Finding value in small places and in the simple things

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Saturday morning, the football field at Vicksburg High School will be filled with about 250 anxious children waiting to listen and take football advice from a professional NFL player.

For many of the little boys there, they will be sharing the experience with their father, which is more important than the camp itself.

In 24 years of life, I don’t remember doing anything sports related with my dad. Other than my correcting his basketball knowledge on what player was on what team during an NBA finals series, there was no “father-son” time with him; sports wise.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Granted, I didn’t grow up with him and his actions as a parent are summed up in a famous 1970s Temptations song regarding a rolling stone.

I’ve been to a variety of live professional sporting events, just with my mother. I knew she didn’t want to go and also didn’t want her only son – and only boy in the house – to not enjoy himself as a kid.

I’ve attended two NBA games: in 1997 to watch the Spurs and in 2009 to watch an Atlanta Hawks vs Charlotte Bobcats atrocity for my high school’s senior trip.

I went to a taping of WWE’s Smackdown the last day of summer in 2002.

You can throw in every Alabama home game from 2012 until 2014, but none have been with my father.

Developing a bond through sports or any other common factor is something I always thought was a solid foundation between a father and son.

Whether it’s teaching him to drive a stick-shift car, discussing life problems while playing catch in the yard or teaching him how to reel in his first big catch, were just things I’ve never been allowed to enjoy.

Not to sound like adult with unresolved parenting issues, but it’s truly a breath of fresh air to see happy fathers and sons and the camp will be an excellent bonding opportunity.

As a guy in this awkward post-teenage phase called my “twenties,” I have learned that children don’t really need much to be happy.

Vicksburg continues to show me how much value can be found in small places. I know many boys will forever thank their fathers for the time Malcolm Butler came back to town and they shared an experience original to those two.

I applaud all the fathers who will be in attendance with their sons at Malcolm Butler’s inaugural football camp.

The coming memories from the camp are those that will shape and be engraved in their young memories for the rest of their lives.

It might be the coolest thing some boys will do with their fathers for a while; or ever.

Alexander Swatson is a reporter and can be reached by email at or by phone at 601-636-4545.