Let’s hear it for the dads of ultimate frisbee. We often talk about sideline moms, at least, as a Women’s Masters player, I do; but, we don’t as frequently dissect the balance of parenting and playing when it comes to our caregiving dads.
At a tournament this spring, I lifted my eyes from the on-field action to scope out the reality of sideline fathering. Everywhere I looked there were dads! Dads on every team. Dads for days. And, if there wasn’t a dad on the team itself, there was a dad in a lawn chair nearby cheering on his kids.
I spoke with a few fathers at #Sunflicker2019 and came up with some broad sweeping categories of dad care that illustrate the kind of awesomeness that dads bring.
These dads spoke about partner communication and balancing side-line parenting with on-field play time. Each had their own unique take on how to harmonize team and family time.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please, include your own dad type from your team in the comments below. Pictures or it doesn’t count.
Seven Dads on the Line:
1. The Jeff: All for one and one for all.
This dad and son team work together to organize Sunflicker in beautiful Kelowna, BC. Jeff’s son helps refill the food and water at disc central. He gets so excited about the tournament that it’s hard to sleep the night before. “He’s pumped!” says Jeff who loves to share tournament life with his son. “It’s great to include him.” The Jeff type brings his kids with him and teaches hands-on responsibility. Yeah Jeff!
2. The Gord: Mr. Even-Stevens.
Gord speaks to me with two girls under 6 hanging off of his neck. His eldest daughter colours in the shade tent near-by. Gord has an easy smile and the girls play with and around him while Mom kicks-ass on-field. “We take turns” he confides. “When one parent is playing, the other is with the kids and vice versa. It just works!” High fives Gord.
3. The Andy: Equal Opportunity Awesome
Andy didn’t start playing ultimate until his first daughter was born. He and his wife brought a playpen to the field so that they could both play while their infant hung out safely on the side-line. Andy remembers bringing his baby girl to his office while his wife was at work a few blocks away. They would meet every day to eat lunch and feed their daughter. Andy admits that having support was key. A nanny or incredible grand-parents can make it easier for both parents to have independence.
Now Andy loves supporting his daughters in their athletic pursuits. Everyone gets to be their own kind of awesome.
4. The Lee: Blue jobs and pink jobs
This dad does the heavy lifting. You can find him packing and re-packing bags into the trunk or tulle box. He will admit that the stroller is not for the children; it’s to help him load gear from field to field in between games. Even though this dad leans towards blue jobs, he’s not beyond cuddles and caring either. While he easily does the heavy lifting, he’s also provides sensitivity and softness. Full disclosure: this dad is the author’s husband-partner!
(And he is the #1 best dad EVER.)
5. The Dallas: Backseat Bae
It just worked out that Dallas got to have two solid years of on-field time while Yuumi built a couple of humans inside her body and recovered from that task. Now that the twins are three, Dallas feels happy to be with the kids while his wife shreds the defense with her sick forehand bombs. Their balance is more about each parent finding an outlet that suits their energy levels. Fortunately for Yuumi, Dallas still loves hanging out with all his friends sideline so that she can take the field without worrying about the twins. She drives the game forward while he takes a backseat with the babes. What a mighty fine dad.
6. The Chris: The Biggest Kid.
Chris is the type of dad with boundless energy to share. He plays with his kids always, but he’ll play with your kids too. He’s the one organizing a scrimmage of watermelon sock tag using water blasters on the sideline. He’s going to teach your kid a special high five that they will remember forever. If you’re lucky, he’ll break out his guitar and sing sideline singles while the kids dance and the moms warm up. Full disclosure: the child pictured is not Chris’ kid. Typical.
7. Who is the 7th dad on the line?
Tag a dad that you know who does a great job with the balance of: parenting, partnering, working, and playing. The struggle is real for parents all over the world. Dads are out there supporting their families and teams at every tournament. This Father’s Day, give a dad in your ultimate life a shout out. Let them know that you admire the way they play and parent. Let’s hear it for the dads!