Cancer Survivor Nate Solder Opts-Out of NFL Season Due to Son’s Cancer

Nate Solder
(Getty/Al Bello)

New York Giants offensive lineman Nate Solder became the most high-profile player to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season, as the former first-round draft pick announced his difficult decision on Wednesday. Solder said, after consulting with his family, he has decided to pause for this season.

A major factor for Solder? His son, who is battling cancer. Having a high-risk child changes the equation completely. Solder himself is a cancer survivor, having battled testicular cancer five years ago.

“Our family has health concerns, most notably our son’s ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer. We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy,” Solder said in his statement. “With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football.”

Solder is giving up a lot trading a season as an offensive tackle for a season just as a dad. He would’ve made nearly $10 million in salary to play the 2020 season. Instead, he’ll collect the $350,000 stipend $9.9 million this season and now will collect only the $350,000 stipend the NFL is allowing for high-risk players who opt-out.

Solder has made a name for himself with a long career (by NFL standards) marked by being a starter on several Super Bowl-winning teams, but even more so by his actions off the field. Solder is a giant of a player (he’s 6-9 and over 300 pounds), but his heart is even bigger, as he’s made a habit of supporting multiple charities and causes. His outstanding charity work earned him a nomination for the NFL’s “Man of the Year” award on multiple occasions throughout his career.

Giant head coach Joe Judge, who also was a coach on the Patriots staff while Solder was in New England, said Nate made the decision that was best for his family, and that the entire organization supported him in that decision.

The Dad Of The Month, July 2020: Marwin Fernandez

(Photos courtesy of Jennifer Fernandez)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for July, 2020: Marwin Fernandez. Marwin is one of the brave medical professionals on the front lines fighting against COVID-19, an all-star father to two boys, and a loving husband. His wife, Jennifer, couldn’t help but gush about him in her submission:

“My husband Marwin truly gives his all to his family and is dedicated to working as an ER nurse, showing compassion to everyone in our small-town community. He is a badass that stands and fights death on the daily. He loves what he does and that he makes a difference in people’s lives each day and support his family by doing it. He comes home after a 12 hr shift, his pedometer often registering over 20,000+ steps and reads to our two boys (Landon age 6 and Kai age 4), feeds our dog, and hugs his wife (that’s me Jenn, a local art teacher). He supports me as an artist and will often watch our kids so that I can pursue my professional teaching degrees and have time to work on creating my own art.

“He worked tirelessly during the pandemic often putting himself at risk, therefore having to socially distance himself from his own family for about 2 weeks after his exposure. It was heartbreaking for him to explain to the boys that he couldn’t give them hugs and that he could only video chat with them, but they made the best of it because it was best for everyone.

“He was also working the day of the fatal school bus accident on the highway nearest to Hackettstown Medical Center. They received a few urgent patients at his hospital, one of which—his patient—was a young student. It was questionable how her severe injuries would have affected her life long-term if she had not received his team’s (because he is supported by many) knowledge, quick thinking, and care that ultimately resulted in saving her life. Months later, he was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to meet this young girl, see her smile, and give her a hug once she was healed because that is what it is all about!

“Last year we had the opportunity to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Marwin made sure to get out there at 4 AM in the cold just to make sure his kids got front row seats. This is a true testament to the great dad he is. He also recently taught our 4-year-old, Kai, to ride his bike without training wheels and helped Landon achieve his many cub scout badges. It would be a great honor for him to receive the DAD award because it sounds super hardcore (just like him) and being a Dad is truly the thing that he is most proud of!

“He left his home country of the Philippines to move here when he was 16 and work as an EMT, then a full time as a tech to support his family, having had his first daughter at the age of 20, all while completing nursing school. We are celebrating our 10th year of marriage this year and I was finally able to convince him to take a break from working his second job as a per diem PACU nurse at night. This way he can (maybe) get some rest and no doubt enjoy his time off on the weekends with his boys going on hikes, camping, and fishing.

“He was recently acknowledged for dedication to nursing this past November as the first Daisy award honoree at Hackettstown Medical Center for his ability to create an environment where attributes of trust, compassion, mutual respect for his colleagues and his patients.”

To honor Marwin and his tireless commitment to his family and community, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Marwin’s dedication to excellence in both the medical field and as a father is something we should all aspire for in our own lives!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

12-Yr-Old Proudly Shows Dad His Social Awareness Machine Invention

12-Year-Old Proudly Shows Dad His Social Awareness Machine Invention
(Twitter/kylegotjokes2)

For the past several months, we’ve been told to practice social distancing to protect ourselves and those around us from COVID-19. A seemingly simple task, right? Stay six feet apart to prevent the spread of droplets from one person to another. If you’ve ever tried to eyeball the length of a shelf or cabinet though, you’ve probably realized that we aren’t great at it. Add to that already difficult task the fact that people are often moving targets, and we really have to use our noodles to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

12-Year-old Keashon Harris from Pennsylvania noticed this problem in his own everyday life, so he decided to solve it. Keashon’s invention is simple – the device which he calls a Social Awareness Machine (or S.A.M.) measures a distance of six feet in front of the person holding it. If someone comes within that six feet, the machine lets out a high-pitched beep.

“It beeps and screams at you”, Keashon says laughing, in a video that has accumulated over 200,000 Twitter likes in less than a week. The video shows Keashon presenting the S.A.M. to his dad – although he’s modest, he’s clearly very proud of what he built. “This is basically a machine that you made to monitor people are staying at least six feet away from each other, right?” Keashon’s dad echoes, showing both interest and a hint of awe at his son’s creation, the type of parental affirmation that kids can’t get enough of (even if they don’t show it).

The video itself was shared by Keashon’s dad with the caption “Proud dad moment”, but the 12-year-old’s dad is far from his only cheerleader. This honor student is being hailed as a genius, with his seemingly simple invention helping to solve a prevalent problem. Comments like, “your son has an AMAZING mind! he’s going places,” and “I can’t wait to see where this young man is headed in the future. This is incredible,” overflow in response to the video. A proud dad moment, absolutely – but also a renewed confidence that the world is in good hands with the next generation.

12 Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week 7/31/20

12 Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week 7/31/20
(Getty/REDA&CO Twitter/HenpeckedHal)

July is in the books, or as we like to call it, 4th March. It hasn’t been an easy one, with so many summer activities canceled and normal life still on pause. But you made it, hopefully in one piece. Take a break, relax, and enjoy 12 of the funniest parenting tweets from this week.

It’s a confusing time.

Ok, a REALLY confusing time.

But if we stay alert,

And always remember to compromise,

We may finally get the answers we’ve been looking for.

We’re all doing our best,

Learning lessons along the way.

Remembering how far we’ve come,

And how far we may still have to go.

But by taking time to unwind,

And using a little imagination,

Sometimes we find exactly what we’re looking for.

Did you miss last week’s funniest parenting tweets??

Bryan Cranston Reveals He Had COVID-19, Donates Plasma

Cranston Donates Plasma
(Instagram/bryancranston)

When COVID-19 first hit, there were two major markers that let everyone know this was the real deal. The first was when the NBA suspended all games after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, and the second was when Tom Hanks and his wife announced they’d also contracted the coronavirus. Sports stopped and America’s Movie Star Dad got sick: things were suddenly quite real.

In the months since there hasn’t been a ton of stories about celebrities catching corona, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. In fact, one of TV’s biggest stars just revealed that he’d been sick, and is now not only recovering but is donating his plasma to help others who are fighting the disease.

“I wanted to announce that I had COVID-19 a little while ago. Very lucky, very mild symptoms,” Cranston said. “So I thought maybe there’s something I can do, so I started a program [at UCLA Blood and Platelet Center] so hopefully the plasma donation can help some other people.”

Bryan Cranston, aka Walter White, aka Heisenberg, aka The One Who Knocks, posted a video on his Instagram page in which he divulged the news that he’d been sick with COVID-19. He is now recovered and is hoping his antibodies can help. In the video, he explains his symptoms, the process of donating 840 milliliters of his plasma to the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center, and he encourages everyone to stay safe and adhere to the proper guidelines.

“I was pretty strict in adhering to the protocols and still… I contracted the virus. Yep. it sounds daunting now that over 150,000 Americans are dead because of it,” Cranston wrote in the caption to the video. “I was one of the lucky ones… I count my blessings and urge you to keep wearing the damn mask, keep washing your hands, and stay socially distant. We can prevail – but ONLY if we follow the rules together.”

Cranston’s show, Breaking Bad, was just voted the best TV show of the 21st century by Twitter, so not only is it good news that he has recovered from his illness, it’s even better than he’s breaking good and using his antibodies to help others who get sick.

Science, bitch!

Dad Reflexes Save the Day when Man Spots Gator Approaching 4-Year-Old

Dad Reflexes Save the Day when Man Spots Gator Approaching 4-Year-Old
(YouTube/KPRC 2 Click2Houston)

Do you get your dad reflexes the moment you become a dad, or do they only kick in when you really need them? Either way, Andrew Grande Sr. is extremely lucky that his were operating in full-force last Friday. On a seemingly ordinary day, Grande’s 4-year-old daughter Brandalyn (nicknamed Bambi) was playing by the creek near her house with her brother and babysitter. By some stroke of luck, Grande happened to be about 10 yards away when he noticed something strange.

In the middle of the generally calm creek, Grande saw something emerge from the water slightly, and then dip back down. In a split second, it clicked in the quick-thinking dad’s mind – the figure bobbing up and down in the water was an alligator, and its gaze was locked on his 4-year-old. Without hesitation, Grande dropped what he was doing and sped towards his daughter.

Robin Randolph, the family’s babysitter, described the frightening day to Click 2 Huston. She recalled, “(The gator) was making a bee-line for us. Andrew had knocked me into the gate. Picked up Bambi and threw her over the fence.”

While Grande went to work protecting his family, the alligator wasn’t deterred. He remained nearby, head half-submerged, likely waiting to see if anyone was left behind. It’s hard to say what would have happened if Grande hadn’t been paying attention, but thanks to his vigilance and dad-like reflexes, his kids and babysitter are safe. After several hours and boatloads of bravery, the 11 foot 7 inch alligator was relocated to Gator Country in Beaumont, Texas by an alligator hunter. Grande doesn’t harbor any ill will towards his toothy visitor. In fact, he plans to pay him a visit one day – maybe without the kids.

Dont’a Hightower Opts Out of Season Citing Concern for Newborn and Mom

Dont'a Hightower Opts Out
(Instagram/_boomtower)

Major League Baseball is back, the NBA is about to, and the NFL is skipping preseason games and entering training camp. But as COVID numbers continue to surge across the country, it is yet to be seen whether these games will go on long enough to finish their seasons.

MLB is already encountering major problems, even after shortening their season to a mere 60 games. Several members of the Marlins have gotten sick, causing panic in league offices and giving commissioner Rob Manfred another black mark. Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is sitting pretty as his 300+ bubbled-up players in Orlando continue to show no cases despite continual testing.

The NFL is next up, and they’ve mostly been quiet as training camp looms. But some players are opting out, with the New England Patriots, recent Cam Newton signers, facing some of the most high profile defections.

The latest is Dont’a Hightower, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The linebacker is a team captain and three-time Super Bowl winner, but he’s also a dad who had a baby a mere two weeks ago, and he’s opting out of the season out of concern for his family’s health.

Hightower joins Patriots tackle Marcus Cannon, safety Patrick Chung, RBs Brandon Bolden, and Danny Vitale, and offensive linemen Najee Toran in sitting out the season. Not only does Hightower have a new baby, but his mother is also at higher risk due to her diabetes, as he shared on his Instagram a couple of years ago.

According to CNN, Hightower and other players who choose to skip this season will receive a $150,000 salary advance, with players who are “high-risk” getting an additional bonus, as per an agreement between the league and the player’s union. There is no deadline yet set for when players have to decide if they’re opting out, but as September approaches, things are getting more urgent.

The Patriots already lost Tom Brady to the Buccaneers, and with multiple players choosing safety over football, their path to the playoffs, and another AFC East title, is going to be rougher than ever. If the season actually happens.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A message to #PatsNation 🙏🏾✊🏾

A post shared by Donta Hightower (@_boomtower) on

Mahomes, New Royals Owner, #4 on NFL Players List, Is Taking Notes

Mahomes taking notes
(Twitter/thelaymansterms)

2020 has been pretty rough for most of us. But most of us aren’t Patrick Mahomes.

The 24-year-old quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs won his first Super Bowl and first Super Bowl MVP award in February in a thrilling comeback against the San Francisco 49ers. And while recent months have seen the sports world shut down during a pandemic, you’ve got to assume Mahomes is still enjoying something of a victory lap. It can’t hurt that last month he signed the most expensive contract in NFL history, securing a ten-year future with his team in the process.

To follow that up, Mahomes, the son of major league pitcher Pat Mahomes, recently acquired an ownership stake in the Kansas City Royals, which, on top of his decade-plus deal with the Chiefs, seems to really make it clear that he isn’t leaving the city any time soon.

Things are going pretty well for the young phenom. At least, they were. Until the NFL released its list of the league’s top 100 players.

That’s right. Somehow, the reigning Super Bowl champ and Super Bowl MVP, a mere season removed from the league MVP award, is ranked 4th. Raven’s phenom Lamar Jackson got the number one spot, despite flaming out in the playoffs two years in a row. You get the feeling that the likable, charismatic, seemingly easygoing Mahomes takes most things in stride, but the good news for Chiefs fans is that this does not seem to be one of those things.

The QB responded to his second straight year at the number four spot on the list with a tweet that was short and to the point:

My man is taking notes and/or making a list, presumably of the people in front of him on the NFL’s list, in a clear indication that he is not planning to forget this snub anytime soon.

Twitter reacted, including longtime NBA player and Boston College alum (ever to excel!) Jared Dudley, who is scared – probably for everyone else in the NFL:

Players of Mahomes’ caliber don’t get where they are without being competitive, and while the young QB often seems laidback, he didn’t become the youngest Super Bowl MVP and Super Bowl winner by not caring. And if he did, well, the league is about to be in even more trouble, because he cares now.

At the top of this piece, I mentioned that things were going pretty well for Mahomes until these rankings came out, but I was wrong. They’re still going well for him. If the past few years are any indication, it’s everyone else in the league that is going to suffer.

Father Figures: My Rock

“This guy has been my rock through this whole crazy experience.

Our first baby was born at 25 weeks. With slim chances of survival, he was by both our sons’ and my side throughout the 97 long days and tons of sleepless nights in the NICU.

Thank you for everything you do for us everyday!”

– Catherine Olenicz

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Steelers Running Back Strikes Again, Surprises Mom With New House

James Conner Buys Mom New Home
(Instagram/jamesconner)

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner has done it again. Last month, he made a splash with his emotional video of surprising his dad with a truck. The dynamic player wanted to show his dad how much he appreciated his support and the video he shared was viewed more than 6 million times.

And now, he’s taken care of mom. Conner shared the grand unveiling on Instagram, and the video is every bit as moving as the one of his dad. His mom is in tears almost instantly.

Conner wrote on Instagram that it was a thank you for all of her sacrifices.

“Welcome HOME Ma! You’ve sacrificed so much and we can’t thank you enough! You’re the reason I go to work day in and day out, to finally give you a place you can call Home. I Love you”


So mom and dad are taken care of, who is next? Conner has basically turned his social media accounts into a Christmas in Summer sideshow, so maybe he finds a way to thank any siblings, cousins, or former grade school classmate next?

A truly awesome move by a great player, who is starting to turn into Oprah with his grand giveaways, but we are here for it.

SIGN UP NOW FOR THE DAD GAMING LEAGUE

The Dad Gaming League Launch Announcement

Our days are filled with housework, work-work, and keeping one or more small humans happy and alive. We wouldn’t trade it for the world, but sometimes dads need a break.

This year, The Dad is teaming up with Planters to bring you the first-ever The Dad Gaming League–a season of big games, delicious snacks, and comfortably moderate stakes! Each month we’ll host a tournament of a fan-favorite game, hosted and live-streamed by The Dad. Sign up today!

MONEY, SWAG, AND SNACKS (OH MY)

We have over $5000 in prizes, but giveaways aren’t only for sweaty try-hards. We’re parents. We just want everyone to try their best and have a good time. We’ll randomly give away cash, cool swag, and Planters snacks to people who sign up, not just the elite gamers. Get eliminated first in a particularly embarrassing fashion? You get a prize! 

Most exciting of all? We’ve teamed up with Planters to create the first-ever official The Dad Gaming esports jersey. All Event winners will get these bad boys. And we’re giving them to 25 random people just for signing up!

The Dad Gaming League Jersey

Gaming and snacks go together like that video game plumber who dresses in red and his brother who dresses in green. So we’ll be dropping tons of epic Planters snack loot boxes. And while gaming, we’ll be throwin’ back some Planters Pop-and-Pours, designed with gamers in mind. These aerodynamic containers let you snag a delicious mouthful of Planters snacks while keeping your hands and controller free from salt and oil! 

Joel gaming with pop n pour

(Rules and restrictions apply. See for details.)

HOW TO PLAY

You can play in as many of the events as you want. After signing up, each month we’ll send you specifics for how to join each event.

SCHEDULE 

  • August 21 – Fortnite
  • September 18 – Mario Kart
  • October 9 – Rocket League
  • November 13 – Apex Legends
  • December 11 – Super Smash Bros
  • Week of December 28 – TBD Bonus Holiday Tournament

JOIN THE LEAGUE! 

BOOTCAMP

Interested in gaming, but worried about lookin’ like some sorta noob? Fear not! We’ve got you covered. Each month we’ll release a The Dad Gaming Bootcamp article outlining strategies and need-to-know terms relevant to each game, so you’ll have plenty of time to get up to speed. The Dad Gaming League is designed to level-up all dads together!

Nothing is better than sharing the controller, and some awesome snacks with the kids. 

So pull up a gaming chair, dim the lights, pop some Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts – maybe some Cheez Balls for your little squadmate, and get ready to game!

SQUAD UP

Fill out the form and join the squad! 

You can also join us to hang out and talk gaming, parenting, and gaming while parenting in our Facebook group. Or follow us for gaming content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Twitch.

Pick up the sticks, grab a Pop and Pour, and we’ll see you out there.

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour!  

Hawk Rescued From Grill Of Car

Twitter Votes Breaking Bad the Best Show of the 21st Century

Breaking Bad Voted #1
(AMC)

The early 21st century was something of a golden age of television. The Sopranos ushered in an era of prestige TV that just kept delivering great show after great show. Depending on how you look at it, the golden era ended when Game of Thrones wrapped last year, but no matter how you feel about shows that are currently airing, there’s a strong collection of shows from the first two decades of this century that can lay claim to “Best Show Ever” status.

LadBible asked people to vote for their favorite.

In a competition that played out over a series of tweets, LadBible posted a variety of polls asking people to vote for the greatest TV show of the 21st century. They did not include The Sopranos, the Godfather (sorry) of modern television because the series debuted in 1999.

The shows that were included in the polls included Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Stranger Things, Peaky Blinders, The Wire, Black Mirror, and The Office (UK and US).

Here’s how it played out:

Game of Thrones dominated the first semi-final, with The Office series somehow combining, and somehow overcoming The Wire, my personal pick for Greatest TV Show of All-Time.

The second semi-final set-up a formidable competitor for GoT:

No big surprise there, unless you count the fact that Mad Men finished behind two shows that shouldn’t even be in this competition. The finals featured a fantasy epic that saved its worst for last and a crime saga that got better every season and culminated in a murderer’s row of final episodes.

Over 11,000 people voted for the winner, and still, the outcome was tight, as befits these two amazing shows:

There you have it. Breaking Bad is the Greatest TV Show of the 21st Century, as voted on by readers of LadBible, a UK publication. Do you agree? What shows did they miss?