Ringer writer Jonathan Tjarks veers from his usual NBA beat to unpack his cancer diagnosis and the shadow it casts over his experience as a son and a father. Unblinking and plainspoken, he somehow manages to strip the emotion out of his writing — but not the emotional impact.

I was 12. That’s the age when your parents go from authority figures to actual people. That never happened for me and my dad. We never got to know each other. What did he like doing? What were his experiences growing up? What were his goals in life?

And there’s the simpler stuff too. How do you tie a tie? Or grill a burger? Or fix a car?

I had to figure it all out on my own. Now it looks like my son might have to do the same. It was the one thing that I never wanted for him.