They introduced themselves to me through the essays they wrote. Now, Facebook keeps me up to date on their college graduations, marriages, job promotions, and sometimes even the games they’ve won if they have been lucky enough to play professionally. Once in awhile, late at night, a message will pop up from one of them just checking in to say hello. This is a gift I never take for granted. While they came from different cities, they shared many things in common in addition their love of the Game. The absence of a father was one. They were men raised by women. Strong women, loving women, Godly women. Women who toiled and sweat and tried to fill in the gaps for their sons and nephews and grandsons.
Superhuman women. But women, just the same.
They post pictures, too…of beautiful little girls and handsome little boys. Newborn pictures, and birthday party pictures with toddlers covered in icing. They post the classic first- day- of -school pictures, and the Trick or Treating pictures, and Christmas morning pictures.
Pictures of the children they’ve fathered. Pictures of the children they are raising.
There’s a big difference between a Baby Daddy and a Father.
These are the men who are in the game of their lives. The ones who show up, suit up, stay. They not only pay for diapers but are man enough to change those diapers. They are in the delivery room and then continue to deliver for their children in ways both big and small. They are the sorts of fathers we hope our own sons will be.
Too bad there’s not a Heisman Trophy for Fatherhood. I have a long list of men I’d like to nominate.