Before today’s game, in an open area under the centerfield bleachers, four famous Bay Area sports figures – Dave Righetti, Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper and Brent Jones – sat on a stage for a panel discussion.
They’ve done panel discussions a million times.
But none was like this one.
On the stage with them were their daughters – Nicolette and Natalee Righetti, Tessa Krukow, Dannon Kuiper and Courtney Jones.
They had come to talk about the impact of fathers on their daughters, particularly in encouraging them to participate in sports. It was part of the Giants’ annual Team Up for Girls Day with Team Up for Youth and the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative.
Tessa Krukow grew up with four brothers in a family where the dinner conversation was all about sports. Which was no problem for her. She lettered in several sports in high school and was the captain of the water polo team.
“She had more tenacity than any of them,” Krukow said of Tessa and his boys. “She broke her wrist the first day she tried snowboarding. As soon a sthe cast came off, she was right back on the board. ”
Tessa, now an assistant buyer for Sports Basement, said one of her best memories about her father was a drive home from a bad loss in a water polo game. Her father knew nothing about water polo but never missed a game if he was in town. Tessa was so angry about the loss that she didn’t even change out of her bathing suit but simply threw on a coat over and stomped to the car. Her father said they were making a detour, and he drove to Pismo Beach, not far from their home in San Luis Obispo.
“You’re going to jump into that water and it’s going to change your life right now,” Krukow told his daughter.
Tessa laughed telling the story. “It was January. I was like ‘No way.’ If you’ve never been to Pismo Beach, it’s freezing. But I thought, ‘OK,’ and I ran down the beach and into the water and I just swam.” When she emerged, she had left her anger in the water.
Moderator Anne Cribbs, the former Olympic swimmer, asked each of the daughters if there was something their fathers always said that still rings in their ears. Tessa had a quick answer.
“I just want to start by saying my dad never told me to grab some pine.”
Dannon Kuiper said her father always told her, “Keep it on the highway.” She said, laughing “I never understood what that meant.”
The most poignant moments of the morning came from Righetti and his teenaged daughters. Nicolette is hearing impaired, and Natalee has mild cerebral palsy. Her left arm is disabled. Still, she played volleyball one-handed. And Nicolette danced.
“I’m so proud,” Righetti said as his daughters sat on either side, smiling up at him. “No father could be any prouder.”
Natalee Righetti and Courtney Jones
Mike and Tessa Krukow and Dannon and Duane Kuiper
Nicolette, Dave and Natalee Righetti
Courtney and Brent Jones