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Kill!

Those are words my dad, Big Jim Frisella, taught me when my brother and I were little. They pretty much sum up his approach to parenting. And life. One of my earliest memories is of my dad giving Sal and me each a pair of boxing gloves and making us box. We were three and four years old!

As we got older, we played all sorts of sports. Football, baseball, wrestling, Lacrosse, hockey — you name it. And my dad didn’t want us to participate in sporting events. He wanted us to dominate them.

As we were driving to a football game or wrestling match or whatever, my dad would say, “Now, boys, listen up! When you get in there you’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to go in the corner and you’ve got to get that fucking puck out!” He’d always say “puck.” Even if we weren’t playing hockey. “Dad,” we’d say. “This is soccer.” “I don’t care what it is!” he’d say. “You just go in there and get it!” “What are you going to do today?” he’d ask, as serious as if he was commanding troops in battle. “Kill!” we’d yell in our squeaky, pre-pubescent voices, sounding like a couple of murderous thugs from a boy choir. …

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