January 5, 2011
by Shawn Bean
© Courtesy of NBA Fit
It's funny: The biggest thing that comes between dads playing sports with their kids is sports. Show me a dad on the weekend, and I'll show you a guy sunk into a sofa, remote control sitting nearby like a small lapdog, his eyes glued to the leather/rubber projectile moving up and down the field/court. In these moments, the dad is oblivious to the fact that he has kids, or that he's even fertile. When his kid looks for some attention, the dad involves the child by becoming the most boring sports professor in the history of sportsdom ("You see, Benny, if he stop dribbling the basketball it's called traveling."). I watch dads do it, and I'm guilty of it myself.
So if you want to reach dads, sports is a pretty solid way to go. Chances are you recently passed a billboard for All Pro Dad, a foundation created by Super Bowl-winning coach and NBC Sports commentator Tony Dungy that utilizes NFL players and coaches to encourage men to be good fathers. If you've been tuning into NBA basketball this week, you've been hearing about NBA Fit Live Healthy Week, which launched Monday. The idea: use the New Year to ask dads and parents to make a resolution to get active and eat healthy as a family.
Naturally, Live Healthy Week is packed with events (for example, Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder is hosting a fit clinic on Friday in Oklahoma City), but the best part is the NBA Fit Twitter feed, which is posting videos of NBA players' behind-the-scenes fitness regiments, pre-game rituals, and tips for staying in shape and eating better (the highlight thus far is Dwight Howard's ass-kicking workout). There are a lot of similarities between NBA Fit and Parenting's Fit Generation, which begins its second year in the April issue.
Fathers are getting a lot of extra nudges these days, and for good reason: 24 million children in America -- 1 in 3 -- live in biological father-absent homes. A month ago, Congress allocated $75 million to President Obama's initiative for responsible fatherhood, an increase of $25 million from last year (learn more about that here). So I don't mind the NBA telling me to get out with my kids, even if it means turning off the boob tube halfway through the fourth quarter. On that note, does anyone know what happened with the Magic game Monday night?