Leading by example...

Today is International Men's Day, and this year's theme is "Positive Male Role Models".

As such, I thought it was a good time to write about the biggest male role model I have in my life...my dad.

Growing up, my dad was always there.  Always present in my life whenever I needed him.  Most noticeably on the sports field.  Between him and mum I don't think they missed a single football match, cricket game or athletics competition.

I think back now and wonder how they did it, with two kids, both of who competed in sports all year around and often on the same day in different parts of Wellington, if not the country.  But there dad was, week in and week out, supporting me, driving me all over the place and never making a big deal about it.  

Even when I made representative football teams and training was in Kapiti he would make the 45 minute drive, wait and watch training, then drive me 45 minutes back home again, often getting home pretty late at night after what I'm sure were many busy days at work.

Him and my mum worked on committees, managed our teams when they needed to, fundraised like I have never seen, and just got stuck in when work needed to be done around the clubs I played for and the teams I represented.  And they always did it like it was the most natural thing in the world, despite most other parents not being involved nearly as much.  Of course in my teenage years I played the teenage card and got annoyed by this, but looking back now I see just how lucky I was to have parents this caring and wanting to be involved as much as they were. 

Recently, with all of the issues I have had to deal with around both my mental and physical health, he has been a rock for me.  Always positive and encouraging me to take my time and heal up.  To not get ahead of myself and walk before I run, which is useful when rehabbing an Achilles rupture - it is one of those injuries that just needs time and work.  He and my mum have helped me more than they probably know.

He also set a great example when it came to exercise himself.  He set up lunchtime running groups at his workplace, was always pretty active, and for the last 5 years I am pretty sure I could count on one hand the amount of men's group fitness sessions that he has missed.  And when he trains, he really trains.  It is often all I can do to slow him down sometimes, he just pushes himself hard every training.  Wanting to get fitter, stronger, and better at the exercises he performs.

So thanks dad, for being such a great role model both in health and fitness, but also in being a father.  I now know how hard a job that is, and just how well you did it!


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