Congrats to my dad, James Poulos, who turned 80 today! #in

My dad, James Poulos (or Jim to most), turns 80 today.  He doesn’t look it, rarely acts it, and will tell you he doesn’t feel it.  I’m constantly amazed at my dad.  He didn’t have the easiest childhood, yet will never describe it in anything Y.A. Tittle Jersey other than glowing terms.  I don’t think he even knows how tough it was for him because there were so many who had it tougher.

While our family is not particularly wealthy, my dad is a very successful person in my mind, because my definition of success, is being able to say you did what you wanted to with your life, and did your best at it.  He personified that — never ever doing anything 1/2 way that I can recall.

That doesn’t just mean in business.  It means in sports, as a friend, as a community-minded person, and Y.A. Tittle Authentic Jersey as a husband and father.

My dad and my mom Grace, who incidentally just turned 80 herself last week, were tireless volunteers, despite having the task of raising up three kids, the eldest of whom was disabled from birth and has never walked.  I believe that this comes from their roots as second generation immigrants (all my grandparents were born somewhere in Europe).

My dad was very active in the Kinsmen, and in fact was the head of the Ontario district for some time.  His work at Kinsmen and elsewhere was recognized publicly when he was awarded with the “Outstanding Young Man of the Year” award in Etobicoke in 1969 or 1970.  I was just 9 or 10 but understood then what an honour it was.

In business my dad had basically two careers — one in property management and then for the last 15 or so years of his working life he ran Junior Achievement of Canada’s operations (C.O.O.).  This is what I mean about success.  Being able to do important work like this in the twilight of your career is what makes all the years of hard work worth it.  In between these Y.A. Tittle Womens Jersey two careers he and my mom owned a Y.A. Tittle Youth Jersey target=”_blank”>motel in Niagara Falls — a great place to live as a teenager.  This taught them that being in a business where your customers want you ’round the clock is not conducive to a family life.  The six or seven years spent at the motel, during which I likely made more beds than most of you will make in your life (cleaned toilets too), taught me that being in business is hard work.  I learned about treating customers right from my mom and dad, on the job, in the line of fire.  What a great training ground for an entrepreneur.

On a sitcom I happened to catch recently there was an awesome line, uttered by the stepdad of a kid whose “real” dad is a total loser…

“Most of the time, being a dad is just about showing up!”

My dad did that in spades.  I can remember in the mid to late 60’s… playing house league hockey for the pure fun of it, while my dad froze standing there watching us from outside the boards at our OUTDOOR arena.  I can vividly picture my dad with both hands in his pockets, rocking back and forth as if that would actually help to make him any warmer.  I’m sure it was 20 below!  I get tears in my eyes when I think back to those times, and the unconditional love that both my parents demonstrated in so many ways.

Thanks Dad, and Mom, for being such great parents!

I hope that you get your ultimate wish — the Leafs and the Argos winning their respective cups in the same year — someday real soon.

Love from your three kids, and their Y.A. Tittle Kids Jersey progeny…

You should be proud of yourselves!