With March comes madness — the college basketball tournament kind — and City Dads Group members were there to witness it again this year, thanks to our longtime partner, Dove Men+Care.
The men’s grooming products brand once again gave a few of our members and their children in select cities the opportunity to attend a few games during the run to the annual NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The hook? Dove Men+Care’s latest twist on its long-running “Real Strength” tag line — the Real Strength Manifesto, a call for fans as well as those on the court to exhibit both passion for their teams and sportsmanship toward each other and opposing players. The manifesto has been signed by such college basketball legends as player Alonzo Mourning and retired UConn coach Jim Calhoun.
“It takes skill to win, but it takes care to be a winner,” the company notes in a recent ad, released along with the March Madness tourney, to promote the manifesto’s mission:
We asked a few of our dads who were lucky enough to snag some of those free tickets from Dove Men+Care to tell us about their experience at the games. here are their stories.
Coolest thing in the world
My 4-year-old son and I hit the road from Chicago to catch the NCAA March Madness games in Milwaukee. We got to the arena just as it opened and literally walked around the entire building several times since I told him we could go wherever he wanted. He loved being the leader and finally figured out that it meant that if he wanted ice cream, he could have it. We got to sit next to another dad and his son, so when the kids got restless, we took them back into the concourse and let them run around some more while he had some awesome dad chats.
When the second game started, the noise level was really intense and my son thought that was the coolest thing in the world. Even better than the ice cream, box of popcorn, chocolate-covered pretzel, and pink lemonade he talked me into letting him have. It was an experience we will never forget: getting to take a cool trip to a cool place and to have such a cool time together. We laughed, we cheered for “the blue team,” we cheered for “the white team,” we rode every single escalator multiple times, we bought souvenirs, and in the end, he passed out in the car on the way home with a huge smile. Seeing that little sleeping face finally rest after the excitement of the day was priceless for me. Thank you, Dove Men+Care for giving us this opportunity to make memories together.
I took my three kids to the Michigan-Louisville game in Indianapolis. My kids have no rooting interest in these teams, but they like taking vacations to Michigan, so that was their team. We also filled out brackets earlier in the week, and all three kids picked Michigan to advance to the Sweet 16 for the same reason.
College basketball is such a great experience for families, even with my kids having little to no interest in the game beforehand, I was able to get my 5-year-old daughter excited about it because I told her we would be watching lots of cheerleaders. My 10-year-old daughter was excited to see the band play, my 7-year-old son had some interest in the game itself and, of course, all three kids were super excited about cotton candy.
It’s so great that Dove Men+Care gives dads these unforgettable experiences to have with our kids.
Experience bigger than life
It is always fun to watch a good sporting contest with my boys. It’s moments like these that created a strong bond between my grandfather and I. This year is the first year that my boys filled out their own brackets for March Madness. Being able to see that these teams were more than just names on a paper made the experience bigger than life for them. The final game for the night was Purdue vs. Iowa State, and it was epic! A nail-biter right to the finish.
I was able to teach my boys some of the finer points of basketball and the ethics of being a fan. They learned you can celebrate your team’s successes and recognize the accomplishments of the opposing team. I also taught them that the referees have a tough job, and a good athlete and a good fan shakes off a “bad” call and gets ready for the next play. Dove Men+Care got me to the court so I brought the care courtside because my boys deserve nothing less.
Having the opportunity to go to the NCAA games this past Saturday with my son was amazing. Being a stay-at-home dad of three (soon to be four) makes it difficult for me to have specific one-on-one time with each of my kids, which makes opportunities like this so much more valuable. My son was so excited to spend the day together I think he hardly slept the night before. We took off early in the morning and spent the day at the Discovery World Science Museum in Milwaukee, making bobblehead art projects and viewing the exhibits and aquarium. We were joined at the arena by Pat Jacobs of Chicago Dads Group and his son which made for great conversation and plenty of laughs. The best part of this experience for me was that I was able to spend some quality time with my son. If you asked him what his favorite part was, I bet he would say the cotton candy or the mascots — we all know that’s how a 4-year-old’s brain works. Thank you Dove Men+Care for providing the opportunity to spend the day with my son taking in some March Madness action while taking a break from the regular madness that is my day-to-day.
— Eric Jacobs, Madison Dads Group