Thanks YouTube – I Can Now See My Rad Dad in Action

Jack Hooper Golfing

My Dad, Jack, has long been my hero. Growing up I knew my dad as the best golfer in the world, at least to me. He had won something like 17 county championships and 20 course championships (don’t quote me on those numbers). But he really was amazing and his all time best is a 66 on 18 holes, a record he held for over 30 years at our country club. There is no doubt that he could have gone pro, but he chose family over his dream and gave everything he had, working as a newspaper layout man, to raise his brood of five. Today at 75 he still is close to a scratch golfer and spends most of his free time in the summer golfing.

As a little girl he and I spent countless hours together on the course or in our backyard hitting plastic balls. When I was awarded MVP of my girls golf team, my acceptance speech was dedicated to my father and all those years and hours of patiently teaching me his craft, it is one of the only times I ever saw him cry. He was so proud of me and it felt so good.  The golf course with my Dad was and still is my favorite place on earth. The smell of fresh cut grass, earth, and pine trees is still fresh in my memory and now that I have kids it kills me to be so far away from him. I want my boys to know him, to golf with their Grandpa, and to remember him the way I do.

Recently my husband, who is a civil engineer, was working on a railroad project, and he met a man, who randomly just happened to know about the little small town I grew up in. He was a relative of a friend of my father’s growing up. He reminded my husband of another sport my dad was also a hero at.  You see long before my dad was my golf hero, he was also quite the Ski Jumper. My little home town, Iron Mountain, MI has the Largest Ski Jump, Pine Mountain Ski Jump, in the United States and as a child my dad learned how to jump off of that monster and he quickly became pretty good. He was even released temporarily from the Airforce to compete for Olympic trials until a back injury sidelined him, ironically his injury occurred in the Pacific Northwest, where I now live.  That is when he really got serious about his golf game.

Pine Mountain Ski Jump

ski-jump

I had heard all kinds of stories about his jumping growing up and had seen pictures, but to my knowledge no video existed.  A year or so back someone dug up some old footage.

Jack Hooper Ski Jumping

Apparently my dad had been filmed as child as part of a short that was played in theaters across the country during intermission time at the movies. Even he didn’t remember that this video existed, yet someone had uploaded the video to YouTube and shared it with our family. For me this was amazing because I could finally see my father, my hero,  at 11 years old learning to jump off of a ski jump and I now have it to share with my boys who are no doubt going to be little daredevils just like their Grandpa Jack.

Check him out at 3:34 and 4:49.

He is one Rad Dad and I will always be his biggest fan!

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