I already knew my father was an incredible dad but seeing him as a grandfather has given me even more respect, adoration and love (which I didn’t think was possible).


My dad is one of a kind

I know the majority of us feel this way, and I believe that’s ok! God did uniquely pair us with our parents and in most cases, they are absolutely perfect for us.

I hate that I don’t have the best memory…. I don’t recall experiences in my youth as readily as most but there are some instances that stick out in my mind that are absolutely unforgettable.

My first hero

We grew up in Jamaica and we’d go to the beach almost every weekend. The ocean is a beautiful and scary thing. There is a peace about it that is extremely alluring but like we all know, and learn at a young age, the ocean can also become very ferocious! My sister and I learned to swim at a young age so we would always get in the water, my mom who never learned to swim (which still baffles me as an island girl) would sit worrying on the sand while getting the perfect tan of course! After Dad played with us in the water fairly close to the shore he would then go out for a swim sometimes so far I couldn’t see him. I remember being so worried about him while also beaming with pride that my father was the only daring soul brave enough to venture out into the abyss. To this day, even at his age (who said my dad was old?!?) when we visit Jamaica or any island and go out on a boat, he’s one of the only people that will jump into the ocean without a life vest. Even when advised by the crew he still embodies that much confidence…. my first hero!

My rock

My dad told me when I was 9 that I would be an Olympic champion. Yes, I wrote that right! Not 19, not 29…. NINE! He saw promise in me at a very young age and NEVER wavered. I truly believe that he believed it so much that he made me believe. But, my Dad didn’t just brag about his star daughter he put his money where his mouth was and did everything to make our dream a reality. I never missed a major championship, which was super expensive to fund for the entire family year after year. He came to all of my practices and moved to Texas when I decided to go pro. Throughout my career my dad played many roles. He was my manager, my chauffeur, my chef, my water boy, my shade (because Lord knows we had some hot training days in Texas and my father would literally stand in ways to perfectly block the sun when I was laid out after a really tough workout). He was my sports psychologist, my cheerleader, my videographer, my timer, my warm-up partner, my confidant and my confidence! There was no role too small or unheralded, he would do it all. There was literally no way I would have stood on any podium without him. He was the wind beneath my wings.

What’s Next?

Now that I have become a parent I can’t help but reflect on all the amazing things my dad has done for me. I mean I haven’t even scratched the surface but I’m eternally grateful for the role he’s played in my life. However, because I’m much older now I appreciate the role he plays in my son’s life even more. There aren’t a lot of things that brought pure joy to my Dad. He’s a simple man when it comes to his desires in life. Doesn’t need a flashy car, doesn’t need lots of jewelry, never needed a big fuss but there are a few things that make him very happy.

My Dad loves soccer. He was a PHENOMENAL soccer player when he was younger and might have had worldwide success and fame had his circumstances been different.

My Dad loved to see me compete. It gave him so much joy to see me run and win. He loved to see me fulfill my potential and we all joked that we weren’t sure what he’d do after I retired.

Well…. he fell madly in love with his grandkids.

I didn’t anticipate it, didn’t expect it but my dad has a bond with Deucey that brings me to tears and it doesn’t hurt that Deucey has a mega affinity to soccer balls. My Dad will come and see Deucey on his own, babysit when I’m swamped and request that he come over if one or two days have gone by. And this is no one-sided relationship. Deucey loves his Grandpa and demands so much of him. They go on long walks, they race and they have very deep conversations (or at least Deucey seems to think so!)


Dad, I love you from the very bottom of my heart and I’m so very grateful for the father you were and still are to me but on this Father’s Day, I want to say thank you for the grandfather you are to Deucey. He doesn’t know it now but one day I’m sure he’ll be penning you a simple letter thanking you for being his SUPER HERO!

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing fathers out there!

We love you!

Mommi Sanya