EVANS COLUMN: Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there

Published 9:30 am Saturday, June 19, 2021

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It’s Father’s Day weekend, a time to celebrate dads for all they do in our lives, and I hope you’ll be able to spend the weekend with your old man, enjoying whatever you get to do.

You might want to cancel any outside plans thanks to the incoming tropical system, but even sitting in front of the television and enjoying a game is quality time together.

Every year about this time, when preparing for Fathers Day, I read a lot about the impact dads have on their children’s lives. According to Fatherhood.org, when a child grows up without a father figure, they are more likely to end up in poverty, more likely to have behavorial problems, more likely to commit crime, more likely to drop out of high school, and the list goes on and on.

I’ve been a dad for almost four years now, and I know I try to emulate my own father, a great man who has always worked hard to provide for his family.

When I was a kid, dad would work long days and then would come home, eat supper and spend the afternoon in the backyard playing basketball with me.

I thought I was pretty good back then, but if dad ever beat me, I knew I’d hear about it for the next month, and all my friends would hear about it too. I wish I could go back to those moments in the backyard sometimes and just stay there for a little while. I’d probably even let him win.

If he wasn’t trying to beat me at hoops, he’d be at softball practice cheering on my sister. Or at football practice, or basketball practice, supporting me.

Even today, now in my 30s, if I call, my dad answers the phone. It doesn’t matter what’s going on at that moment.

He might make sure nothing is wrong, then say he has to call me back, but almost 100 percent of the time I know he’s going to answer if one of his kids call.

Now, living four hours away, I see my parents less than ever these days.

That’s how life goes. But I don’t think dad’s importance in my life has changed one bit as I’ve gotten older.

If something breaks and I need advice, he’s the first person I call.

If I’m about to buy something I know little about, I usually ask him if he knows anything. And when a football game is on, we’re usually messaging back and forth.

Recently, we both dug out our old sports cards — many of them decades old — and started going through them.

As a kid, we’d often go to the store and buy cards.

Now, I guess that childhood hobby is giving us something to talk about each night as we get back into collecting, just for fun. As much as I enjoy collecting cards of my favorite players, I prefer it much more just to do something with dad. Just to have something to talk about that isn’t so serious.

Substitute any activity you want, and I bet it’s the same for all of you reading this too.

Becoming a dad was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I tell people that all the time. I’m not the best at putting my phone down and ignoring work — in the newspaper business there is no real set schedule for breaking news — but when my little ones are standing at the front door jumping up and down because I’m home, all of the stresses of the day go away in an instant.

I know those days won’t last forever, and every day I try to soak it up, just as I miss those moments in the backyard.

One day, I think both the kids and I will be looking back, wishing we could go back in time to the moments we have now.

Dads offer support, security and much more in their role in the household. But I’m not sure anything is more than important than just being there.  And no matter what happens, when you become a dad, that takes precedence over everything else.

I hope you’ll keep that in mind this Fathers Day weekend.

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there.