What an image. With tears in his eyes New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Blees held his son, Gaylen, aloft moments after the Saints stunned the Indianapolis Colts to win their first-ever Superbowl.
The boost to the city of New Orleans notwithstanding–even as the new energy that marvelous city feels can’t be overstated–there’s an important moment in the evolving definitions of masculinity that shouldn’t be overlooked in the midst of all the celebrating in the French Quarter and around the country.
For several minutes it was a teary-eyed father looking into his son’s eyes, holding him, transmitting love and care before an audience of millions. The high fivin’ and shuckin’ and jivin’ with teammates was playing second fiddle to a father beaming love to his son. We need lots more of that expression of manhood seen and celebrated, affirmed and acknowledged.
For so many dads that moment prompted memories of their own teary moments with their children, moments that were never televised but are just as real. We see too many images of men behaving badly–bad news seems to take care of itself–so every opportunity to put the loving face of fatherhood and manhood before the public should be celebrated. I’m not so naive to believe that, among the revelers in N’awlins “who dattin’” all over town, there are a few saying “You go, Drew!” to the Saints quarterback, winner of the MVD–Most Valuable Dad award–at least on a glorious Sunday night in Miami.
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Joe Kelly author of Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter