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Sweet and bittersweet on this Father's Day

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The other day, I was kind of upset with my father. It was a bad day and, well, he happened to push the wrong button.The nice thing about my father and I, though, is we're like most men. We can fight, help each other up and then have a beer. (What were we fighting about again?)I love my dad, and thankfully, on this Father's Day, I can tell him that. There are many, especially at my age, who cannot.For some reason, while considering that thought, my mind wandered to WSAZ broadcaster and Marshall play-by-play man Keith Morehouse. I wondered what this day is like for him.It's sweet in one way. He has son Lake, 22, a senior at Marshall, and daughter Alli, a 14-year-old sophomore at Huntington High. Morehouse and wife Debbie seem to be doing great.Yet Debbie's parents died in the 1970 Marshall plane crash. Ditto Morehouse's father, Gene, a beloved broadcaster in the state, first in Beckley, then as play-by-play man (and sports information director) for the Thundering Herd."I tend to focus my energies on Father's Day on my kids," Morehouse said. "Thankfully, they're healthy. Anybody who has lost a father, though, will tell you [that] you kind of separate some time [to grieve]." Morehouse said the up side on this day is the ability to enjoy it with his kids."Lake and I share a love of golf," said the broadcaster. "He hits the ball a long way. I'm glad he picked it up. I was thinking the other day it would have been nice to have my dad around to do some of the same things with him."Morehouse was 9 years old when his father, the MU football team, boosters and flight crew perished on that Nov. 14 day."I remember the good things," Morehouse said. "I remember him coming home from work. I remember going to the old Field House and playing basketball after games while waiting for him.
"I think you kind of have a hero worship for your father at that age. It was hard to lose him then, but I'm glad I got to see him at his prime."It was interesting that this past Friday, MU football coach Doc Holliday asked Morehouse to speak to his players at the end of a team run. It concluded at the crash memorial at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington. It's the same cemetery where both of Morehouse's parents are buried."I think Doc wants the players to understand that was real life," Morehouse said. "They've all probably seen the movie ["We Are Marshall"] and all, but I think he wants them to understand it was more than that."I just told [the players] what the football program has meant to our community. I told them it's a testament to people picking themselves up. It's easy to give up; it would have been easy to give in after the crash and not have a program.
"I want them to realize how close it was to ending. I think all of that resonates when they see [the memorial] in person."Hopefully, Morehouse enjoys this day with his family. Hopefully, he understands his father would have been proud. And for those of us fortunate enough to have our dads, well, we should celebrate - even if we have a tiff or two along the way."The one thing I miss," Morehouse said, "is the advice I'm sure he would have given me. But I hope he'd be proud."I always say I think he never got to finish the job. I work hard at it. I think he would have been proud of that."The work. The family. The smiles.Happy Father's Day to all.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, or follow him at  
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