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On this day, this one’s for all our dads

This is for the dad who catches fastballs from his son, crouching in the driveway every night after work, making believe it’s a big league bullpen.

This is for the dad who leaves at the end of Sunday Mass with his daughter fast asleep on his shoulder.

This is for the dad who has been sober for more than 20 years.

This is for the dad who has been a devoted foster parent to more children than he can count.

This is for the dad who brought home his firstborn the other day.

This is for the dad who puts on his gun and shield and hits the streets to protect us from ourselves day in and day out.

This is for the dad who just lost his father.

This is for the dad of three, whose firstborn was a girl, followed by another girl, followed at last by a boy, and then has to laugh about the way life works when he finds out his younger brother’s firstborn is going to be a boy.

This is for the dad who has had an enduring football career at the high school, collegiate and professional levels and decides the time has come to put it aside for good.

This is for the dad who got laid off, went back to college, finished his degree and celebrated the accomplishment the same weekend his youngest graduated from high school.

This is for the dad, a veteran, whose kid is in Iraq or Afghanistan.

This is for the dad who is Mr. Mom and loves it.

This is for the dad who knows exactly what to say when his teenager experiences that first heartbreak.

This is for the dad who is the father figure for all those kids he mentors every day in summer camp.

This is for the dad who took his wide-eyed children to their first bull riding event last Saturday in Myakka City.

This is for the dad who gladly makes a fool out of himself, joining other dads to put on a hilarious skit to entertain their daughters’ dance team.

This is for the dad who knew his daughter deserved far better than she got in her first marriage, but never said, “I told you so,” and remained her pillar of strength.

This is for the dad who is still on the sidelines every Friday night even after his sons are done playing, graduated and gone.

Happy Father’s Day, men.

Mannix About Manatee, by local columnist Vin Mannix,is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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