City Dads Groups across the country came together last night to get mad for March Madness. Dove Men+Care graciously sponsored events to let fathers get out of the house for the evening and into the start of the nation’s biggest college basketball tournament.
Here are reports and photos from our members:
“You really need to be a part of this.”
At one point I thought I’d have to pry the pizza slices and pint glasses from the hands of our dads to get them to “bring it in” for a group picture. The magnetism of the conversations taking place around the room was a strong draw; the appetizers, too enticing to forgo for a photo. But, eventually, they put their dad tales on pause, took a lasting sip of Piranha Pale Ale to tide them over and convened beneath the big screen TV to preserve the moment for posterity.
“Want me to take the photo?” asked a mom, seated with her family, a few tables away. I nodded in appreciation and she handed her son off to the man in the next chair and came for my camera, the throng of guys around me erupted in applause, laughter, good cheer.
“What is this,” she asked. “A softball team? A leadership conference? A book club?” She giggled.
“Dad’s Night Out!” came the collective shout and as I turned a second to take in the faces of pure joy around me – shoulders high in a posture of pride and organic, spontaneous high-fives. I saw big Mark, hair still damp from his after-softball-practice shower. I saw Andrew, still locked in conversation with the dad to his left, expounding the virtues of our group of active and involved fathers, taking the lead on the planning of our next Playground Playgroup outing. I saw authors, freelance writers, dad bloggers and avid book readers, alike.
“Yeah, something like that,” I told the mom with the camera. “A little bit of everything, really, with one fantastic common denominator.” And as she set the camera to autofocus and backed up a few steps to get us all in frame, she motioned her own husband over, who, in turn, handed his son to the man to his left at their table.
“What’s up, hon?” he asked.
“Get in this photo,” she insisted, “You really need to be a part of this.” And then another ovation from the dads as our new friend found his place among us and his Mrs. finally got the shot.
— Mike Heenan, San Francisco Dads Group
March Madness party in the NYC
We had one of the more diverse groups in attendance in New York City. There were even a number of new members present. Folks enjoyed lots of tasty appetizers, indulged in equally tasty beverages, but most importantly, bonded while spending time watching college hoops. Some folks wore apparel representing their college affiliation while others discussed their favorite all-time college teams and players.
The evening’s pinnacle came when it felt like we were watching a tennis match, heads swiveling back and forth while we tried to view both the UNC/Harvard barnburner and the Cincinnati/Purdue overtime effort. That kind of watching took some #RealStrength
— Christopher Persley, NYC Dads Group
Talkin’ brackets to the “terrible twos”
Surrounded by 42 screens at Shoeless Joe’s in Rosemont suburb, our Chicago Dads Group enjoyed a night of food, drinks and camaraderie. From talking about their brackets to the “terrible twos,” the group had a nice evening just hanging out and being around other like-minded dads.
All the dads in attendance had their eyes on the games, too, as they hoped their favorite teams would advance to the next round. By the end of the night you could tell by their faces that some dads were happy with the outcome while others were just hoping that their bracket would survive the madness.
Thanks to Dove Men+Care for their continued support of fathers and fatherhood, even when their brackets may not be doing well, for sponsoring a wonderful event like this March Madness Dads’ Night Out.
— Victor Aragon, Chicago Dads Group
On Thursday, 25 other dads and I in Chicago (and hundreds around the country) gathered together to drink beer, eat chicken wings, watch college basketball, and trade dad stories.
Not the ones where you haven’t seen your kid all week, and you missed the recital, and now you are going to fix it all with ice cream for dinner — I’m talking more like “how we found out that my son has Celiac’s disease, and why we cook three dinners a night to feed our family.” Or “which playgrounds in which order we are going to go to, once the weather gets warm.” And occasionally some B.K. (before kids) stories: backpacking in Syria, books we read when we had time to read books without pictures, etc. Oh yes, and we made the occasional dick joke.
I just moved to Chicago, so I didn’t know most of the guys, but it was a pleasure to get to know them in a casual style. In New York, where I was a member of the NYC Dads Group, these gatherings were in many ways a non-traditional water cooler at work where you take a minute to share the news of the day, chat about problems at work, and maybe figure out something that’s been bothering you.
— Adam Gertsacov, Chicago Dads Group