over 40 years.

By the way, Dad’s not dead… he’s not even sick. In fact, I talked to him for 15 minutes tonight while he was driving out of New Orleans with a combine headed for Mississippi. The precursory “Happy Father’s Day” wish, setting up arrangements for my brother’s upcoming wedding, and talking about his home area of Door County, Wisconsin.

I guess if I had to compare my dad to anyone, I’d compare him to John Wayne. Both have that slow way of talking. Both are pretty easy-going and not very quick to lose their tempers. And while The Duke and my dad don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves, you always had a pretty good idea of knowing where you stood with them and how they felt about you.

Being a truck driver, my dad had a tendency to miss out on a lot of things…. birthdays, holidays, ballgames, etc. But that’s the nature of the job. When you’re on the road for 2-3 weeks at a time sometimes things get pushed to the wayside. I know Dad didn’t like being gone so much, but I also remember when he was home, he made it a point to get to our football games, wrestling matches, and much more. I also remember basketball games in the driveway and football games in the front lawn. Dad wasn’t going to be mistaken for Joe Montana, but to an eight-year old kid, Pops sure had a cannon!

While some people might look down on Pops and criticize him for not being there a lot, I learned a hell of a lot from him. For starters, he wasn’t one of these “helicopter parents”. Mom wasn’t a helicopter parent either; both were busy making sure we had food on the table and clothes on our backs. And while they supported me and my brothers in whatever activities we were in, they also didn’t gush all over us or be a “soccer mom” or a “little league dad”. Basically, he was there if we got into real trouble, but for the most part they let us make our own mistakes and learn from them.

Dad also instilled in us a pretty solid work ethic. Actually, both he and Mom did a pretty good job of that. I remember that while they provided the basics for us growing up, it was up to us boys to work and make our own money if we wanted to bum with our friends, go to prom, go on band trips, stuff like that. I can still remember the time that he and mom sat me down and told me they weren’t able to send me to college. They said if I wanted to go, I’d have to be the one to work for it, borrow the money, etc. I had to work my butt off every summer and it made me appreciate my education more. And for that, I’m grateful.

Dad also taught us that we boys should never start a fight…. but if worse came to worse, we should always finish one. Although I try to avoid conflict whenever I can. But I get P-O’ed enough, I’ll definitely say something.

He taught us was the importance of family. Maybe it’s regret because he wasn’t always there for our activities. I can remember him telling us boys not to go into trucking if we planned on having families. And that made a lot of sense. In fact, he strives for that balance of good pay on the road and being back to spend time with us boys (and now his granddaughter). But no matter where he’s at or what he’s doing, he’ll always take a few minutes out of his day to talk to us… unless his cell phone goes through the washing machine. (Sorry, Dad!)

But the most important thing my dad taught me was that it’s not what you SAY that matters, but what you DO. While I can probably count on one hand the number of times my dad told me “I love you” the last few years, I’ve never had to worry about whether he does or not.

So…I want to take this time from writing about sports to wish a happy belated Father’s Day to my Dad, Steve Hendrickson. Thanks, Pops… for everything. And I owe you a steak dinner next time you’re home.