King, Jackson, Howard, Rose, Webber…these names conjure up lessons and memories for the sports fan—lessons in greatness and defeat. The names collectlively were "The Fab Five," which was the nickname for the 1991 University of Michigan men's basketball team. They were and still are considered by most to be "the greatest class ever recruited." The team reached two championship games in the early nineties while freshmen and sophomores, which was unheard of before they did it.
Perhaps bigger than the team playing in championships, they brought the intimidation factor to college sports in a way not previously seen. They were known as a team who changed the style of basketball. They wore their shorts longer than everyone else and wore black shoes with black socks.
I must confess as a 12- or 13-year-old playing public school basketball, our all-caucasian team in the mountains of Tennessee intentionally stole the Fab Five's style. Yes, our game suits may have been purple and white and said “Eagles” instead the blue and gold of the “Wolverines”; but you couldn’t tell us we weren’t cool enough to wear our shorts below our knees, with black Nike shoes and black socks purchased by our moms.
This is the magic of March Madness: whether you're a sports fanatic, proudly wearing your team colors and never missing a game, or prefer to spend your time doing other things, there's memories wrapped up in these college basketball games. If you don’t enjoy the games, perhaps your child will. The games can be a great time to connect with your kids and family.
As a dad, you're the coach of your own team and your "players" are looking to you for the strategies and techniques that will help them win in the game. This month, as TVs, computers and mobile devices across the nation tune to the NCAA college basketball tournament, we're getting in on "March Madness" too by bringing you March Dadness!
Tips for Coach Dad
As you're filling out your bracket and gearing up for the tournament, use our bracket of tips and strategies to build your game plan for fathering.
During the month of March, our Dad Email will follow the March Madness tournament schedule:
- Sweet Sixteen: 16 Words Your Kid Should Hear from You
- Elite Eight: 8 Activities Your Kid Should Experience with You
- Final Four: 4 Character Traits Your Kid Should Get from You
- The Championship: The Legacy You Pass to Your Kid
Tools for Coach Dad
Dad Email and The Father Factor Blog: Stay tuned to The Father Factor Blog for stories related to the college basketball season, from stories and memories to tips, tools and advice related to our kids and family.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine: We'll be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine with our opinions and pics about March Madness. Whether you’re watching the game alone with a bucket of wings or with your child teaching her how to shoot free-throws, be sure to connect with us using #MarchDadness as the hashtag.
Speaking of bracketology, you can join National Fatherhood Initiative’s Fantasy League by signing up today (Group Password: Fatherhood).
Visit our Fatherhood March Dadness Page for more information.
Let the 'Dadness' begin!
Question: Which team do you think will win it all this year?
Aside from all the great stories that come out of the Super Bowl from each team, let's talk the important stuff — the commercials! Since my teams are rarely in the big game, the commercials are my favorite part of the night. That said, if you follow me on twitter you know I found the Tide/Joe Montana commercial
about "no stain being sacred" to be my favorite of the night.
While I'm certain my "fatherhood radar" is working at peak levels considering my working at NFI; I'm finding it more and more interesting how a brand not only spends it's money to be funny and memorable, but how much a brand perpetuates stereotypes of fatherhood in the process.
Here are four examples of commercials from the Super Bowl that are funny and/or thought-provoking, but most of them simply leave us wanting more from brands and fatherhood.
The Protective Dad | Got Milk?
This commercial was probably one of the stronger showings of fatherhood I witnessed with the Superdome lights going out! Depicting a dad who will do anything and that nothing is more important than his girls' milk for breakfast. Nice work!
The Fashionista Dad | Doritos
Right before this dad's about to say "no" to his daughter about having tea time because he's going out to play football with his friends, he realizes she has Doritos. He's all in. Cute and funny, but still conveys the stereotype that a dad only cares about himself and is the unresponsible parent. Place a mom in the role of the father in this commercial and see if Doritos is in business by today.
The Servant Dad | Jeep | USO
This Jeep | USO commercial shows the sacrifice of all military families and does well to include dads. Nice work Jeep | USO and Oprah!
The Avoidance Dad | Kia "Space Babies"
While I am no stranger to making up answers as a dad, and I also laughed at this commercial when it aired live, it's funny but not. When one considers that what we celebrate we replicate -- do we really want to celebrate a dad making up where babies come from and avoiding the question until his son gets the info somewhere else? What's easier to say, a story about "space babies" or that babies come from a man and woman who are married to each other, like the characters in the commercial? Just a thought...
How do you think dads were portrayed in the Super Bowl commercials?
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photo credit: marsmet481
The following is a post from Christopher A. Brown, Executive Vice President of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI). If you would like to blog for us, email here.
If you’re as avid of a sports fan as I am, you undoubtedly heard that no one will become enshrined this year in Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The uproar among a large segment of the sports community has been interesting to say the least. In fact, it’s been rather myopic.
Cries that the voting system is broken have been emanating from the mouths of sports pundits since the voting results were announced on January 9th, loudly enough to make someone think that the baseball world has been turned upside down by this “travesty.” Moreover, it could lead a reasonable person to wonder whether this “no vote” has ever occurred. The reality is that this isn’t the first time the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA)—the body of well-known and respected writers on America’s pastime that gives the thumbs up or down on inductions into the hall—has voted to not allow anyone in. Indeed, it’s happened no less than 8 times (the most recent time in 1996). But in our sound-bite world with its focus on the present to the exclusion of history (and its lessons), these pundits of the diamond have no doubt poisoned the well for so many Americans, especially young ones, who love the game.
From a historical perspective, I can think of no other game that better symbolizes the joy that fathers and children experience together within the context of sports. Images come readily to mind of fathers and sons and fathers and daughters playing catch, of children opening Christmas presents to find a brand new glove (and its wonderful smell), and of families spending an afternoon or evening at the ballpark eating hotdogs, nachos, and burgers. Some of the fondest memories I have of high school and college include cramming into the car with my buddies and driving to Texas Rangers games and sitting in the outfield for less than $10 a ticket. I didn’t care whether the Rangers won or lost (primarily because they usually lost) because I was there to watch the stars. (One of my fondest memories is of Bo Jackson hammering a fastball from Nolan Ryan that landed just a few rows out of my reach.)
Coming back down to earth for a moment, if you’re not familiar with the specifics of the vote, there were several former players eligible for induction for the first time who are, based on almost every statistical measure associated with their primary role as a player, some of the greatest to play the game. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza were chief among them. (Other lesser-known but fantastic players eligible for the first time included Craig Biggio who, incidentally, received the highest number of votes.) Players on previous ballots included Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGuire, and Jack Morris. Does anything jump out at you about most of these players? If you said that most of them have been accused or admitted (in the case of Bonds) to using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), you win a prize.
Most of the players on this year’s ballot played in the “steroid era.” That fact alone doomed their candidacies this year and, possibly, forever. To qualify for induction, at least 75 percent of voters must select a former player for induction. None of the players associated with steroid use even came close despite their gaudy numbers. (Clemens at 37.6 percent received the most votes of these players). Players remain on the ballot for 15 years, a fairly short window in which to gain induction. With so many of these players’ vote totals being so low, there’s a possibility that they’ll never get their busts into Cooperstown.
As I watched a roundtable of BBWAA voters on ESPN discuss the results of the vote and its implications, one of the reporters said that he voted for many of the purported steroid users because “I vote in context.” He explained that because these specific candidates played in an era when many players (allegedly) used PEDs, voters shouldn’t discriminate against them. After all, he said, everyone was using them. He then proceeded to support his argument by drawing on a standard practice of many voters throughout the years—vote for players based on the era in which they played and not across eras (i.e. comparing the numbers from a player in 1920 with one in 1980 given changes in the game over that time). Moreover, the widespread use of PEDs created a “level playing field”; consequently, the numbers of these great players speak for themselves. Interesting as this argument might be, it misses the broader issue.
These players are accused—rightly or wrongly—of cheating, pure and simple. While most of these players haven’t been convicted in a court of law, they certainly have in the court of public opinion. (And, unfortunately, this era has painted such a broad stroke of PED use that some players who might be deserving of induction might not get in as a result of playing during that time.) That’s why so many voters didn’t vote for Bonds, arguably the best hitter in baseball history, and Clemens, arguably the best pitcher. Regardless of era, cheaters have not been allowed into the hall. (Do I hear a “Pete Rose” or “Shoeless Joe Jackson?”)
Herein lies the lesson for fathers. (Yes. I finally got around to it.) Fair play is baseball’s hallmark—an immutable law. That’s why cheaters, whether convicted or not in a court of law, don’t get into the hall. I surmise that many voters would rather keep a possible cheater out of the hall and let him into it later after his name is cleared than to allow a possible cheater into the hall and later learn that he did, in fact, cheat. Fair play is baseball’s moral center. As its moral center, it spans the chasm of time. It does not change regardless of era. As fathers, we must give our children a moral center to guide their behavior—a set of immutable laws that don’t change with the seasons. While the specific morals of this center might differ from culture to culture, the fact remains that giving it to our children is our most critical role as fathers. Fair play is one moral that I have tried to imbue in my daughters. Is it one of yours?
Today, you probably know Tony Dungy as the anaylst on NBC's "Football Night in America". But Dungy retired as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after making the playoffs in each of his last 10 seasons (7 with Indianapolis; 3 with Tampa Bay). With his win of Super Bowl XLI, he became the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl as the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears.
In 2002, National Fatherhood Initiative awarded Tony with a Fatherhood Award in San Antonio, TX. Long before Tony won the Super Bowl, NFI knew he was a Super Dad. Watch this clip of Tony receiving his 2002 Fatherhood Award and let Tony's words inspire and challenge you about the importance of being an involved dad today.
Tony’s recalls upon receving the Fatherhood Award:
In 1997 I got an award for NFL Coach of the Year. Five years later, receiving this award is really no comparison. This certainly means a lot more to me and it’s quite a honor and so humbling to be here with other dads recognized tonight. Watching these ads (tv ads were shown at the event) it's touching and every single one you can relate to probably the one for me that I relate to the most is the first one “Catch” with the little boy playing ball because we have a 10-year-old and yesterday he wanted to play baseball. We’re up in Indianapolis, we’re moving up there, and we don’t have all of our stuff, we had to go find a stick and we made a little taped-up ball and he beat me 23-2 with a stick ball.
So as we were talking about coming down here, I said (to my son), “What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with me?” And he’s got to do a lot of things, he’s been on the floor of the Metrodome, he’s went with me to the NFC Championship Game and stayed in the Ritz-Carlton and held my cord on the sideline, he’s been to Hawaii to the Pro Bowl and held my cord on the sideline, and he said, “Well, the most fun I’ve had was beating you in stickball!” And his reasoning was something that really touches this, I said “How can that be the most fun with all the things you’ve done?” And he said, “Because that’s what we did TODAY!” That’s what it is in a kids’ mind, it’s not what you do, it’s if you’re there to do it with them and I would encourage you to be there to do things with your kids.
Visit our Fatherhood Award page to see a full list of Fatherhood Award recipients through the years.
On this Friday, unlike any other time in history, the wide world of sports and the world of fathers comes together!
Dove®Men+Care® and Dad 2.0 Summit are partnering for "The Play-By-Play on Fatherhood with Doug Flutie" and we couldn't be more excited to be a part of an event that will advance the public dialogue on responsible fatherhood.
As Dad 2.0 writes on a recent blog post:
"For football fans, you know Doug Flutie from the Hail Mary pass that beat Miami on national TV in 1984. You know about his subsequent 20-year career in the NFL, CFL, and USFL, despite the prevailing wisdom that he was too short to make it as a pro quarterback. You know about Flutie Flakes. What you may not know, however, is that Doug’s son was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old, and since 2000 the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation has raised more than $13 million to help improve the quality of life for people and families affected by autism. Doug is also part of Dove®Men+Care®’s latest “Journey to Comfort” campaign, which touches on fatherhood as never before. He’s amassed a lot of specific insights about how fatherhood changed his life, as it changes every man’s. And on October 26, he’s going to sit down with us and talk about them."
National Fatherhood Initiative has been invited to “The Play-By-Play on Fatherhood,” along with several dads who will explore, promote and champion fatherhood.
Join National Fatherhood Initiative and many other dads for the live-streamed broadcast on the Dove®Men+Care®Facebook page on Friday, October 26, at 10am Eastern. During the live-stream connect with the host and attendees by commenting on Facebook and tweeting to @DoveMenCare, @dad2summit and of course @TheFatherFactor!
The following is a post from Christopher A. Brown, Executive Vice President of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI). If you would like to blog for us, email here.
As we hurtle into yet another post-season for baseball that, once again, involves the love ‘em or hate ‘em New York Yankees, I reflect on America’s pastime and the toll it can take on the players and managers who are fathers.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that loves a juicy story about fallen athletes. It can be hard to find an uplifting story about athletes who rise above the stresses and temptations of their sport, including those that affect the ability of athletes to be involved, responsible, committed fathers.
But look no further than Joe Girardi who, by all accounts, has been a fantastic father and husband during a playing and managing career that spans some 25 years. What has accounted for Joe’s success at home and on the field? A loving father and mother who were committed to their children and each other.
According to Gay Talese in “The Crisis Manager,” an article that appears in a recent edition of The New Yorker magazine, Joe grew up near Chicago, the son and grandson of bricklayers. He learned about competitiveness and self-discipline from his father. He learned about perseverance from his mother who battled cancer during Joe’s teenage and early adult years, only to eventually succumb to it when Joe was in college. Each of these qualities are essential to managerial success in a sport that has baseball’s ups and downs.
What struck me most in reading this article is what Joe said to Talese as they drove to visit Joe’s father, Gerald, who, now stricken with Alzheimer’s, lives in a nursing home. “My dad was always there for me…He’s the one who played catch with me, he was the one who took me to Cubs games where I could see my favorite players, like Ron Santo and José Cardenal, in action.”
The time that fathers spend with their children is so precious, and so valuable. Something for all of us dads to bear in mind as we, too, fight the temptations and stresses that our careers and lives place before and upon us.
Connect with The Father Factor by RSS, Facebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.
National Fatherhood Initiative recently launched March Dadness: Tips for Coach Dad on Leading Your Team to Victory, inspired, of course, by the March Madness NCAA tournament. Here at the NFI office, we'll be turning in our brackets for the office pool. At home, my dad and three brothers are finalizing their brackets. I asked my dad (father of seven) to share some fathering perspectives on this annual event. Here's his thoughts...
March Madness is one of our favorite times of the sports year because it affords three weeks of friendly competition between my three sons and I. We're a basketball family - all my kids play it, I coach it, and we follow it on ESPN. From the Jeremy Lin sensation to Duke's buzzer beater over North Carolina to sitting in the stands watching my ten-year-old twin daughters compete on Saturday afternoons, to say we like basketball would be an understatement. This March, like every other March, we'll be filling out brackets and tracking teams en route to the Final Four and National Championship.
As a dad, I've found this to be one of the ways to connect with my kids in a friendly, competitive environment. This works for both the teenagers still at home and those who are far from home - my 23-year-old son serving in the Air Force in Utah emails his bracket to us and calls home to join the pre- and post-game commentary. My sons are pretty competitive when it comes to researching teams as they fill out their bracket. The Monday morning USA Today
newspaper with the full section on March Madness is passed around among the boys. My daughters, on the other hand, are more interested in watching the teams they like than in the bracket competition and will join their brothers around the TV at game time. (My 18-year-old daughter, however, did secretly make her own bracket last year.)
The lesson I've learned through this is that opportunities to have positive experiences with my kids, instead of always being in the mode of correcting attitudes and behavior, are valuable. Finding common interests and spending time together is important to building relationships, communicating love and value, and balancing the times when discipline and correction are required as a parent. It doesn't have to be basketball to successfully build an enjoyable experience between father and sons and daughters, but events that can be looked forward to and reoccur on a periodic basis (like March Madness) become a lifelong memory and something that both dads and kids can anticipate.Dads, if you want to institute a family March Madness competition with your kids, download a bracket here. Sign-up for the Dad E-mail to get our latest March Dadness updates!
I grew up in a time where I was able to witness home-based video games grow from their clunky infancy to the heights of technological wonder we see today. I dont play video games as much as I used to. In fact, my father, 62 years young, knows more about video gaming than I do. As a dad of a young daughter, Im not totally out the loop as we have the Wii gaming system.
Like most parents, I was drawn to the idea that you had to get off the couch to play many of the games for the console. However, a new study
reported that the benefits of active video gaming might not boost physical activity in kids. I dont find this particularly shocking, as theres only so much you can do physically in front of the TV in the family room. I do disagree with the idea that active gaming isnt helpful. If fathers and mothers played the active games with their children, it could become a bonding family routine.
My daughter is about as physically active as an 11-year old should be. She loves to play active games with me and we always have a great time. For me, the dual benefit is that we both get to move around a bit and raise our heart rate, and further, we get to bond a for a bit. With some of the sports simulations, Im actually playing games that mimic activity my child wouldnt normally do. Perhaps were not getting the same benefit compared to an outdoor activity, but playing games with your family can be engaging.
Even with the active games, getting outdoors is especially vital for families of young children. Your child may not be the next big star athlete but you can still introduce them to games that will inspire movement and activity. Playing catch, kickball, and even talking brisk hikes in your neighborhoods or trails are some fun ways you can get your kids off the couch a bit more. If your child isnt that great at sports, you can still go outside and toss around a Frisbee or basketball.
Active video games are also evolving with the times, with some even featuring physical training. There are even studies that show active games can boost activity in kids. The bottom line is we shouldnt think poorly of active video gaming, but fathers and families should certainly hit the power button at times and get active in other fun ways with their children as well.Are you a video gaming dad? Do you play games with your child and family? Tell us more in the comments below or tweet to us at @thefatherfactor. You can also visit and "like" our Facebook page by clicking here.
While Detroit Tigers fans are no doubt celebrating the signing of All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder, the slugger returns to the place where his father Cecil won a World Series Championship a father that hes been at odds with for quite some time over reasons only known to them. Prince Fielder will undoubtedly face dozens of questions regarding the estranged relationship between him and his dad, although the elder Fielder has said the hes been in brief contact
Well, we're having a few chats. We're doing a lot better than we were, said Cecil Fielder Tuesday (January 24) on MLB Network Radio. Time heals all wounds, man. Everybody has to come back together at some point. Number one thing, I'm just happy for him.
Those words were a far cry from the violent talk from Fielders dad from last summer. Cecil told the Yuma Sun that he wanted to drop a right on him instead of talking to his son. In what should have been the feel-good story of the upcoming Major League Baseball season, the feud between the Fielders is still a prominent and tense issue.
Cecil Fielder and Princes mother Stacy underwent a tough divorce, which some writers say led to the split between father and son. Others have alleged that Cecil spent part of his sons signing bonus without permission, and was embroiled in battling gambling and property debt issues as well.
Prince Fielder has never publicly addressed the split at length but the married father of two could possibly benefit in rebuilding the connection with the man he joined on the baseball field during spring training in 1994. News alternative Detroit Free Press even reprinted
an old 1992 article featuring a story on Cecil Fielder and his baseball prodigy son, where young Prince even said his dad was the best homerun hitter in the game. Cleary at one point, they were inseparable and loving towards one another.
If Cecils words are true, perhaps they can reform their bond and give sons like myself and countless others hope. Hope that even those of us who dont have our fathers in our lives that one day, we can try to rebuild the bonds. As Duk of the Big League Stew said eloquently of the Fielders situation in his column: fathers shouldnt be apart from their sons.
It seems par for the course that fathers seek to bond with their kids especially boys playing the age-old game of catch, whether with a football or baseball. Theres something innate about that activity between fathers and sons; perhaps its an instinctive reminder for Dad that he once did this with his own dad or at least wished he had. Its something I definitely wished I shared with my own dad.
When I read the tale
of MLB All-Star pitcher Chris Perez, and how he and his dad Tim bonded over Chris inclusion in the big name lineup last year, I confess I felt a tinge of envy. However, Im glad to see that there are sons who look up to and value their dads even as they trudge along into adulthood and families of their own.
with sports website The Bleacher Report
on how he gifted his father with his 2011 All-Star ring, making it five sizes larger so that his dad could wear it.
Perez on the trying to surprise his father with the ring:Before entering the brunch, they handed out All-Star rings. When I picked mine up, they asked me to try it on. (I already had planned to give the ring to my Dad, so I had told them to make the ring 5 sizes too big for me.) My Dad was right next to me and noticed how big it was on me. I tried to play it off, but he kept making a deal about it. Flash forward to after the game, my family and I are relaxing back in the hotel, and I pulled out the ring and gave it to him. He was shocked/surprised/happy/speechless. I couldn't think of anyone else that deserved the ring more than him; he's the reason I love the game, and the reason I became an All-Star.
Chris Perez didnt enter the game last year at the Midsummer Classic, but its a neat story showing that no matter how old you are as a son, you always want to please and gain the respect of your dad. Sometimes its tough to show our dads how much we love and adore them as adults, but I know as I speak for myself and other fathers that it never gets redundant to know that your children love you.
Tim Perez summed up his feelings about getting the ring from his son in a quick interview last summer. I wasn't expecting it. We were in the room, and Chris just said 'I want to give you something,'" Tim Perez said to the Bradenton Herald. "My first reaction was, 'Son this is your ring. And he says 'No, dad, I wouldn't here without you.' I wasn't expecting anything. I was just a dad supporting his son.
Tim Perez and his amazing humility is the very reason why fatherhood has to return to the forefront of the conversation when talking about combating societal ills. When a father does the right thing for his children, they become adults who respect the value and importance of what it means to be a dad when their time comes to be handed the torch.
Sure, I may pine for a time for my dad and I to have a similar bonding experience and I still have my baseball glove and ball from when I was 12 years old at the ready. Hopefully one day soon, my dad and I will have a moment to share and call our own just like Tim and Chris Perez.
Until then, I can only admire them from afar.