March Madness

Bonds of Real Strength: Of Brotherhood and Fatherhood

As we get older we evolve. We learn from the lessons of the past and apply them to provide a better future for our children. As I grow as a man and father, my image of friendship and fatherhood is evolving.

Dove Men+Care recently provided me with the opportunity to attend the NCAA Midwest Regional in Chicago. Not only was I able to attend a March Madness game, but I was able to do so with my best friend, my brother.

When we were children my brother, Paul, collected a binder full of basketball cards. Open that binder and you’ll find players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and of course, Michael Jordan.

Over fifteen years later and I've still got that flimsy binder filled with legends of the past.
Over fifteen years later and I’ve still got that flimsy binder filled with legends of the past.

Like many young kids, I was enamored with Michael Jordan’s talent on the court. As we grew up we moved out, parted ways and formed families of our own. Somehow at the end of it all, my older brother remains one of my best friends.

So on the Friday of the game we hopped into my SUV and started our trip from the Detroit area all the way to Chicago. Along the way we talked about our children, our careers and of course basketball. We spoke of evolving as people. We wondered how we loved basketball so much as kids, but as adults we’d lost touch with the sport. We couldn’t quite figure that out, but we were happy to spend time with each other.

According to research, Sports is an environment where men often feel most comfortable connecting with their friends and showing care for each other and two thirds of men bond with their friends over sports. I can’t lie, this rings true for us. Whether attending a basketball game, watching college football or cheering on our children at baseball and softball games, we always seem to find time to catch up at these events.IMG_2071

After a four hour trip we arrived in Chicago and took in the game, the fans and the food. Neither of our teams made it to the game, but we enjoyed the sport none-the-less. In fact, we were able to reconnect with the game that kept us glued to the television screen when we were children.

Along the way I ran into another dad and friend. We’re both members of a great group called the City Dads Group. He’s based in Chicago and I’m, of course, in Detroit. We took a moment to catch up and grab a photo-op. In that moment I felt blessed to be in a city that wasn’t my own, but amongst friends who understand the intricacies of fatherhood.

After the game concluded something clicked and reminded me… “Hey! You’re in Chicago!”

At that point we knew we had to track down a piece of our childhood. We both loved Jordan and the Bulls as children. So we made our way down the corridor and there, encased in glass, were the six championship trophies that the Chicago Bulls won when we were younger. It reminded us of the good times, but most of all, it reminded us of where we came from. At the end of the day, we’ll always be brothers, but in that moment we shined as best friends.

My brother, Paul, with the six championship trophies in Chicago.
My brother, Paul, with the six championship trophies in Chicago.

As the day ended we made the four hour drive back to our homes. We discussed the city and the game and then something happened. Something real. We went right back to discussing our children and lives and work because that… that’s what is real.

Visit http://www.dovemencare.us/ncaa/ to learn about Bonds of Strength and the relationship between UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie and former Head Coach Jim Calhoun.

Disclosure: I was provided with free tickets and a fuel card for the NCAA game. However, I was not compensated for this post. Thank you to Dove Men+Care for continually supporting and fostering the growth of fatherhood and friendship between men.