From the mouths of dads, some different perspectives

sports@losbanosenterprise.comJune 13, 2013 

>As a new father, wanting to be a good one has been on my mind a lot.

What exactly makes a good father? I don't know, but I hear my old man's voice come out of my mouth more and more, so I guess that means … something.

Who am I kidding? I'm flying in the dark here. So I asked a few of the people I came in contact with this week about their fathers — those that are with us and those that aren't — and about being fathers themselves.

On fathers

Mike Lemos, Los Banos High baseball coach, on his father, Frank Lemos, Dos Palos High football and wrestling coach, who stepped down in the spring — He instilled in me to be a competitor no matter what you do, and he's a very good father. Very supportive, hard-working — he's a good guy.

I remember being 5 years old, getting out of school, and having to go to football practice, and being there until six at night. They used to call us the football orphans, because all the coaches' kids were there, and now Gannon and Garrett (Lemos' own children, ages 6 and 4) are doing it with me. It's pretty neat to see the cycle. But to have him as a coach, you learn hard work and discipline and the time you put in as a coach. I think that's the reason I'm a coach.

Darrell Mello, coach of the Los Banos Tigers Trap Team, on his father, who died in 2008 — My dad was born in Los Banos in 1922, and lived here all his life. He was born right on Pioneer Road, and lived a mile away from where he was born.

His nickname was Haybaler Joe, because he baled hay for a living after he and my grandfather shut down the dairy. So he ended up baling hay, which is what I continued on doing.

My dad was involved in Lions Club. And when they first built the hospital, he was on the lay board for the hospital, and we were there at the groundbreaking when Gov. Edward G. Brown came in for the groundbreaking. Where the hospital sits today, I remember I was a little bitty fart, and I've still got the chrome shovel that my dad had chromed for that deal, and I have it at home. So he was very involved in the community.

He was also well-known for cooking his Portagee beans. He would cook them for AFS (American Field Service). Lions Club would have fundraisers, and he would do the Portagee beans, so a lot of people liked his recipe — because everybody has their recipe. It was real good. So every once in a while, I'll cook a batch, but I don't do it like he did.

Ernie Lugo, coach of the Los Banos Little League Majors runner-up Red Sox — He was a hard-working man. He gave me some good advice — just stay out of trouble. Stay away from drugs.

DJ Mello, 16, on Darrell Mello — He's pretty cool. He can be not cool, but he's all right.

I liked how he got me into this (trap shooting), and when I didn't want to do it, he made me do it. We went out to the ranch, and he put more cover on my shoulder so it wouldn't hurt so much, and I hit three out of five, so I was pretty happy about that. We covered it up and then I got used to it after awhile.

Drew Guintini, coach of the Los Banos Tiger Sharks swim team, on his father, Los Banos fire chief Chet Guintini — He's always been really hard working, and very dedicated to his job and his family. He always taught if you're going to do something, do it right. Always put your best effort at it. He's always been very upfront. I've learned a lot from him, about taking on the leadership roles with the swim team, and in my real job.

I just always try to emulate his hard work and his dedication to his craft. He was always very good at the firefighting thing, but he also takes the same pride in woodworking and things like that. I learned lessons from him doing that stuff — he takes pride in doing it the right way, and I'm the same. I don't want to put my name on it if it's not done right.

On being a father

Darrell Mello — The things you say, "Oh, man, I would never do that to my kid," or, "I'll never say that, I'll never act that way." And you know what? It happens. You do the same things, and you say, man, I remember when my dad used to say that and I thought he was full of beans, you know? Yeah, he don't know what he's talking about. Everybody's going to go through that at some point.

Ernie Lugo — I told them the same things he told me. And I give thanks to God that they followed it. I've got four kids, nine grandkids and three great-grandkids — and there's another on the way.

Drew Guintini, on his 5-month-old son — Being so young at it, it's mostly just being there and being supportive for the family and making sure my son will have the same things I was able to enjoy because my father worked hard. That's the biggest thing I've learned.

I'm already finding myself thinking, "Man, I sound just like him." It's just little things. It's only going to get worse. I'm sure there's a lot of things that, if he's anything like I was when I was younger, it's going to happen a lot more.

Mike Lemos — Gannon's 6 years old, and I'm as nervous as I ever was when I played. Wanting him to do well, and always talking to him about practice and hard work, and making sure he gets stuff done, and I do, I catch myself thinking, I'm Frank. But it's a good thing. He instilled that into me.

There's a few times when Gannon didn't want to go to practice, and I came out and said, "You don't go to practice, you don't play in the game. It's not fair to everybody else that puts time in" — and I stopped myself and went, that's Frank. Same thing he tells me.

Sometimes I think he's too patient (as a grandfather). He was never that patient with me. He's real giving, real supportive and loving. Again, he was the disciplinarian in our family, but as Grandpa, he's the one that spoils them. It makes me happy to see him act like that with his grandkids, because he was hard on me. But it makes me the guy I am. I'm glad he was.

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at

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