“William, what is going on with your school?”
If I knew the answer to that question, which my father asked me last week, I would not be just another broke college student. Alas I don’t, and I am thus stuck to look forward to this weekend. When myself and literally my old man-the 1953 FAMU graduate turns 75 in February-will talk about life, football, and my school.
The vast amount of problems my school’s administration has had this week makes this weekend the perfect time to have hundreds of parents-including my own-make the trek to Tallahassee for Parents’ Weekend.
Usually seeing so many parents on campus is a reminder for me to call home and interrupt my parents’ regularly scheduled lives.
But this year, things aren’t going according to plan, as my dad, stepmother and brother will make the five-hour trip from Sarasota to visit me and my school.
Serving as my father’s personal FAMU informant, I have found myself having conversations that extended far beyond the clumsiness of my school’s athletic and academic administrations.
If there is one positive that can be taken from my school’s incessant problems the past few years, it is that they have broadened the relationship between my obstinate father and myself. Without the chaos in the athletic department the past two summers and the uncertainty of my school’s presidency this week conversations between my dad and myself would consist of:
“How are you doing? Is there anything new going on in town? All right I’ll talk to you next week. Bye.”
As my curt conversation shows my relationship with my father was never the best growing up, the past years have brought the two of us closer than ever.
Our conversations are starting to drift further and further from the father-son conversations of my youth and more to the man-to-man conversations that we have had the past few months. These past months have helped me find a long overdue respect for my dad.
In between conversations on my lack of respect for women, the classroom and the law, my father and I will do something this weekend that was unfathomable as late as last year: have a long conversation on Rattler football from the stands.
Saturday will mark the first time in 10 years a once proud Rattler will watch a football game of his alma-mater with his two youngest sons. To some, such an odyssey through life between a father and son is not that big of a deal. But to this Rattler, it is yet another reason to love my school and Saturday nights under the lights of Bragg Memorial Stadium.
Will Brown is a junior broadcast journalism student from Rockledge. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.