It’s often funny how you grow up with the players you love in the National Football League. Perhaps a better way of saying it is that it’s fun to watch them grow before your eyes year in and year out.
When Ben Roethlisberger was drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers there was but one thing on the mind of every person in the Steelers Nation; Is this the guy to bring us ‘one for the thumb?’
Indeed he was and he helped us get a sixth ring as well. Within the last year Roethlisberger was married, turned 30 years old, earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Miami, Ohio University and has now recently announced that he and his wife Ashley are expecting their first child. At some point today, Roethlisberger will think of the fact that at this time next year, this day, Father’s Day, will mean something more to him.
It’s that way for any of us who have had the great fortune to become fathers. I have two kids, a 12-year old daughter and a soon-to-be eight-year old son. Their names are both based on names of some of my favorite Steelers’ players so use your imagination and yes, I’m really that passionate about the Steelers.
The saying these days is that any man can become a father but it takes a real man to be a dad. I couldn’t agree more. Roethlisberger is about to find this out in the coming months and I have no doubts that with a solid support system and more maturity, he’ll be a great dad.
Not all of us can say that unfortunately as we may be the products of divorce, pre-mature death of our fathers, never knowing our fathers or maybe just a real crappy relationship with our dad. It runs the gamut for all of us and while many are similar, they are all unique.
My parents divorced when I was five and by eight, my dad had moved to Texas for work so I saw him maybe 4 or 5 weeks out of the year. It was never a great relationship but we both realized exactly where the other stood until he was killed in a car accident on a Texas Highway in 2005.
Time heals as they say and it has, but the one piece of advice I can give to any father or son or daughter is to never leave things unsaid. Get it out and as I like to say, “make sure you have a clean slate” with your dad if you anything lingering because you never know when the chance to say all the things you’ve wanted to is gone in an instant.
There was some discussion earlier this week about whether Roethlisberger should skip a game if his wife were in labor and ready to give birth this fall. As a Dad who delivered both of his kids personally, my advice is this; Roethlisberger must do what he thinks is right because either way he will be criticized for making the ‘wrong’ decision. Trust me, whatever he chooses there will be people slamming him for the decision. Sad, but true.
Would I give up the opportunity to see my kids born? No, but that’s me. Roethlisberger and his family will make that decision when and if the time comes and it is THEIR deceision, not ours.
Father’s Day for me has always been very up and down and always will be simply because of my own experiences. In the Steeler Nation there are millions of sons and daughters who will pay homage to their dads today and many will give thanks simply because they made them ‘Steelers’ fans’ among many other things as well.
To all the Dads and future Dads out there, have a great day. Enjoy it! Be reflective, be happy and if you need to, clean your slate. It’ll be tough but it will be worth it.
And if I might make a suggestion to Ben on the name of the child… How about ‘Seven?’ That has a nice ring to it.
Happry Father’s Day Steelers Nation!