How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Memories on the Run

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Summer is short and passes quickly, and it is far too easy to lose the season somewhere between the couch cushions—most likely lodged against an old piece of candy and enough spare change to park for hours while waiting on the sweet spot between shade and sunsets. One minute you have plans for the great adventures that summer surely holds, and the next you’re looking for the remote and wondering where the time went. It happens.

This summer my family decided to make the most of it. We were not going to let summer pass us by like a sweat-soaked slideshow. We vowed to squeeze every drop like some clever lemonade metaphor. We decided to be active and make our memories on the run.

We’re not a big sports family, relatively speaking. Sure, we have our favorite teams and enjoy going to professional and college games, but we are lucky if we attend one contest per respective season. We watch a bit more on TV, but in a busy home the matches are quickly pushed to the background and serve as just one more window to gaze upon when the opportunity arises. The competition on the field can seldom compete with the realities of two growing boys and boundless imagination. Basically, I have a passing knowledge of highlights and headlines that keeps things from getting too awkward around the water cooler.


However, we love to play sports. We enjoy athletic activity. We like to teach what we know and learn new things, and we love to do it together. We are a family and we are a team. Sometimes we wear matching shirts. In public.

We like to hike, swim, bike, and run. We run a lot. The boys both enjoy a good bit of land beneath their feet and we have talked miles into the distance and then back again, keeping time against labored breaths andthe cadence of moments stretching thick across the concrete.

This summer the boys took gymnastics, karate, and fencing, all things, like running, that help form body control, discipline, grace, and strength. By the time soccer camp started they were fit and ready, and the field of play greeted them with morning dew and days of promise. They ran endlessly upon it.

That’s when it all came together, a growing love forsoccer and a summer filled with marquee matches on the television. Suddenly we found a sport that the entire family could agree on.

We found ourselves in the grass at twilight, dodging sprinklers and mosquitoes, four people kicking a ball back and forth and letting imaginary stadiums build up around us. There was talk of favorite players and the skills that they worked hard to master, the techniques they learned, and the sportsmanship they had shown. Their examples became our inspiration—the lessons that we tried on like so many kits, some fitting better than others.

Somewhere the lines between play and training blurred, and they are blurring still, despite school on the horizon and idle talk of leaves one day falling. Summer is a stepping stone, and there are adventures still to come.

We are a family and we are a team, and the games we play together will last well beyond the season, regardless of sport or weather.

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