Defending Dads

You're doing your jobs. You and your kids deserve better.

Parenting Is a Contact Sport

I have to live in one of the most fitness conscious communities anywhere. It seems that, per capita, there are more runners, swimmers, walkers, cyclists, wrestlers, yogis, black belts, tennis, baseball, basketball, football and lacrosse players here than even Los Angeles. As soon as the temperature cracks 60°, the municipal park teems with people. Of particular interest to me is the number of parents and even grandparents who engage kids in play. It’s like watching a live enactment of the axiom “the family that plays together stays together”.

I don’t yet know my neighbors well enough to guage how much truth is behind that, but I gotta say they look pretty doggone happy. Even better, I’ve been out there with my own kids to experience this. The flip side to all of this healthy activity is that a guy has to train like an olympian to keep pace.

I have always been health conscious, though not an extremist. I took a break from regular exercise over the winter. One unseasonably warm day in February, I was determined to finish training the kids to ride their bikes. Once outside, I alternated running after each kid to coach and help with balance. Thank God they finally got the hang of it and don’t yet have the leg strength for sustained riding! When they said they’d had enough for the day, I didn’t have enough wind in my lungs to breathe a sigh of relief! I dragged myself to my car, flung open the door and slumped into the driver’s seat. I rested my head on the padded steering wheel and sucked in air like a Shop-Vac. The kids were oblivious to my distress, but I was horrified that my conditioning had fallen off to that degree.

I’ve resumed working out. I’m not yet ready for the cover of Men’s Fitness, but I’m ambitious. Not only do I appreciate my good health and the benefits of regular exercise, it’s a question of that dreaded “D” word again (discipline).

Then, of course, I promised my kids I would be in great shape for summer. No way I’ll deprive us of those sunny days chasing each other around that park with the rest of the happy healthfreaks.

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