Chicago Tribune: Fathers Day article

On Father's Day, the new sporting dynamic

Daughters note dads' roles in their athletic careers


Philip Hersh

4:44 PM CDT, June 18, 2011

Over my four decades as a sports journalist, the most significant change in the U.S. sporting scene has been the ever-expanding participation of girls and women.

What began with the passage of Title IX in 1972 has developed into women seizing the opportunity to compete in every sport.

And that has created a new domestic dynamic: dads having a catch with daughters; coaching them; joining them as fans; sharing in their sporting successes and failures.

I asked several leading female athletes to talk about what their dads had meant to their sporting careers - in terms of both support and advice.

Their answers are the best way to say HappyFather's Day.

Meryl Davis, reigning ice dance world champion and Olympic silver medalist with partner Charlie White, on Paul Davis:

Something my dad has always done, and continues to do, is talk to me about how much my skating career has enhanced my life. Over the years, skating has taken me around the world, introduced me to classical music, inspirational people, all different kinds of dance, and has instilled qualities in me that have shaped who I have become on and off the ice.

Keeping a healthy perspective on life is something my parents have worked hard to help me achieve, and understanding the capacity my skating career plays in my life does just that.

Whether a competition is a great success or a terrible flop, I know my dad will be waiting at home to tell me how proud he is of my efforts and the way I handle myself. That kind of support is invaluable, and helps me realize that what lies beyond the medals themselves is of much greater importance.

Photo: World champion Meryl Davis and her dad, Paul, before she and ice dance partner Charlie White threw out the first pitch at a Tigers' game this spring. (Courtesy Meryl Davis)

For what other athletes had to say, HERE'S the full article


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