By Natalie Johnson | 6/15/14 7:20 AM
A father is often one of the biggest influences in our lives, and today, Major League Lacrosse would like to thank everyone who acts as a father or father figure. In celebration of Father’s Day, we asked players around the league about their fathers and other men who are significant in their lives. Several were kind enough to share photos and stories about what makes their dad so great.
Like so many fathers, Jordan Hall’s dad has always been committed to the success of his children. The Florida midfielder told us, “My dad was a huge part of who I am today. He raised my brother and I alone throughout high school. Always found time to take he and I to our different sports and different teams that were apart of year round. He was a shuttle service for a good 4 years. He was a staple at practice and games coaching on the sideline or on the car ride home. I remember him taking me to 4:45AM hockey practice and was surprised the days he slept in the car during the hour practice. The occasional donut into the snow bank kept that drive interesting. Thanks Dad. Love you!”
Chris Mattes’ father is also dedicated to his son’s passions. Mattes (Florida Launch) said, “My dad has been someone who has always supported me in everything I wanted to do as well as never missing a high school or college lacrosse game. He has also been a role model in my life and a mentor who always tells meas it is and what he really believes which has helped me grow.”
For many of us, it’s difficult to imagine where would be without the love and support from our fathers. Eric O’Brien of the Ohio Machine said, “Happy Father’s Day to Mike OB! Thank you for the presence you have made in my life to get me where I am at now. Athlete, Business Owner, Role Model, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Paul Rabil wanted to share just how thankful he is for his father. The Boston midfielder told us, “My father, Allan, has set an incredible example for me. He's the character root of my competitiveness, hard work and integrity. Always sends me a note pre-game, with a special prayer for success. Love you, pops!"
Parents are often the first role models we encounter, and many players look up to their father as an example of strong character and unwavering dedication. Steve Brooks (Chesapeake Bayhawks) told us, “I would like to say happy Father's Day to the greatest dad in the world. With out you I would not be where I am today. I continue to look up to you and you will always be my role model. Thank you for everything you have done for me. Love you Dad!!”
Brodie Merrill’s father has played several important roles in his life. The Cannons defenseman said, “Happy father’s day to my friend, coach, and mentor. I appreciate all your guidance and support over the years.”
Not only is today a day to be thankful for our own dads, but also to appreciate the hard work of all the fathers we know. Denver’s Jesse Schwartzman had two men in particular to thank. “This is me and my dad, Robert. He has been so supportive in whatever I do from the beginning and has always been my biggest fan and put me and my brother ahead of everything. Thanks Dad. Love you.”
Schwartzman also shared a second photo, explaining that this is “my man Brad(Chubby) on the left. Chub has been a huge fan and an inspiration to me on how to live your life. He is a tremendous father, and even a better person. Happy Father's Day to you both. You are the best.”
Ryan Creighton of the Florida Launch had a similar message for his father. “Dad- thanks for all the opportunities you have made possible for me. I am lucky to call you my Dad. Love you.”
Chris Eck of the Boston Cannons said that he attributes much of his success to his father. “While my dad never picked up a lacrosse stick as a kid, he was the driving force behind me beginning to play. Without him I wouldn't be the man I am today, as he taught me drive, discipline and everything else it takes to be successful on and off the field. He's who I strive to be like each and every day, and someone who embodies what it truly means to be man.”
Although not everyone is lucky enough to still have their father around, a dad’s influence always remains, and Father’s Day is a great day to reflect on that remarkable impact. New York’s Kyle Hartzell shared a heartfelt story with us. “I lost my dad unexpectedly this past December and it was the hardest thing I have gone through in my entire life. My dad got me into sports early on starting with baseball and soccer. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be where I am at today. He was my biggest fan and was always excited for the weekends because that's when he could watch me play. I miss him and know he is watching me play from a better place on the weekends. Happy Fathers Day, Dad.”
Mitch Belisle of the Boston Cannons summed up a father’s incredible impact well, saying, “My dad has always been one of my biggest inspirations, motivators and fans. He has always been there for me and shaped me into the person and athlete that I am today. I cannot thank him enough for instilling the drive to succeed and sense of competition that have allowed me to achieve my lacrosse dreams. Thanks for everything dad, Happy Father's Day and I love you.”
Take time today to thank and appreciate the fathers and father figures in your life. You might even want to buy them a gift in the MLL Shop or better yet, tickets to the MLL All Star Game, to let them know how grateful you are. Happy Father’s Day!