The low bar for Father of the Year

We love politicians too much and we have too low expectations for fathers.

How else to explain the choice for this year’s Father of the Year?

Think of the possible choices. Personally, mine would have been David Briscoe, who has been by his daughter’s side from the moment she crashed her bike during an unorganized race in downtown Minneapolis almost a year ago.

But he didn’t get the award. Neither did anyone else who quietly does the things that makes a father a great father.

The envelope, please (courtesy of the Associated Press):

NEW YORK (AP) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got a break from traffic scandals and budget woes Wednesday as he accepted an award for being Father of the Year.

The National Father’s Day Committee crowned the Republican governor at a ceremony in Manhattan. Other honorees included football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, shoe designer Vince Camuto and Bloomingdale’s CEO Tony Spring.

The famously combative Christie joked that when his four kids, ages 10 to 20, found out he’d been chosen for the honor, they reacted with disbelief.

“The response was universal. They just blankly stared back at me and said, `Really?”‘ Christie told attendees gathered in a hotel ballroom. “And I felt very warm about that.”

Christie often mentions his kids at public events, joking about their argumentative dinner table conversations.

He said he was also surprised by the award and, in a more serious tone, thanked his kids for putting up with “me and my crazy life.”

“For me, today is really recognition for the best thing that I get to do in my life. I get recognized and criticized and praised for all kinds of other things, but the most important thing that I get to do every day is to be a father to my four children,” he said.

Still, Christie couldn’t quite escape the George Washington Bridge scandal that has cast a shadow on his 2016 presidential ambitions.

As she introduced the governor, joking about his “small personality” and “modesty,” awards presenter Norah O’Donnell of CBS took a dig at the scandal, describing Christie as “governor of New Jersey – you know, that state right across the GW Bridge.”

The governor took the remarks in stride, however, playfully raising his eyebrows.

Later he joked that while in New York, he would refer to New Jersey as “the place on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel.”

Previous recipients of the award include former presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

The award’s standard is fathers “who have attained professional success and have found the time to be role models in raising their children.”

Because being father of the year, apparently, involves squeezing in a little time for the kids.

Christie received his award today at a luncheon attended by one of his children.

Who else could have won besides my recommendation?

How about Dick Hoyt, who at age 73, pushed his son in his wheelchair along the Boston Marathon course for the last time?

Or Daniel Murphy, the New York Mets player who gracefully handled the criticism because he missed opening day to be with his wife when his child was born?

Or this guy, who told his son that he can do better than an “F” in math?

Or this guy, who stayed home with his daughter until she was 12, and then was forced to bury her.

Or the guy in Ohio who left a party for his kids this week to jump in the lake to save a drowning girl? He’d need to receive the award posthumously.

Your nominees?

  • Gary F

    I think this all started when Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize for not doing anything.

  • Pearly

    How’s this for “low Bar”. Bill Clinton was “father of the year” also 2013.

  • Kassie

    Locally, a politician I think of as a great father is State Rep Dan Schoen. He is always posting pics of his kids on Instagram when he brings them to work at the capitol, which is often. Then of course there are the pics of his kids at home, at community events, and doing fun things. He clearly adores his kids and has found ways to be a involved father even when he’s in the midst of a legislative session.

  • The problem with these sorts of “awards” is they have give it to someone famous, so people will buy tickets and show up to the luncheon. Nobody will show up to honor the other type of fathers I described. That’s a commentary all its own, though.

    • John

      I was going to say something to this effect as well. My first thought was that they have to give it to someone “famous,” so that they can stay in business. There seems to be some level of balancing act that has to happen between becoming a sham of an organization and keeping the profile high enough to attract whatever funding pays their bills.

      I can’t even pretend to find better candidates than you’ve listed above. Not even gonna try.

      • The key to nonprofit survival is getting people with (a)influence and/or (b) money.

        • krj

          Burns: [chuckles] And to think, Smithers: you laughed when I bought TicketMaster. “Nobody’s going to pay a 100% service charge.”
          Smithers: Well, it’s a policy that ensures a healthy mix of the rich and the ignorant, sir.

      • Al

        Ditto.

    • jon

      In a world where Grumpy Cat gets to “perform” at the state fair, I think the youtube video you posted has potential for “a famous fathers.”

      Now that I think of it, I wonder if Grumpy Cat is a father… probably be a fine choice in order to pack the convention hall.

      • Jessie

        Grumpy Cat is a girl. We’ll have to wait for the Mother of the Year award…

  • Dave

    How about every dad who does the basic things expected of a dad? I’m not discounting the guy who is burying his daughter, but what choice does he have?

    “She would reach out to the kids who weren’t popular — you know, the ‘nerdy’ kids.” ??? I’m sorry you lost your popular daughter.

    • I’m kinda thinking staying home with her for 12 years sets him a tad apart from most other fathers.

      • Jack

        Totally agree with you there Bob.

      • Dave

        Why? I can’t afford to stay home with my daughter. Is he a better dad than me for that reason?

        • It’s not a question that can be answered until you submit your fatherhood story.

  • Doug Spraungel

    For another HERO dad; Randy California from the 60’s rock group Spirit. Randy drowned rescuing and saving his 12-year-old son Quinn from a rip current in Hawaii.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    Yeah, that’s a little weird. I’ve seen up close the way holding office challenges parents, and I know they try d*mn hard. But this feels like an award given to get attention.

  • davehoug

    ANY award is defined by who gets it. Not much to see here, just suck-ups wanting some face time with big names.