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Father's Day letters of love from Long Island high school athletes

Maddie Germano and her father, Charles Germano, know suffering. Shortly after Maddie lost her mom, Charles' wife, Maddie had to undergo brain surgery. Both have reemerged as survivors, with Maddie winning two tennis titles thanks to the help of her father. To honor him this Father's Day, she wrote him a letter.  (Credit: Newsday / Yeong-Ung Yang)

To: Charles Germano

From: Maddie Germano, Islip tennis

“Dear Dad,

I wanted to take this opportunity to express to you how incredibly appreciative I am of everything you’ve done for me in my life. I think we both know that no part of the last three years has been easy for either of us. Each day, we continue to push through, and some days it’s even harder than others. But the most comforting detail through all of this is, undoubtedly, the fact that we have each other. During my sophomore year, I lost my mom, and coincidingly, you lost your wife. This was the hardest thing either of us had and probably will ever go through. Overall, I didn’t feel like myself, but you made each day bearable. I knew you were suffering, too, but you would put that aside to cheer Cameron and I up as much as possible. As time passed, my intense headaches, which had gotten dismissed by most doctors as my body’s reaction to stress from the loss of my mother, got progressively worse. No one really believed that something truly was wrong with me; as I told more people about my unbearable headaches, more people just assumed my sadness and stress was affecting me physically, as well. You were the one person that trusted me. When I told you there was something not right, something that Advil couldn’t fix, you believed me. My MRI results showed that I needed to have brain surgery, and once again, our family was thrown through a loop. Most dads would have never been able to handle such an unfortunate situation like you did. From Mom’s passing to my own health issues, never once did you act selfishly, or complain about anything you had to do. You were sleeping away from home in a hospital chair more than your own bed. Another important part of all of this was you helping me get back on my feet in terms of playing tennis post-surgery. When Mom got sick, we all of course took a step back from our normal activities to focus on what mattered most. Then when I had surgery, I was physically unable to play tennis. However, from the moment I was cleared, you were back on the court with me, helping me make a comeback to the sport I love. Without your help both on and off the court, I never would’ve been able to make All-State in tennis this year. I truly can’t put into words how much I appreciate all that you’ve done for me, but I hope you know that I will always cherish the support you’ve given me throughout my life. Love, Maddie.”

To: Erick Asenjo

From: Mia Asenjo, Valley Stream South soccer

"Dear Dad,

I just want to say that I appreciate everything you do for me. Many people have asked me who my inspiration is, and every time my answer is, 'My father.' You’re my inspiration because day in and day out, you are constantly pushing me to be the best version of myself. Every day, you remind me to make the best of every situation and excel at everything I do. You’re hard-working, creative, funny, loving and so much more. Thank you for driving me to practices and games. Thank you for motivating me to wake up in the morning and go to the gym to make me a better soccer player. Thank you for making me feel special. Thank you for providing for me and my siblings. Thank you for believing in me. You teach me things no other person can teach me. You made me the person I am today and I thank you for that. You always support me and encourage me to try something new, even if it’s difficult. You mean the world to me and I don’t know what I would do without you. Thanks for being my dad, my partner in crime and my best friend. Happy Father’s Day. I love you. Your daughter, Mia. ”

To: Ken Conrade

From: Stephanie Conrade, Kellenberg softball

“Dear Dad,

Happy Father's Day! Every Father’s Day, I tell you how thankful I am to have you as my dad, but this year it has been different. I have spent time reflecting on what it really means to appreciate you, as well as the special relationship we have. You have taught me so much about life over the past 17 years. I think the two most important things you have taught me is that life isn’t always fair, and to work hard for everything I want to achieve. These two life lessons were proven to be true through a game we both love: softball. The love for the game has united us in a unique way and has made our relationship stronger. I am so thankful to have had you as my coach for three years because, ironically enough, you were on the field when I learned the most from you. The things you had been teaching me all my life without actually saying them, were proven to be true on the field. You push all of your players to work hard to be the best they can be, just as they should strive to be the best people they can be. You are not only a father to me, but you are also a father-like figure to every player you have coached by always being an “open door” and always having the player’s best interest. I am forever grateful for our unique relationship, and all you have taught me on and off the field. I love you!  Love always, Stephanie.”

To Bob McIntyre

From: Liam McIntyre, Westhampton football/wrestling

"Dear Dad, 

Father’s Day is a chance to tell you how much I love you and how much I appreciate all you've done for me. You've been my biggest role model, biggest supporter and best coach since I was very young. You played football and wrestled in college and continued to coach both sports when your career was finished. You are the reason that I got involved in football and wrestling. You always made sure Gavin and I had the tools to succeed. You built a wrestling room in our basement when we were young, and you always made it a priority to get us to our practices and games. Without so much exposure when I was a young athlete, I never would have fallen in love with sports. You drove us anywhere on Long Island to get a practice in and to help us improve. At the same time, you never pressured us to do more than we wanted to, and that is what was always so great about you. A lot of kids get burnt out of a sport because their parents try and push them to do too much. You managed to find the perfect formula to motivate us and to be a dad. Whether it was coaching PAL as a Seahawk, or cheering me on in the Westhampton bleachers, or showing me a wrestling move on the living room floor, you've always been there for me and I am so thankful for you. I love you dad, Happy Father’s Day, Liam."

To: Tom Migliozzi

From: Diana Migliozzi, Connetquot volleyball

“Dear Dad,

How do you describe a person who means everything to you? For as long as I can remember, there never has been a time that I could not count on you. I can trust you for good advice when life gets complex. I can always count on you to lift me up when I’m down and get me to respond the right way. Knowing that you are in the stands watching, analyzing and cheering for me is a feeling of security that is more powerful than you will ever know. Many athletes dread the drive home after the game, but I look forward for that conversation. One of the best things that I love about you is that you always know how to make me laugh. Thank you for everything you do for me. I am lucky to have a dad who would sacrifice everything for the well-being of his daughters. I hope Nicole and I tell you and show you how appreciative we are every day. However, if we do not, I want to take this Father’s Day as an opportunity to tell you how much we love you. You are a friend to so many, a coach to so many, a brother and a husband. For me, you are Dad, my rock and my person. I LOVE YOU. Love, Diana”

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