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Dotson Lewis' Blog

     As long as there have been sports, there have been men playing sports — and passing on their knowledge and love for the game to the next generation.


     The Norman Rockwell-like image of a father teaching his son how to grip a bat or toss a spiral extends all the way to the professional leagues, where plenty of players can look back on a father’s influence in helping them develop as athletes.


Payton, Archie & Eli Manning


     But just because someone’s father reached the top of his sport doesn’t mean that the son is guaranteed the same success. Many sons of famous athletes have to deal with the extra expectations that come with their fathers being sports legends.
     Throughout history, though, a few sons have to risen to the same prominence as their fathers, etching their own name in sports without upstaging the cachet that their fathers’ names still hold. 
     Here are those who made my list of the best father-son duos in sports history. 
Mario & Michael Andretti; Bob, Bret & Aaron Boon; Gus & Buddy Bell; Felipe & Moises Alou; Clay Jr. & Clay III Mathews; Kellan & Kellan Jr. Winslow; Kyle Sr. & Kyle Jr. Rote; Al & Little Al Unser;  Rick & Brent Berry; Ken Sr. & Ken Jr. Norton; Calvin & Grant Hill; Ken Sr. & Ken Jr. Griffey; Archie, Payton & Eli Manning; Bobby & Bobby Bonds; Gordie & Mark Howe; Ned & Dale Jarrett; Dick & Pete Weber; Lee & Richard Petty; Bobby & Brett Hull; Andy & Josh Pettitte. 
If you have more please Email their names to Dotson (dlewis1@stx.rr.com)  or call the Benchwarmers, ESPN Corpus Christi,  KEYS AM, 1440 weekdays 4- 6 pm at 361-560-5397. 
What about Father-Daughters In Sports?
     Dotson’s Note: A number of years ago when my daughter was in high school I hoped that she would participate in sports, unfortunately, the only sport then open to try-outs was track and field.  Our daughter decided to participate in the 440 yard run.  This was the longest running event back then for girls (after all, girls’ basketball during that era only allowed players to stay on one half of the court depending on if they were offense or defense). To prepare her for running track, we would do road work together very early every morning.  We had always had a great relationship and this activity together was great!



Annie-Dotson’s Daughter


     Daughter’s Note:  I usually proofread my dad’s articles for grammatical and writing errors before he sends them off to the Benchwarmers.  But after reading the above note, I am compelled to correct the content of his article this time, as well.  First off, in my heart we have always been very close.  And yes, sports, or at least physical activities are probably what we most often shared.  Here is a short list of just some of the things that Dotson taught or shared with me:  first, he taught me how to swim before I could walk.  He began teaching me to hold my breath naturally at 6 weeks, as he would allow me to gently go below the surface of the water.  Back then (1950’s) this was probably unheard of, although in the past few decades, many other parents also have their kids water-confident before they can walk. He also taught me swimming strokes, how to dive, and how to ride a bike.  When he was teaching a golf class, I was the guinea pig learning how to hold the club, same thing when he taught tennis or trampoline.


     Do you know what it is like to have a dad who participates and/or coaches and/or officiates every possible sport on earth?  I do; and I’ve always said I believe that I had attended or witnessed more sporting events by the time I was 18 than anyone else in the world.  I literally grew up beneath the bleachers of baseball and softball fields while Dad played and Mom cheered him on.  Don’t all kids hang out with other kids and play under the bleachers until all hours of the night?  Anytime Dad either played/coached or officiated a sport, I was there.  When he ran the USAEUR (United States Army Europe)sports in the 1960’s, I was at every event when I wasn’t in school.  I would sit through as many as 10 basketball games in a row, learning to keep score before I was in junior high.  I would attend boxing tournaments that went until midnight or later.  I would be at badminton or volleyball tournaments that had multiple courts all going at the same time under one large facility’s roof. And I also was the ball girl at some of the longest, sweatiest tennis tournaments ever played. 


     Maybe I never became the great professional athlete my dad dreamed I’d be, but I have had more exposure and therefore respect for the game, officials and players than just about anyone on earth.  And because I was raised on sports, I became the perfect wife for a sports enthusiast.  After all, when you first meet your future in-laws and go to a restaurant where Tex Schramm nods his head and says, “Dotson” as you pass by and that future father in law acknowledges with a nod, “Tex,” you know you can’t go wrong.  I never realized that radios played music; I thought they only broadcast sports.  I also thought it was normal for a TV to always be tuned in to a sporting event. See why my husband thinks he is in heaven?


     So thanks, Dad, I learned everything from you, became a better wife because of you, and share a bond with you that may have begun with sports, but ended with total admiration and respect.


Want to strengthen your father-daughter bond?


     A recent study suggests that when Father-Daughter take up a sport together, relationships between them significantly once they engaged in a shared activity.

     Published in the Journal of Human Communication and released this week, the study out of Baylor University in Texas found that the most commonly cited event that served as a turning point for the 43 fathers and 43 daughters questioned was participating in a sport together.



     The participants were not related to one another. Women were a minimum of 22 years old, and fathers between 45 and 70.

     Female respondents who participated in a sport with their father said they learned to compete, take risks and stand up for themselves, and enjoyed having their father all to themselves.

     When asked to pinpoint the moment their relationship entered a turning point, women also mentioned working and vacationing together, marriage, and physical distance.

     Among fathers, participating in a sport was likewise the most frequently cited activity they identified as marking the turning point in relationships with their daughters.

     For some, throwing around a ball or coaching their daughter’s softball team established a unique bond with their daughter that couldn’t be shared with the mother or other sibling, while other dads added that the shared activity helped open up the lines of communications.

     Other activities identified that helped bring them closer to their daughters included church functions, household projects and teaching them how to drive, while events included marriage and the moment their daughter started dating.

     Meanwhile, a 2011 study published in the journal Development and Psychopathology found that girls who receive ‘lower quality fathering’ tend to engage in more risky sexual behavior during their adolescence, while the opposite was true of girls who were brought up by engaged, supportive dads.


Dotson’s questions: Fathers of daughters, are you working at being a complete father?