Fathering as a professional athlete doesn’t seem fun. Between the travel, the celebrity, and the physical toll required of pro sports, it appears like a recipe for disaster. Still, many athlete dads have found ways to navigate these unique tensions. Here are three exemplars:
The GOAT (this is basically settled science at this point) is a dad of three and shows up in his kids’ lives: “I wanted to be a part of the statistics that breaks the mode of fathers running out on their kids. That was something that I obviously went through and I knew from Day 1 that wasn’t going to be me. So, to have a family and be there for them and be there on a day-to-day basis is important. I know I travel a lot but I’m a staple in the household and it means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to my kids.”
Hamilton established his priorities early in his career as a star offensive lineman in the NFL. When we interviewed him, he said, “I was one of the few people who had to work both on Christmas and Thanksgiving. I would bring the kids with me to the locker room whenever it was appropriate. I had the kids tag along with me after games and at practices. My wife and I both looked at the crazy football schedule and knew it was temporary. We made the best out of it.”
The iconic image of Foles holding his daughter in his arms was recently enshrined as the “Photograph of the Year” from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The backup-turned-Super-Bowl-MVP reveled in the moment with his starry-eyed baby. “Now to be a father, that changes everything. It takes the pressure away because I get to go home to her every night. No matter what happens — no matter if I play a horrible game, she loves me. She has no idea. If we win the Super Bowl, she has no idea.”
Postscript: Many of our professional sports aspirations died in early adolescence. But, our fanhood lives on. We offered four strategies for watching sports with our kids …better.
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