Of all the images Sports Illustrated could have chosen for its post-Super Bowl issue, they chose this one.
Way to go Sports Illustrated!
As was noted on this blog last week, the scene of Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees holding his son, Baylen, on the field after the game was a priceless fatherhood moment - one for the ages. And now it has been "immortalized" on the cover of the nation's premier sports magazine.
Think of the joy this image will bring Brees' son as he grows up! Every child wants to know he is loved and valued by his father. Baylen Brees will have this indelible image to look back to as a reminder of the affirmation he received from his father during what was certainly a lifetime highlight for dad.
Chalk this one up as a victory for involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood.
Anyone who is even a little bit interested in college football has heard of Urban Meyer's unexpected early retirement.
Oh wait, I'm sorry. He's not retiring, just taking an "indefinite leave of absence"...? Apparently Brett Favre Fever is spreading to college football.
At any rate, Meyer stepped down after a health scare, when he awoke with severe chest pains and lost consciousness for a stretch of time. His greuling schedule and relentless efforts were taking their toll.
As Florida fans and tv pundits scrambled to understand the decision, Meyer's 18 year-old daughter immediately celebrated her father's choice. The NY Times
quotes her as saying, "I get my daddy back." Wow.
Whether or not Meyer coaches again, he's had to learn a lesson the hard way. Work-family balance is an elusive ideal, hard for any parent to achieve. Let's take a lesson from this football great and aim for excellence on and off the field this year - at work and with family.
The Washington Post recently profiled Kenny Anderson
, former NBA star and also father of seven children. The millions of dollars from basketball paydays didn't stretch quite as far as child support payments and Anderson's formerly lavish lifestyle. But on the other side of a finished NBA career and bankruptcy, Kenny Anderson seems to have grasped the really important things:
"Anderson says nothing woke him up to the realities of his new, post-basketball life quite like seeking custody of Kenny four years ago, just as his own career wound down.
"That was the turning point in my life," he says. "He was a big savior. He changed me. I'd never had custody of any of my kids. I was like: 'All right, I got my son. This is real here. I gotta teach him how to be a man, how to be better than me.' Every time I look at him, I look at stability."
Following on the heels of the Brodrick Smith story, Tennessean.com
reports that Vince Young stepped in to be dad to Trenton and Tyler, the two younger sons of the late Steve McNair. The boys' school hosted a Dear Dads event, and Young surprised Trenton and Tyler by showing up and having breakfast with them."Those are my boys," Young told the Tennessean. "I wouldn't say it was to pay anyone back; it was just out of love. Steve would do it for me. He pretty much did it for me when I was growing up. I have a history with the boys and I want to do anything I can. I am their big brother."
The one thing that seems absolutely clear here is that Trenton and Tyler need a father, and Young is willing to make the sacrifices necessary for the boys to have that. We need more dads (and father figures) like Vince Youngs, and not just for children whose fathers have been forcibly removed from their life by violence, but also for those children whose fathers are unable or unwilling to be involved. In any case, kudos to Young - for great performance on and off the field.
Except for this dad, who probably wanted to cry when his three year-old daughter threw back the foul ball he caught!
However, kudos to Steve Monforto for giving his daughter a big bear hug instead of flipping out.
From the newscaster: "Steve said his daughter seemed a little bit scared by the gasps when she threw the ball back, so he enveloped her in a bear hug."
Check out the video. And no worries, the Phillies gave the family a signed baseball, so Steve did, in a sense, still get to keep his first foul ball!
Brodrick Smith is a young dad. And a pretty good football player. But he recently made the gutsy and sacrificial choice to leave a full ride football scholarship at Minnesota to be closer to his young son Blake. And driving his decision was his experience with his own mostly-absent father. Read the rest of the story here
."Being a man, I'm out here trying to do good and get my education and play football," said Smith, a sophomore wide receiver who enrolled at K-State this fall. "I thought in my head that I had a dad who wasn't there for me, and I didn't want that for my son."
Ever wonder why there seems to be fewer African Americans playing major league baseball? Could it be linked to the fact that 2 out to 3 black kids grow up in father absent homes? My good friend--and cousin to former MLB All-Star Bobby Bonilla--has some interesting thoughts on this. Check them out here
Just when we thought we were done grieving the loss of several celebrities (well, perhaps the media will never give up on grieving Michael Jackson), former NFL quarterback Steve McNair's life was tragically taken this past weekend.
As people praise "Air McNair" for his electric performances and thrilling stats, there is another side of the story to look at: the four children he left behind.
Sadly, fact of the matter is, he left his four kids - Junior, Stephen, Tyler, and Trenton - behind long before he left this earth. Like too many high-profile athletes, McNair wasn't the leader he needed to be off
the field. McNair left his family behind in pursuit of his mistress, giving his children a tarnished legacy, a bad example, and a violent separation from their father.
Not surprisingly, McNair himself was raised without a father. It seems as though history is once again poised to repeat itself, as it does so often with father absence.