This weekend millions of men will celebrate Fathers Day with their families. Among them are two of Bostons biggest sports stars, Ray Allen and David Ortiz. Like many professional athletes, a major part of their careers is finding a balance between their roles as players and dads.
Allen, a father of four, is about to embark on a new stage in his teenage daughters life. Meanwhile Ortiz, a father of three, has found a unique way to spend extra time with his young son. They talked about these specials points in their childrens lives with CSNNE.com.
David and DAngelo Ortiz
DAngelo Ortiz made a beeline across the Boston Red Sox clubhouse, exuding curiosity and excitement with a baseball in hand. He reached his fathers locker and asked if he knew how to grip a curveball. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz reached out his hand, practically enveloping his sons, as he took the baseball to demonstrate. The 6-year-old watched attentively, soaking it all in while Ortiz carefully explained.
The pack of reporters huddled around Ortizs locker would have to wait a few more minutes for a postgame interview. In that moment, Ortizs role as a father took precedence over answering any questions about home runs and box scores.
Like many athletes with children, Ortiz tries to spend as much time with his family as he can before hitting the road for games. As a solution, DAngelo has been accompanying him to Fenway Park since he was a toddler. Over the years he has become a mainstay in the Red Sox clubhouse, often sporting a pint-size number 34 uniform.
Ortiz, who also has 10- and 14-year-old daughters, wants to be around DAngelo whenever possible during this irreplaceable time in his life.
Were always traveling and I pretty much spend a lot of time away from him, so I dont want to miss anything. Kids do a lot of funny, crazy things, said Ortiz. This is an age that you definitely want to watch them because they grow so fast and next thing you know, theyre grown up. I think when you are between the age of 1 and 5, that should be a longer period of time because kids do so many funny things that are enjoyable.
In addition to having him around in Boston, Ortiz has been able to spend time with his children away from home as well. Ortizs favorite moment with DAngelo took place when he brought him to the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco. Ortiz attended the Home Run Derby -- and DAngelo stole the show.
This guy had been swinging since, I would say, he was in his mamas belly, Ortiz prefaced. Were in the middle of the Home Run Derby and once the guy that was hitting walked away to stop hitting, this guy walked up to the plate to swing the bat, out of nowhere. The whole crowd went crazy. Those are the little things that you want to see happening over and over and over. This guy, 3 years old, felt proud walking to the plate like it was his turn.
Ortizs time spent with his son isnt all about fun and games, though. There are still rules to follow. He believes it is important to emphasize manners and discipline to his children.
Hes a good kid. Hes very humble. He behaves himself well and when he comes to the clubhouse, everybody wants a piece of him, Ortiz said. I think thats a relationship thats going to be there forever. You want to teach them the best so they always behave and follow the example.
Ortiz would be thrilled if DAngelo followed in his footsteps on the field.
Oh, he can hit. He can definitely hit, Ortiz said. The other day I went to his Little League game and he made a good play at third base and then he hit a home run. Me and Kevin Youkilis were there and he came out off the field and all he talked about was the play that he made.
I ever see him play in the Big Leagues, its going to bring a lot of memories.
Ray and Tierra Allen
Life has been just as much about basketball as fatherhood during Ray Allens 15-year career. Allens daughter, Tierra, was born before he entered the NBA and has been able to share all the memories that he has compiled over the years -- the All-Star Games, the NBA title, and all 2,612 three-pointers.
Now Allen is looking forward to sharing in a new chapter of his daughters life -- college athletics.
Tierra, 18, graduated from Wellesley (MA) High School this spring and will play volleyball at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut in the fall, just over 50 miles away from Allen's alma mater, the University of Connecticut.
Allen expects his daughter to take the same determined approach he takes to basketball.
She now has to go and work and be one of the best players that they have, he said.
Tierra lived with her father during his time with the Seattle SuperSonics. It was important to Allen that, regardless of her dads accomplishments, she understood the importance of education and work ethic as she played both volleyball and basketball (unlike her father, Tierra is a forward). In the Allen household, succeeding in school was held with the same regard as winning a game.
The school she was in in Seattle was 99-percent graduation rate, Allen said. It was an all-girls school and the list of the schools these girls were going to, any parent would have been like, Let me send my child there. I knew she was going to go to college, and that was the biggest thing wanting her to be around kids that wanted to go to college and had great ambition.
After Allen was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007, Tierra returned to South Carolina to live with her mother. While Allen was fighting for another title, his daughter was collecting her own accolades as she earned regional volleyball player of the year honors.
Tierra moved to Wellesley last summer to live with Allen during her senior year of high school. She made her mark nearly as quickly as her father did in Boston -- she was named to the Bay State Conference All-Star Teams in both sports.
When it came time to choosing a college, the selection process was just one of the aspects of being a father (he also has three younger sons who regularly attend games) that helps keep Allen grounded.
Being a dad helps, he said. You dont stress out too much around here because youve got business to handle when you leave. You stay honest because you always know you have to be accountable, not just to these people here but to the people I go to at home.
As Tierra begins her collegiate career, Allen, who played three years of college basketball, knows firsthand about the hard work and obstacles she will face.
Im very excited and interested at the same time, he said. I know shes never worked hard like shes about to work hard. And you cant give me excuses. I told her, Theres going to be that moment where youre going to call me and say you dont like it here. And when I find out the reasons, its going to be because . . . the coach is on your butt every single day. And I was there. I was there. But I had too much pride to call home and tell somebody I cant hack it because I was going to make it work.
It wont be easy, but as Allen has proved his entire career, rewards arent given to those who take the easy way out.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCamerato