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SMITH COLUMN: Influence of a father important

June 16, 2012


The influence of a father can be a very powerful thing.

Stop to consider Starkville athletes Gabe Myles and Tavaris Tate, who are featured with their fathers in today's sports section.

If it had not been for a man like Eddie Myles, his son Gabe might not have developed into the football player he has become for Starkville High School with the chance to play for Mississippi State.

Gabe stepped right into the hot seat of being a quarterback for a Class 5A school last year and led the Yellowjackets to the Class 5A State championship game. He has a chance to have another successful season this fall and plans to play for the Bulldogs after his prep career is complete.

It's a safe to assume that Eddie, who played for MSU from 1987-90, has probably spent a day or two tossing the football around the backyard with Gabe over the years.

Tavaris and his father Russell Tate have been around the track a few times.

Russell started Tavaris out on the track when he was around 5-years-old and he's still going strong. They have been together through the ups and downs of AAU track, competing on the national stage, winning state championships at Starkville High School and now three years completed at Mississippi State.

Tavaris, and yes his father, leave for Eugene, Ore., on Wednesday to compete in the Olympic Trials. Just to be 28 athletes selected to compete at the Trials is a big deal for Tavaris.

It's not only the love for track that Russell has instilled into Tavaris because their faith binds them together.

While visiting with Russell, it can be the feel of being in a church service and that's a good thing.

That means he has and continues to pour positive things into Tavaris. That's why he has become the humble athlete he is today.

Fathers should never take for granted the impact they make on their children and others in general.

My father Billy, who some of you may know, has lived and worked in Starkville for many years. He has made a huge difference in my life.
He has taught me how to work hard, respect others and keep the Lord a priority.

A love for sports and the ability to share that passion would certainly not be there for me if it had not been for my father. He cares about teams like Mississippi State, others in the Southeastern Conference, the Dallas Cowboys and the Boston Celtics. If there's any doubt, just catch a game on television with him sometime involving one of those teams. He will let you know what he thinks about the situation.

I appreciate my father for what he's done and continues to do for me and my family.

Happy Father's Day to my dad and all of the fathers in the area. The Starkville Daily News sports staff hopes something contained in these pages brightens your day.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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