While this may seem to many as your typical “father appreciation” post, I submit this now to remind everyone that great Black fathers are more common than some think. While all of us Black Nerds were birthed by strong moms, a lot of us had equally strong dads to help us become the people we are to this day. This piece is a tribute to my dad and the nerdy shit he passed on to me.
This will come as a shock to most pundits on Fox News, but I grew up in a nuclear Black family. My mother and father met and wed long before I was conceived, and all I’ve known is a household with two loving parents. Like all child-parent relationships we had our ups and down, but we always managed to find our commonalities. While personality-wise, I always had more in common with my mother, me and my father always had one major thing in common: video games. I will never forget Christmas 1990. I had gone above and beyond what was necessary to attain my most desired item that year: a Nintendo Entertainment System. I awoke to few presents under the tree, but one of the boxes was larger than the others and I had a hunch. When I tore the wrapping off the largest gift, I saw the NES box in all its glory. I’ll never forget looking back at my dad and his face said it all: “We made it!”
PF. Horace Grant
SF. Scottie Pippen
PG. John Paxson
SG. SG Number 23
Yes! Those were the days. During our SNES phase, even my mom and younger sister got into the mix. When we got Donkey Kong Country, I regularly would find my mom playing her own saved storyline in the game. He even rented Mortal Kombat 2 for me when I was home sick one day. I was his ace boon coon for sure.
The bond that my father and I shared over video games never ended. In spite of owning an SNES, we took my older cousin’s Sega Genesis because “fuck it, more games!” We eventually traded in both of those systems to get a better deal on a Playstation (by then Funcoland had come to town). When the “PS2 versus XBOX” debate began, I convinced my dad that we should go with XBOX, because we were tall and we wouldn’t have issues with the larger controller.
I had that XBox from 2005 until 2010 when I sold it, along with my TV at the time. I was at a point where I was too old to expect my dad to buy me a new console, especially since I lived over 600 miles away. My dad, however, kept gaming hope alive. In 2010, he graduated from XBOX to an XBOX 360. He maintained the same assortment of games that I had known him to enjoy most of my life: an NBA game, a TERRIBLE beat ‘em up game, and a football game (usually college football). The best Father’s Day gift I ever got him was a pre-ordered copy of NCAA Football 2012.
On April 20th, 2014, my dad passed away after a life long battle with sickle cell anemia. After he passed, I was the natural heir to his 360 and his XBox Live account — and after that mu’fucker crapped out on me because my old ass dad didn’t turn it off, I upgraded to an XBOX One. It was the first console I ever bought for myself, but one of many consoles that has found refuge in the Rucker home. I still use his XBOX Live account, and will as long as XBOX Live is a thing. I’m looking forward to the day when I can buy my first born their first console. I know my dad will look down on both of us and say, “We made it!”