Turns out like every other person out there I have a father. Not everyone gets to know theirs for a variety of reasons, but I’ve been lucky to really know mine. As much as I like to think sometimes that I’m my own completely made man, that forged myself on my own, I realize now how little I really did.
My dad, though short, he be fierce (to paraphrase Shakespeare). He grew up on the north side of Saint Louis, Missouri and was the second youngest out of six. From an early age he was a pain in the posterior and quite the hellion from everything I’ve heard. The stories I’ve heard first hand from both himself, his siblings, and friends paints a very colorful picture to say the least.
Now the story with my dad that I want to convey is what I’ve seen and remember in my life especially in my early years. In my office I have a picture of me on my dad’s lap as he rode on his exercise bike at the house. I look at it from time to time to remind myself where I come from. I couldn’t be older than 4 in the pictures, but you can tell from the picture that I’m happy to be there. The picture helps me center myself when I’ve spent a few hours breaking down data, writing, or otherwise.
When I think back to my youth I remember how he had a weight bench and simple weight set in the basement of our house. I remember hearing the sound of the Rocky theme followed by a questionable amount of 80’s Madonna “Material Girl” album being played without fail most days of the week in the morning at 6am. There were times when I would go down and train with him. I remember doing pushups on the floor, dumbbell curls, and presses (I was a total bro from the beginning obviously).
He had an old school Nordic track that he would be on for what seemed like forever (and was probably half an hour). While he did that I would be jogging circles around our bumper pool table (I was a fat kid, so that was obviously a challenge for me (this was 80s and 90s fat kid so probably normal today). We would do some sit ups and other calisthenics. Looking back I appreciate that I have this image of my dad in my youth.
No one is simply their workout program, but the impression of seeing a man up early and training I believe helped lay some of the foundation of who I am today. There is a lot more to my dad than simply his old morning routine, but I think it is important to keep some perspective and appreciation for what effect you can have on others, and what effects other people have had upon you.
I don’t have kids, but might someday and it will be important to me to model what a man should be. By having that role model to observe when I was a kid gave me ideas of what a man should be. I don’t want to preach to other people and say that they are failing as a parent for not training, but when the research shows that if both parents are obese the children have an increased chance of being obese (nature vs. nurture arguments aside), it sure can help to train. Also please forgive the very gendered perspective when I wrote this up, but I just wanted to tell a story (also love you Mom).
Thanks Dad and happy Father’s Day,