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Exercising to Be the Best Dad - Written By Anna Howard

In 1985 my parents had three children ages 14, 11, and 8. In September my dad was turning 50 and my mom 40 shortly after. Form your own conclusions (mistake, oops, miracle); I was a surprise. When my mom told my dad she was pregnant, he responded, “I’m going to start running so I can see our baby graduate.” He began running and working out after a 14 year hiatus.

During the first 36 years of his life he was a collegiate basketball legend joining varsity as a Freshman. Listening to his coaches and teammates talk about him I learned he truly was one of the best.  Not only that, he was in ROTC to help pay his way through college (only child of 11 to graduate); played baseball; bowled a 289; earned a Master’s degree; taught middle school; coached football, baseball, basketball, and track; and settled down to marry at age 33. From 33 to 36 he slowed down coaching, gained some weight, built a house and became a first-time dad. He remained a teacher and, in the summer’s, taught driver’s ed and did paid house-construction gigs while my mom raised three children. Over those 14 years his focus shifted from athletics to providing for his family. A new reality struck in 1985 that to provide for his fourth child, he needed to be alive and healthy.

Growing up, the dad I had was an incredibly fit retired teacher who ran to and from the gym five days a week. He cooked, worked on house projects, and played catch. All my friends thought he was old, but I thought he was amazing.

My dad is 83, still exercises, gardens, and climbs on the roof. His physical setbacks have been caused from getting hit by a car, tripping on a basketball to then fall and tear his rotator cuff, followed by hanging from a 9 foot shelf and dropping to his feet because a ladder broke under him. He is resilient to these accidents because he exercises. For 69 of 83 years he has prioritized exercise to be the best dad for me, my siblings, wife, grandkids…it’s a true testament to his chivalrous ways. Every day he lives to take care of those around him. He is so giving and loving that even his exercise routine is for the end goal of being present in our family as long as possible. He is simply the best.

- Anna Howard

Grandpa Harley

Harley Basketball