All pro dads

Not every dad can be an all pro for a football team, but they can be all pros for their children.

The All Pro Dad Simulcast, an event mixing physical fitness, faith and bonding time for fathers and their children, took place at Immanuel Baptist Church Saturday afternoon.

All Pro Dad is a program developed by Family First, a nonprofit organization that uses technology and advocates principles for building marriages and parenting children to help people put families first.

Brian Skar, pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Minot, said All Pro Dad was broadcast live over the Internet from Indianapolis to participating churches all over the country.

“Really what they’re doing is they’re trying to encourage fathers to be more engaged and more emotionally involved, physically involved in their children’s lives,” Skar said.

The headline star of the event was Tony Dungy, who won the Super Bowl twice – Super Bowl XIII after the 1978 season as a player with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and more famously Super Bowl XLI after the 2006 season as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

There were also a number of other hosts during the event who either played or coached football in the past. In keeping with the football theme, Immanuel Baptist Church held a tailgate party with hot dogs, chili and ice cream before the simulcast kicked off.

This is the second simulcast the church has had. Skar said they participated in a simulcast with Beth Moore, a Christian speaker, about a year ago.

The All Pro Dad Simulcast consisted of a live Internet feed pumped from a computer hooked up to a projector so everyone could watch. There were five different stations dedicated to different activities, and after each station was demonstrated on the live feed, dads got some time to do that activity with their children.

Station one was the running back station. Dads lined up behind their children and took an imaginary hand-off from them, running into the end zone for a touchdown. The dads then did a touchdown dance and hugged their children afterwards. The station emphasized to dads that they should take every opportunity to hug their children and tell them how much they love them.

Station two was the defensive back station, with dads and their children helping each other do sit ups and push-ups. This station reminded fathers to be deliberate about spending time with their children.

Station three was the quarterback station, where everyone learned the duck walk. The duck walk required participants to squat while walking before standing to throw a pass. This station asked dads to commit to being the quarterback of their family. And because quarterbacks know their receivers, it also tested how well dads knew their children by challenging dads to name favorite things in their childrens’ lives, such as friends, movies and food.

Station four was the team chaplain station. Dads and their children did a “trust fall,” where the children fell backward and trusted their fathers to catch them. This station challenged dads to be the spiritual leader of their family and to help their children pray and attend church regularly.

Station five was the coaching station. It tasked fathers and children with writing short notes to each other, telling them how much they love them. Dads were then challenged to write encouraging notes to each of their children regularly throughout the year.

Skar said they heard about the program from a flyer the church received in the mail.

“A couple of us were sitting in my office one day and we thought, well, Tony Dungy. He’s written a couple of books about Christianity. He’s a man of strong faith,” Skar said. “And he’s of course a big name since the Colts won the Super Bowl a few years ago.”

The cost of the program was within the church’s budget, and they decided to go for it and open their doors to anyone in the community who wanted to attend. As an added bonus, their quick action in signing up for All Pro Dad got them a unique bonus item.

“We were one of the first 75 churches to sign up for this, so we got a signed football and we raffled that off,” Skar said.

The football, signed by Tony Dungy, was won by Avery Fore, who attended All Pro Dad with her father, Blake.

Around 30 people turned out for All Pro Dad, and Skar hopes to have even more show up for future events.

Skar said spending meaningful time with his children is one of the most important things a father can do, and now more than ever that time has become valuable and precious.

“From a pastor’s point of view, with the Newtown thing going on in Connecticut, everybody wonders what we can do. And I think learning how to do the father thing and be good fathers, I think that is probably the best thing we can do in America right now to prevent that type of tragedy,” Skar said. “Spend time with the kids, meaningful time with the kids. I think that’s an important thing. Fatherhood is pretty important.”