Stories from the Pit: On Having a Cool Dad

More than just the lyrics themselves, my love for music and concerts holds a special significance. It’s a crucial piece of me – how I define myself in a lot of respects. It plays a large role in my life and is something that brings me a lot of happiness.

My taste in music comes from my dad. There’s no denying that and he’ll never let me forget it. I wouldn’t have even heard of half of my favorite bands if it weren’t for him.

He introduced me to my first “pop punk” band when I was barely in middle school – Good Charlotte. I have an oddly vivid memory of an assignment we had in my fifth grade class. We had to draw our favorite thing, or it might’ve even been our favorite CD, and I used our fancy new color printer to scan the album cover of “The Young and the Hopeless,” cut it out and tape it on the page. That’s how I remember I’ve liked these bands since I was basically 11.

I still remember the handmade band poster I made of Good Charlotte by printing out photos of each member, photos of them together and writing their song titles and lyrics in Sharpie all around it. It’s still in my closet at home. It’s also the reason I know how to spell Charlotte.

Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy, all my dad’s doing. I think I get credit for showing him Panic! at the Disco and My Chemical Romance, but that’s about it. We found The Wonder Years together when they opened for Yellowcard back in 2012. But he bought their CDs and played them in his car until I got addicted so apparently he gets to claim rights.

Going to shows together is our thing. I can’t remember what the first one was – the live music addiction came a little later into my music exposure. (My first concert was Hilary Duff in the fourth grade with my mom.) I definitely remember going to see Green Day with my dad early on. We had seats in the wayyy far back of an amphitheater, I smelled weed for the first time (thinking it was the smell of pyrotechnics) and I remember wondering what it would be like to be up close in the pit. I remember thinking it was impossible to get into the pit, that the tickets must be hundreds of dollars, but little did I know that those GA tickets were actually cheaper.

And ever since then we’ve been buying tickets, getting cheap hotels, driving miles to go to shows, getting pushed, punched, sweated on. He’s taken weekends off, I’ve missed events – this weekend I’m missing my sorority’s date party to go to a show. As I write this now, my dad is on his was from Brooklyn to my school in Pennsylvania so we can drive down to Philly tonight (and the rest of this weekend for The Wonder Years’ 10 Year Anniversary shows). It’s what we do.

We’ve seen Yellowcard, Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Everclear, The Offspring, The Wonder Years a ridiculous amount of times and more. It’s something that unites us, creates awesome memories and I couldn’t imagine having a cooler dad.

When people see him in the crowd with me, they assume he’s my caretaker (doesn’t help that I still look like I belong in middle school) and that he’s just there to supervise me. Sometimes I just want to say “no, he likes the band too,” when we get glares for standing in front of people. But then he’s by my side in the pit with me screaming the lyrics out and nothing else matters.

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