If you have been deployed, missed birthdays, wedding anniversaries etc, you might get somthing in your eye like a peice of sand or somthing when you read the below article. To be gone and I mean Afghanistan gone not I missed your school recital gone you will recognize the feeling this dad had when he was in Afg, then got the chance to see his little girl try out for the Olympic team, arrive at the stadium just as they call her name and watch the worl stop as you watch your pride & joy excell. Ya, warriors have a heart, its just behind body armor.
Source: USA TODAY
SAN JOSE – For nearly two years, punctuated by a six-month stint serving in Afghanistan, Timothy Douglas had been the proud father from afar.
The Air Force staff sergeant would dial up YouTube videos of his daughter’s gymnastics routines and watch them with the disbelieving fellow members of his 203rd Red Horse civil engineering squadron during the lonely nights when they were trying to escape the Kandahar heat.
On Friday, he finally got the opportunity he had been waiting for, flying from Virginia to California with two friends, arriving at HP Pavilion in time to rush down to the railing and call his daughter’s name during warm-ups at the U.S. Olympic trials.
When Gabby Douglas saw her father, carrying a large U.S. flag on which he’d inscribed “Go Gabby Douglas, Love, Dad,” she flashed a large smile and met his eyes for a few long seconds.
“I’m like, ‘Who’s calling my name?’ And then I look up. It was my dad and his friend, and I haven’t seen him in a while,” Gabby said. “They were holding up the flag. And I almost felt like bawling. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, Dad!’ “
What happened later – Douglas, who lives and trains in West Des Moines, Iowa, fought through some tense early moments to finish the preliminary round in second place with a score of 61.400 – was nearly dwarfed by that reunion of father and daughter, both of them representing their country in their own way.
“There’s an exuberance. There’s a feeling that you can’t describe,” Timothy Douglas said of seeing his 16-year-old daughter in person for the first time since October 2010. “Sometimes, when she had a rough time, I’d tell her to hang in there. ‘You know what it takes to be a winner, you know what your goals are. You just keep on your goals.’ Some things that I tell her I have to remind myself. Those are all things we can all abide by.”
In addition to the flag, Douglas carried a laminated, fuzzy photo of his daughter that he snapped off of a TV set when he came across her performing in Tokyo, where the U.S. team won gold last fall.
“I just missed her so much,” he said. “It’s just so thrilling what’s going on.”
Gabby Douglas will be named to the U.S. Olympic team heading to London when competition concludes here Sunday. Timothy, 46, is still working on making his way overseas for the Games.
But this weekend, he’s happy to be cheering on his daughter in person, the way he did when she was a child in Virginia and he’d drive her to and from the gym, always being sure to pack a nutritious lunch complete with apples and carrots. Timothy Douglas and Gabby’s mother, Natalie Hawkins, are separated and in the process of a divorce. But Timothy said there’s no animosity and that they’re both taking pains to make sure their daughter can feel their support.
“We knew (gymnastics) was in her heart because one day she came home from the gym and she had a 102-degree temperature,” Timothy recalled of a moment when Gabby was about 7. “She went to bed, slept it off and woke up and got back in the gym the next day. That’s when we knew she had a winner’s attitude, a winner’s spirit.
“We knew she had that type of zeal. We knew she had that type of strength. We have a special young lady there, and I’m so proud of her.”
What Timothy Douglas and 12,200 other fans witnessed Friday was an unusually sloppy routine on the uneven bars for Gabby, who normally excels on that apparatus. But she followed up by keeping her footing through a sluggish beam routine, then excelling on the floor and vault, to finish three-tenths of a point behind leader Jordyn Wieber.
Gabby has spoken of how, after her move to Iowa, she would occasionally wake up with anxiety about her father serving in a war zone. She would scramble to the computer to try to reach him by e-mail or Skype. And, whenever he was able, he would offer reassurance.
“I told her, ‘Don’t worry about it. God’s going to bring me home. God’s going to take care of me,’ ” Timothy said. ” ‘And no matter what happens, you just keep going.’ “
She has done that, and will continue all the way to London.
“Before my floor and bar routine, I was like, ‘OK, you’ve got to get it together,’ ” Gabby said of feeling her father’s gaze upon her for the first time since making the national team.
“Seeing him made my night, actually.”