Show Me February Calendar

Izzo: A Father’s Day to remember forever

Five years ago today; my wife Courtney and I were at the hospital impatiently awaiting the arrival of our son, Jackson.

Printable February  Calendar Templates with Holidays
Printable February Calendar Templates with Holidays

There was a slight chance that he could be born on Father’s Day, which would have made for a heck of an entrance into the world.

Instead; he was born the following day and as it turns out, that was perfect. June 17th is Courtney and I’s wedding anniversary. That day will always have double the special celebration, which whenever we tell people that it’s always followed by “Wow, that’s really cool!”.

Printable February  Calendar Templates with Holidays
Printable February Calendar Templates with Holidays

So when this weekend rolls around it will always be special for me and my family. But 2024 may be tough to top.

For anyone that knows me or watches Hot Mic, my dad, the “real Dom Izzo” is my hero. My love of sports is tied directly to my dad. Despite me going the other way from him on cheering for his beloved Yankees (as many know I signed up for years of suffering cheering for the Mets); he took me to my first baseball game when I was eight.

Printable February  Calendar Templates with Holidays
Printable February Calendar Templates with Holidays

We went to our local racetrack in Oswego, New York every Saturday night from when I was eight till I was 18. It was our thing.

My dad was my biggest cheerleader when he found out I got a job in Fargo, North Dakota. He made the 28-hour trip from upstate New York in 2006 with me to help me move here (he wanted to jump out of the car to get away from me around Madison, Wisconsin).

When I transitioned from anchoring the sports every night for WDAY to hosting my daily show, there was one guest that I wanted to be a weekly regular.

My pops.

As it turned out; his weekly Friday NFL picks segment wasn’t just a chance for us to argue as we would if we were still seeing each other every day, it was a window for people to see how much we love one another.

That’s why what’s happened over the last 16 months is so special. In March of 2023, my dad called me as I was getting ready to broadcast from the North Dakota Girls AA state tournament at the SHAC.

“It’s bad news, buddy. They found cancer.” he told me.

My dad had been in constant back pain since October of 2022. My sister; Stephanie, who has been the rock of our family; took my dad to appointment after appointment to figure out why my Dad was in such pain.

Stubborn Italian that he is; he still traveled to Daytona, Florida in February of 2023 to watch the Daytona 500 with his closest friends. All the while, he had a tumor on his spine.

Turns out that the back pain originated in his lung. The cancer spread to his spine. Stage Four cancer they told him.

This would be my Dad’s second bout with this awful disease. Ten years ago, doctors found a spot in his throat. After a month of radiation and not being able to speak, they got it. Dad quit a lifetime of smoking cold turkey right then and there.

He’s always been tough. This was an ever bigger challenge. My sister and my cousin got my dad started on a treatment plan for the tumor, which started with radiation and then a cancer treatment that’s not chemotherapy, but it still kicks his butt every six weeks.

All the while, my Dad kept coming on my show. He told the whole world his diagnosis in May 2023. He came back on in October to tell people that the tumor was shrinking and that the treatment was working.

During that time; I would get emails from viewers telling me they “were thinking of my dad” or “he’s our favorite part of your show, we’re praying for him.”

I would pass these messages along to my dad, knowing it would mean the world to him and help his spirits.

In February came the most meaningful moment. Dad went to a spinal surgeon in New York City to fix his back. Basically the cancer had ate away at a piece of his spine.

This hospital and surgeon specialize in cancer surgeries. My dad was seeing the Aaron Judge of his profession.

In early February, he opened up his back and inserted titanium rods into my dad’s back, along with cement and eight screws. I got a phone call late that night that it was done and the surgery was a success.

Eight days after surgery, Dad was right back on the show. He told people what happened, we showed the X-rays of his back and the photo of his scar. He wanted people to know.

He also made a promise. He told me and the audience; “my goal is to be in Fargo in June for Jack’s birthday.”

I got a thank you card at the station about two weeks after Dad came on from a viewer I had never met.

The note said “I’ve figured I’ve gotten a hundred dollars worth of enjoyment of your show over the last four years, so I’d like you to use the enclosed money to help out your Pops.”

It was a check for 500 dollars. From a person I’ve never met.

I read my Dad this letter over the phone to him. I could hear the emotion in his voice. This was on top of what friend Duane Rindy and Jeff Kolpack did, raising money for Dad’s expenses with a T-shirt campaign last fall.

Dad kept checking things off. Physical therapy.Mowing his lawn. Playing with my three-year old niece.

He had a checkup late last month back in NYC to see how the healing was progressing. Everything was where it was supposed to be. Dad called his surgeon and he got approval to fly.

Thursday afternoon around 12:30 p.m., my Dad arrived at Hector International Airport. I’m not sure I ever gave him a harder hug in my life, despite him just having major back surgery.

Mission accomplished.

He will spend Father’s Day with my family this weekend and celebrate Jack’s birthday.

One year on the calendar, Father’s Day, my anniversary and Jack’s birthday will all fall on the same day.

I’m not sure it will ever match the emotion of this year.

Happy Father’s Day Dad.