This year’s Father’s Day is a pretty big deal for me: 16 weeks ago, my incredible wife Chonel found out she was pregnant. Since then, we’ve been dreaming about our kid’s future. One of the things we’re most excited about is sharing our passions with the new addition. As I look forward, I fondly look back to what my dad passed on to me. So on this very special Father’s Day, let me tell you a bit about Phil Petti, the family Geek-In-Chief.

My house is littered with books, far too many for our bookshelves. A large portion of mine are of the sci-fi/fantasy variety, and this is entirely due to my dad and his large collection of 1960’s and 70’s sci-fi/fantasy.

Whenever I was looking for a new read, I’d scan the spines of his collection. Classic titles like Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Princess of Mars and Gordon R. Dickson’s The Dragon and the George had faded retro covers and smelled wonderfully musty. The pulpy stories full of action and adventure were fuel for my imagination and interest in comic books. When I started creative writing, my dad’s books influenced my ideas and the worlds I built.

Obviously, I plan on raising my kid on a health diet of alien planets and swashbuckling heroes; even now, I’m making a list of books and comics to introduce to them. Of course, I know I can count on my dad to offer up a well-loved book or two.

I’m also a big gamer, especially board and role playing games. Interacting in the real world, without screens, sharing an experience and a story is just so refreshing. This, too, is in large part because of ol’ Phil.

When my brothers and I were kids, my dad would pour over the rulebook to a new game so we could get playing faster. He introduced us to Dungeons and Dragons, acting as the Dungeon Master to our heroes, throwing challenges in our way. And yes, he did voices for the non-player characters.

Finally, any discussion of my dad’s gaming habits would be lacking without mentioning his totally awesome miniature gaming hobby. Some people might think mini-gaming is the geekiest thing ever, but they clearly have never played with Phil Petti. My memories of maneuvering a crew of cowboys to rob a mini bank, or strategically commanding a Prussian army to flank my brother’s French soldiers, are some of my favorite.

A miniature Wild West town ready for robbin’!

Whatever the game, my dad was there to guide us, as a genial barkeep or as a regular dad, in an excellent, fun-filled, low-tech few hours. I’m itching to fill this Game Master role for my child just like my dad did for me. I’m excited to teach them the many lessons my dad taught me by playing games: analytical skills, how to follow rules, and most importantly, how to win and lose gracefully.

This hardly scratches the surface of how great my dad is. He’s a big nerd, but he’s also a model husband, top-notch lawyer, and avid hiker.

On top of all this, he’s also one of the kindest, most relentlessly positive people I know. I’m really lucky to have such a great guy to look up to and learn from. Thanks for making me the person I am today, and if I’m half the dad you are, the Petti geek legacy will be in safe hands.

P.S. Mom, you’re pretty awesome too! I’ll write your article next year.