Happy Father’s Day

Alison Bender   Personal  

Well how could I not write a blog on Father’s day when my husband is being “Super Dad”? Yes I know the kids are both of ours and I shouldn’t be grateful that he’s simply doing what parents do, but he is going above and beyond by holding the fort for five weeks while I’m here in Russia, which means a whole lot of bath and bedtimes (which I can tell you are both wonderful and exhausting in equal measure), night time wake ups from the kids and I doubt any social life. Hats off to all the single parents out there. What a job you do.

It was he who encouraged me whole-heartedly to go to Russia. “You must go, this is what you do” and it’s he who’ll be on the end of the line 24/7 when I’m feeling down, or stressed. I know it’s a cliché but he really is my rock.

Father’s day now always reminds me of the embarrassing moment when I dissolved into tears in front of Roberto Martinez. Two years ago I was in Paris for the Euros. My husband had come over on the Eurostar to see me for a couple of days with my son. As I said goodbye to them and walked back along Boulevard Saint-Germain I bumped into the now Belgium coach (a pundit for ESPN at the time) just heading off to a father’s day lunch with his little daughter and wife. She is about the same age as my boy I’d just said goodbye to. Suddenly I felt a stinging in my eyes and I started welling up. The nicer he was to me the more upset I was getting. Finally his wife just wrapped her arms around me and gave me a huge hug, and I bawled! It’s tough being away from family, especially on notable days.

Here at ESPN I’m very lucky that it’s like a big (multicultural) family. Many of the guys here are Dads and so they’ve organised a big cake for them all. It’s a lovely touch and something I know is appreciated.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a big up to all the amazing dads out there, especially my own. I couldn’t be prouder of him. He started with nothing, was bullied at school and grew up in a very poor household after his own dad left his mum with him and his physically disabled brother. Dad grew a fighting spirit and started his own business (even though he barely had an education). He’s one of the happiest and most confident people I know and the biggest party animal you’ll ever meet. His positive attitude is an inspiration. Dad has suffered four primary cancers but he’s come through them all. He said he wants to live to 100 and sometimes I believe he will.

Happy Fathers Day to all of you out there x