Things My Father Taught Me: Sean Sullivan

The guy named his blog The Impossible Cool. Need I say more?


“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
-Clarence Budington Kelland

The salty water swirls around my back. The sun beats down on my already burnt shoulders. I’ve been in this water for close to an hour, which for a 9 year old seems like an eternity. Especially one that, for now, is mildly scared of the backbay that snakes behind Avalon, NJ. I’ve already drunk enough of the briny wash to last a lifetime.

“One more try!” yells my Dad from behind the wheel of his Boston Whaler, the boat that currently has me tethered twelve feet behind it. “You can do it…just stay focused! I’ll start off slow. Wait and let the boat pop you out of the water.”

He gives me the thumbs up and eases the throttle forward. The boat launches ahead. A wave of water engulfs me as the engine screams. I can feel my tired shoulders being pulled up. I am a human cannonball being dragged behind this vessel.

“Just remember to keep knees tucked, knees tucked until it feels like the right time.” I tell myself.

Dad’s words repeat over and over in my head. Stay focused.

Something clicks. I stand up. The old skis plane out below me.

I’m out of the water in one piece…I did it. Dad lets out a heart-felt “YEAH!” and raises his arms in the air. Nothing else in the world matters to me at this second. I am a world champion water-skier.

We cruise around the bay for a while, a huge smile across my face. Dad looks back every once and a while to make sure I didn’t fall off and float out to sea.

We eventually get back to where we started and I drop the rope, gently gliding towards the back of the boat. Once I’m back on board, shivering, Dad tells me with a smirk…

“Next year I’ll teach you how to slalom.”

He stuck to his words. Along with eventually learning to slalom, my Dad would continue to teach me hidden lessons all throughout life. The words he told me that day always lingering behind each one.

“You can do it…Stay focused.”

It’s not until later in life that you begin to realize the gifts your parents give you in your youth. This one has always stuck with me, through ups and downs, no matter the situation.

So thanks Dad.
These knees are tucked…forging ahead…staying focused.

Happy Fathers Day.