Baseball, Family, And Perseverance: A Conversation With Anthony Rizzo

(Getty/Christian Petersen, Getty/Icon Sportswire, BODYARMOR)

World Series. Game 7. Bottom of the 9th. Bases loaded. Lots of kids have fantasized about such a scenario.

Now let’s make some tweaks… It’s still Game 7 of the World Series. But it’s not bottom of the 9th; it’s top of the 10th. You just came off an All Star season in which you were awarded the Gold Glove AND Silver Slugger. On top of all that, your team hasn’t won the World Series in 108 years and your entire city is watching. Oh, and you’re only 27 years old. Imagine that pressure. How would you perform? That was Anthony Rizzo in 2016.

How does Anthony deal with big game pressure? I caught up with the Chicago Cubs first baseman to chat baseball, overcoming adversity, and important father figures in his life.

The love of the game

Whether you’re an athlete or not, baseball’s influence on American culture is undeniable. It means something to all of us. If we close our eyes and think baseball, most of us can imagine the sound of a ball cracking off a wooden bat, or the smell of beer and peanuts.

Before Anthony Rizzo was a professional baseball player, he was a fan. “Going to ballgames and watching the parades coming to town and rooting for your team, or heckling Chipper Jones… It’s fun. Win or lose. You know, I can’t ever tell you what team won or lost when I went to a game; I just know I enjoyed going.”

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Living legend!

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A family commitment

Sports have an incredible ability to bond families together, and Anthony’s parents have supported him since the beginning.

“My parents both love it. They love being able to watch me play and they’re happy for me, whether I get four hits or don’t get any hits. They’re just happy to see their son out there.”

Any sports parent knows, raising a young athlete takes sacrifice. “It’s a huge commitment and, you know, I was lucky enough that my parents provided me that and were able to take me to the tournaments. They were able to take me to showcases and dish out the money that they didn’t necessarily have…”

Overcoming adversity

8 years before the 2016 World Series, at age 19, Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. At the same time, his grandma was battling breast cancer. Rizzo underwent 6 months of chemotherapy and beat it. Just 3 years later, on June 9, 2011, Rizzo hit a triple in his debut Major League Baseball game, helping the Padres to victory.

Just over a month later, Rizzo was sent back to the minors. Like always, Rizzo persevered.  “At the moment, when I was getting sent down, I never really doubted myself. I knew I could play. But also, in the moment, you gotta keep perspective in life. When you’re beating yourself up over a baseball game, you tell yourself, Listen, you’re beating yourself up over a baseball game. You know? I’m playing a sport for a living. We’re all very lucky to be doing what we’re doing and I will never take that for granted.” He established the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting families dealing with pediatric cancer. He was later traded to the Cubs, where he’s played ever since.

“When I was a kid I told my teachers I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I would yell at my dad because he would tell me I could be good enough to play and I would say, ‘No, Dad, every parent tells their kid that. Don’t tell me that.’ But that sort of thing stays with you—when your dad believes in you. And that confidence in your abilities is what gets you through the tough times.”

Peak energy

Last year, Anthony played in 157 games with 572 at bats. That’s a lot. How does he stay energized and in peak shape? “I listen to music pregame. I just make sure I’m hydrated, make sure I get a good meal in and just make sure I’m loose and have a good time. That’s what life’s all about, you know?”

To stay hydrated, Anthony drinks BODYARMOR (a premium sports drink with natural flavors and sweeteners, no colors from artificial sources, and made with coconut water) as part of his daily routine. “I drink it religiously. It has no artificial flavors or sweeteners.  There’s a bunch of vitamins. It’s low sodium. It’s high in potassium. I’m very conscious of what I put in my body, especially when I’m playing, and I do drink it during the game and it just keeps me at a peak level of energy throughout the entire game, which is not easy to do.”

I can relate, I just got winded taking out the trash.

(BODYARMOR)

World Series, Game 7, extra innings…

So in Anthony Rizzo’s moment, with the Series on the line in Game 7 in 2016, what happened? Instead of facing the hot hitter, Cleveland pitcher Bryan Shaw intentionally walked Rizzo. His teammate Miguel Montero drove him in for the Cubs’ last run in an 8-7 victory, Chicago’s first World Series win since 1908. With a supportive family behind him and the drive to never let anything stop him, Rizzo was able to live every kid’s baseball dream.

Rizzo became a partner and investor in BODYARMOR, a premium sports drink made with potassium-packed electrolytes, coconut water, and natural sweeteners and flavors, several years ago when he discovered it during spring training. Rizzo joined a team of other superstar athletes who also partnered with BODYARMOR, including Mike Trout, James Harden, Andrew Luck, and Dustin Johnson. To learn more about BODYARMOR Sports Drink, visit www.drinkbodyarmor.com.

This post was sponsored by:


BODYARMOR

6 Dads Who Made the Most out of Winter 2019 [WATCH]

6 Dads Who Made the Most out of Winter 2019
(Eric Fobbe)

Winter is the best season! There’s snow to play in, there’s ice to skate on, and sometimes the commute to work is just too tough to struggle through (even though you managed to drive to the good tobogganing spot without a problem).

While lots of people are content with snuggling up indoors with some cocoa and a movie, these Dads are showing the season who’s boss.

1. Dad builds a wheelchair accessible snow fort

Gregg Eichhorn of Cincinnati spent five hours building a wheelchair-accessible snow fort so his daughter and son could both wheel through it. And he has seven other kids, get the full amazing story here.


2. Snow+Batman = Snowman? oh.

Alan Wolfard in New Mexico built an 8-foot snow Batman in his front garden in Bloomfield. He said it took him about three hours to build and it’s been getting lots of attention from his neighbors. He followed up Batman with Wonder Woman shortly after.


3. B.C. Dad builds an ice rink for his hockey-loving son

The winters are notoriously temperamental in British Columbia, Canada. After waiting weeks for the cold weather to stay, Sam Dinter and his dad, Chris are skating around their own backyard.

Ever since he was a boy, Chris wanted to build his own hockey rink in his garden and now, as a Dad, he can do it. Along with his sons, he put a liner down and filled it with a layer of water.

After weeks of worrying that the big freeze was never going to come, the weather finally cooperated and their garden was transformed from a shallow pool to the perfect ice rink.

4. Dad builds a monster snowman

Yet another dad putting our moderately proportioned snowman to shame, Eric Fobbe of Buffalo, Minnesota wanted to build ‘The Father of All Snowmen’.

He used a snowblower, a skidsteer, and a shovel to construct the 20-foot-tall ‘Snowskwatch’ in his yard. His neighbors must be so happy.


5. Saskatoon man builds an ice castle

Elsa has nothing on Don Greer of Saskatoon, Canada who built a 22-feet tall ice sculpture in the shape of a beautiful castle.

“Built with a one-by-two wood armature – with a chicken wire mesh that’s applied over that and then you begin to spray with a fine mist of water from a garden hose,” Greer said.

Inspired by Disney’s Frozen, it took Greer over 60 hours to finish and almost all of December.


6. Dad builds a snow tubing track in his front yard

Brian Johnson in Moorhead, Minnesota was inspired by the sheer amount of snow they’ve had this season. He has been working on the snow tubing track since February and is over 6 feet tall at the highest point. You can watch a video of the fun here.

“Just an epic tubing hill…of course, the children, they need something to do, keeps me busy,” he said.

In the spring Johnson said that he’ll turn it into a slip ‘n’ slide hill.

Wow! I wish he was my neighbor.

Dad Builds 6 Foot Snow Tube Hill
(KVRR Local News)

Looks like I’m going to have to up my game next winter!

Brewery Puts Lost Unicorn Stuffy to Work in Hopes of Getting Him Home

(Twitter/EurekaHeights)

Breweries offer a lot of things, most of which I am a big fan. One that surprised me recently, however, was stuffed animal recovery.

It started when a frantic dad ran into Eureka Heights Brew Co. looking for his kid’s stuffed unicorn. At the time, no one in the brewery had seen the toy so the dad left to look elsewhere.

When the little mythical creature turned up later, the brewers had no way of contacting the flustered dad, so they hopped on Twitter to try and get the word out.

And things didn’t stop there. Since things were taking longer than expected, the brew team decided the little guy should have to earn his keep.

In the end, the new four-legged brewer went through the entire beer-making process, from raw ingredients to canning.




With all of the social media hullaballoo, the dad eventually got in touch to rescue the newest Eureka Heights master brewer.

Hopefully, he grabbed a few cold ones on the way out that the two of them could share after such a hard day’s work.

Yippie-Ki-Yay! The Die Hard Board Game Is Almost Here

(20th Century Fox)

Welcome to the party, pal! The newest board game coming to market is based on the classic action film Die Hard and looks pretty promising.


Titled Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game, the game is reportedly a one-versus-many asymmetrical experience, just like John McClain versus a skyscraper full of baddies.

(OP Games)

Die Hard’s influence over the action-thriller genre is staggering, so we were beyond excited for the opportunity to harness the movie’s expert blend of action, intelligence and drama into a unique tabletop experience,” said Pat Marino, lead game designer for OP Games, in a press release. “We are developing a game that will deeply resonate with Die Hard enthusiasts, incorporating even the slightest details to create a rich and entertaining experience that properly pays tribute to arguably the greatest action movie of all time.”

OP Games is known for creating new licensed versions of classic games like Clue, Monopoly, and Risk.

Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is reportedly an all-new tabletop game developed internally at OP, not based on any classic games you might recognize.

The price of the game has yet to be announced, but $640 million in bearer bonds would be reasonable to the vast majority of Die Hard fans. Expect to see this bad boy on select retailer shelves this spring.


March Madness Has Nothing on This Nail-Biter of a Baby Race [WATCH]

Baby Race
(Facebook/ESPN)

The NCAA Tournament kicks off today, leading to two weeks of nail-biting competition, agonizing last-second losses, and countless bracket busters. The 64-team tourney is a hell of a way to kick-off spring. There simply aren’t many sporting events that bring the drama like March Madness does.

But we may have found one that gives it a run for its money.

Last week, during the ACC tournament, there was a matchup between ACC also-rans Boston College (GO EAGLES!) and Pittsburgh. Don’t worry, this isn’t the “drama” we’re talking about. Neither of those teams factored into their conference tournament, let alone this weekend’s big dance.

What we’re talking about happened at half-time, when the teams left the court to make way for the true competitors: a bunch of babies! I don’t just mean Dickie V’s diaper dandies, I’m talking actual, literal babies.

The halftime “show” featured the 2019 ACC Tournament Baby Race, wherein a bunch of parents deposited their infants on the court and coaxed them into racing each other. Six babies were placed, on their hands and knees, at the foul line by one parent, while the other parent stood at half court and tried to exhort their child to crawl to them.

Somehow, this race of oblivious, poorly-coordinated babies resulted in some high drama! After some confusion, during which the lead baby turned around and went back to his mother, a blue-clad baby stormed out to a big lead.

Unfortunately, before reaching the finish line, the kid became distracted by something shiny, or maybe filled his diaper with something slimy, and slowed to even more of a crawl, leaving things wide open for the suddenly sprinting baby at the top to sneak up from behind and steal a victory.

The legitimately thrilling video has nearly 300k likes and over 167,000 shares. Which is a lot more engagement than the BC/Pitt game got!

Watch it here:

3 Things to Do With Your Kids This Weekend

Things to Do With Your Kids
(Getty/ktmoffitt/Westend61/Johner Images)

Hooray for another weekend, or two-day-vacation-with-kids as I like to think of it. It’s all about disconnecting with the daily drudgery and making some memories with your little ones. It doesn’t matter if you’re building something or just being silly, commit to whatever you’re doing and have a good time.

Go Metal Detecting

Metal Detecting with Kids
(Getty/ktmoffitt)

The ground has thawed and it’s time to hunt for buried treasure! Yes, you’ll need to rent or purchase a detector, but they are relatively inexpensive to buy these days and there are even less expensive models for children – as low as $30. You can rent a higher-end model for yourself that can distinguish the type of metals your kids have detected with their junior versions – that way you end up with less rusty nails and more coins. This activity gets them outside and exercising and they still get to clutch a handheld device!

Host a Crazy Cook-Off

Set-up a few stations with ingredients and cooking utensils that your little chefs get to be in charge of.  Give them the basics: flour, eggs, milk and then kick things up a notch by allowing them to add any other ingredients! Let them explore the fridge and cupboards and add whatever they please: ketchup, olives, various spices, etc. Before they start, explain to them they have to try at least one bite of whatever they make after it’s been baked. Make sure to record the taste test, obviously.

Or you could go with something edible and make a pizza together.

Un-Bore a Chore: Spring Cleaning

It’s official, spring has sprung! So get the kids involved in the traditional clean-up by making it fun and rewarding. Start by putting on some music that will keep everyone energized. Challenge your kids to tidy an area against the clock – start a timer and let the games begin! Most times they’ll be enthused to use the tools of the trade – a broom, vacuum, a dust wand, etc. Offer incentives, dinner at their favorite restaurant, a credit toward a new purchase, or a night out at the movies.

They could also purge their old toys and donate them to charity.

Spring Cleaning With Kids
(Getty/Johner Images)

For more suggestions check out last week’s 3 Things to Do With Your Kids.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Music Video Shows People With Down Syndrome Living Their Best Lives [WATCH]

(Facebook/Wouldn't Change A Thing)

World Down Syndrome Day is here!

Today is the day when those with Down Syndrome, as well as those who live and work with them, come together to raise public awareness and create a single global voice, advocating for the right, inclusion and well being of those with Down Syndrome.

The parent-led Down Syndrome awareness organization “Wouldn’t Change a Thing” is focused on creating a world where negative and inaccurate perceptions of Down Syndrome are a thing of the past.

This year, the organization created a video to the tune of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” to highlight the ways in which people with Down Syndrome of all ages enjoy and achieve in life.


“This video project lets the fulfilling lives of young people with Down Syndrome do the talking,” they wrote in the description. “It holds up a mirror to society and dares the viewer to challenge everything they thought they knew about Down Syndrome, and to think again.”

Want to show the organization your support? Check out their Facebook page and don’t forget to use #wouldntchangeathing

Bill & Ted Face The Music as Middle Aged Dads in 2020 [WATCH]

Bill & Ted Teaser Announcement
(Twitter/BillandTed3)

You know those guys you knew in high school or college who you could never imagine having kids? Maybe they were burnouts or jelly butts, or maybe they just didn’t seem like they’ ever grow up? We all knew guys like that, and wouldn’t you know it, as unlikely as it seemed at the time, they ended up getting older too!

In related news, Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan – Bill and Ted – are coming back in a new movie, and in it, they’re middle-aged dads. And we are all officially old men.

That’s right, a third Bill and Ted movie is coming soon to a theater near you, written by the screenwriters of the first two flicks, with original stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reprising their famous roles. But things are a little different this time because while Wyld Stallyns remain together, they’re now – wait for it – middle-aged dads! And you thought they went through hell in BOGUS JOURNEY!

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

Seeing those two as parents is going to be something. Especially without the guidance of the late great George Carlin as Rufus! Here’s hoping they’re not quite as airheaded as they used to be.

Today, the duo went on Twitter to thank fans and officially announce that the film – Bill and Ted Face the Music – will be released on August 21st, 2020.

In the short video, Winter says the film is a result of all the fan support: “It is all because of you guys, so we owe you a huge debt of gratitude and we want to say thank you.”


The official synopsis, from the press release:

Yet to fulfill their rock’n’roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure, when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it and bring harmony to the universe. Along the way, they will be helped by their families, old friends and a few music legends.