Father Figures: What I Remember Most

“My dad worked third-shift his whole life. He was exhausted most of the time and we didn’t have a lot of money, but he literally gave me everything I needed, and a lot of what I wanted.

In 2011, he passed away unexpectedly. When I reflect back, it’s not the material things he gave me that I remember most.

It’s wanting to hang out with him after his 12-hour night shifts. It’s him unselfishly taking me to the park after buying me a kite, even though he hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours. It’s the times he sacrificed sleep to watch my basketball games and support me during his small window of rest on Saturday mornings.

It’s the times his last dollar bought me back-to-school clothes and an old car that I could drive on my own to school. It’s his constant reassurances that he was fine, despite his health problems, just so I wouldn’t worry about him when I knew he was in pain.

It’s him preparing me for the day that he wouldn’t be here.

And it’s knowing he was there with me, long after he’d passed, as I nervously welcomed my son into the world in 2019. His presence reassured me that we would be okay.

He was the best dad, and the dad I someday hope to be.”

– Aaron Chandler

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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Big-Hearted 8-Yr-Old Mows Lawns for First Responders and Single Moms

Big-Hearted 8-Year-Old Mows Lawns for Single Moms First Responders
(Facebook/Helping Footprint)

While some kids spend their days training to be Twitch streamers or hope to be record-breaking YouTubers, 8-year-old Greyson Winfield is working on a very different kind of dream. Instead of spending his days playing video games and watching TV like many kids his age, this young hero has a far more productive hobby. Greyson dreams of one day being a Navy SEAL, and to prepare, he spends his days making the world a better place. Greyson feeds the hungry in his spare time and mows the lawns of single moms and first responders so they have one less thing to take care of during their already packed days.

Greyson told CNN that aside from his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, there are several other motivating forces in his life. Both of his parents are former firefighters, so Greyson grew up knowing the importance of helping others in his community. A slightly more unexpected role model for someone his age is none other than former president John F. Kennedy. Greyson explained, “helping others is the right thing to do. Also, JFK was in the Navy before becoming president and I want to follow his lead.”

Greyson and Garrett
Greyson (left) and his brother Garrett (right) doing what they do best, helping out. (Facebook/Helping Footprint)

Helping those in need is so important to Greyson that with his parents’ support and assistance, he started his own charity called Helping Footprint. The website explains, “Helping Footprint consists of two brothers on a mission to help the community. Founder, Greyson Winfield leads the way, with collecting gift cards to help those in need of food. He also saw the need to ensure seniors, differently-abled persons, single moms, veterans, and our busy first responders have their lawns cut for free.”

Though Greyson’s effort to help others is undoubtedly impressive, perhaps more incredible is his mindset. Greyson states, “I want to help people. There are other people who have nobody to help them and it’s the right thing to do.” Logically, we all know that helping people is the right thing to do, but the sad reality is that many of us don’t act on it as much as we should. Fortunately, the next generation seems to be in good hands with Greyson’s Helpful Footprint leading the way.

Knowing Is Half the Battle: G.I. Joe Returns as a Retro Collection

G.I. Joe Retro Collection
(Hasbro)

Like many kids who grew up in the 80s, I loved G.I. Joe.

I loved watching the cartoon and playing with the figures, most of whom were at my best friend’s house next door because his parents bought him every single toy in the world. I remember seething with jealousy when he got the massive G.I. Joe aircraft carrier for one of his birthdays.

Eventually, I grew up and forgot about all of this angst over Eric Pepe’s luck, and my parents’ refusal to go broke buying me action figures, but recently it all came rushing back when I heard the news: Hasbro was bringing their classic GI Joe figures back.

The news actually broke in June, when the toy company announced their G.I. Joe: Classified Series as part of their relaunch of the iconic GI Joe brand.

Their awesome new website has all the details, including the 50-year history of G.I. Joe and a list of all the characters that have been reimagined for this relaunch of 6-inch figures. The first six to be released are Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Roadblock, Destro, and Cobra Commander.

Hasbro

On top of the website and these new versions is Hasbro’s launch of G.I. Joe’s Retro Collection, which means I can go snatch up all action figures my next-door neighbor had in his playroom, complete with old school packaging. (Hasbro did the same thing with their Star Wars vintage line.) The first three being released are Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Baroness.

You’ll be able to snatch them up at Walmart in October, provided Eric Pepe doesn’t get their first!

Bindi Irwin Shares Moving Photo of Wedding Artwork Featuring Her Dad

Bindi Irwin Shares Moving Photo of Wedding Artwork Featuring Her Dad
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

It’s impossible to imagine celebrating life’s most exciting milestones without those you love the most, but it’s something many of us have to face. Bindi Irwin, daughter of the world’s favorite Crocodile Hunter, has had to face this difficult reality time and time again after losing her dad at just 8 years old. Though Steve’s absence is undoubtedly felt by his family on a daily basis, they have done an amazing job over the years making sure to honor and commemorate him at every turn. Bindi was extremely close to her dad and has posted touching tributes to him on occasions like Father’s Day, her birthday, and even her engagement.

In the 14 years since Steve Irwin’s death, his memory hasn’t faded. To us, he will always be the Crocodile Hunter – a man with a big personality and an even bigger heart. To Bindi and Robert, he will always be their beloved dad. During Bindi’s wedding at the Australia Zoo, Steve’s blown-up picture was displayed right next to where the couple exchanged their vows giving the appearance that he was standing right next to Bindi’s brother and mom.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Our wedding day. ❤️ Reflecting on these beautiful moments with the love of my life.

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

Although Bindi’s wedding was several months ago, she recently received an extremely meaningful gift which she shared on her Instagram page. Artist Debb Oliver created a piece based on a picture taken on Bindi’s wedding day – but this talented artist gave the picture an incredibly special addition. Between Bindi and her mom Terri, Oliver added a beaming Steve. His arms appear to embrace his wife and daughter, and on his face is a look of pride and joy any dad would have on their daughter’s wedding day.

In Bindi’s Instagram post, her family holds the beautiful gift, looking down fondly as if they’re reminiscing over a fond memory – it’s extremely fitting, because to the Irwin family, it’s as if Steve was right there with them celebrating Bindi’s wedding. The photo is captioned, “‘To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.’ ― Thomas Campbell. Thank you @the_monkey_brush for creating this spectacular piece.” The quote Bindi chose is the perfect embodiment of how the entire Irwin family has lived their lives since losing Steve. Although he is no longer here physically, to the Irwin family, he will never really be gone.

Heroic Father of 7 Dies Saving His Kids From a Riptide

Heroic Father of 7 Dies Saving His Kids From a Riptide
(YouTube/Newstoday.)

Some of the best movies of all time revolve around superheroes who put their own well-being aside to help others. They risk everything, time and time again, to make sure the world is safe for the rest of us. We find reassurance in those stories, because though they are extreme, those heroes remind us that there is so much good in the world. There are real-life dad heroes, and they deserve to be recognized as such. Last Sunday, 36-year-old Jonathan Stevens died a hero while saving the lives of his children.

In a story so heartbreaking it’s truly hard to swallow, we see a real-life example of the infinite depths of a father’s love. Jonathan Stevens was visiting Barmouth beach in Wales with his family on Sunday when he noticed three of his children struggling in the water. As any dad would do, he rushed to save them. Thinking only about the well-being of his children, Stevens worked frantically to pull them to safety and out of the grips of the riptide. Even in the direst of situations, Jonathan Stevens didn’t forget for a single second that his goal was to protect his children, to make sure they were unharmed at all costs.

Jonathan did it – he did his job as a dad, making sure no harm came to his children. In a devastating twist that nobody could have anticipated, Jonathan himself was caught in the current. He was pulled from the water by a rescue team and airlifted to a nearby hospital in serious condition. Tragically, Jonathan passed away at the hospital.

34-Year-old Laura Burford, Jonathan’s partner, was home when this unimaginable situation unfolded. A relative provided North Wales Live with the heartbroken woman’s statement. “All seven of his beautiful kids have lost their dad. He died saving his kids’ lives in the sea,” Burford said. “There are no words to describe the pain. I will always be grateful to (him) for bringing our babies back. I love him, always have, and always will.”

A friend set up a GoFundMe to help support Jonathan’s family during this incredibly difficult time. The page states, “I’m Mel, a family friend, from Telford who set up this fund page to help this poor family who sadly lost Jonathan (Joff) whilst he was saving his children in the sea at Barmouth beach. The funds raised will go towards any funeral costs, to each of his 7 children to support and to have a memory gift from their Hero Father and to Laura to help along the way with any costs that may occur.”

Jonathan Stevens’ very last act was being a dad. He protected his children at all costs, bravely and selflessly putting their safety before his own. Jonathan Stevens died a hero.

1980s Classic “Knight Rider” Is Being Rebooted as a Movie

Knight Rider Movie
(NBC)

If there’s one tried-and-true path to success in movie and TV entertainment, it’s that everything old needs to be new again. Sure, sometimes it fails (Star Wars prequels), but sometimes it’s awesome. Either way, nostalgia is a big play right now. This is why 80s TV classic “Knight Rider” is being revived for the big screen.

News broke this week that Furious 7 director James Wan (he also directed Aquaman and co-created the Saw franchise, among other hits) was attached to helm the movie reboot of the TV series classic. So if there’s someone who can do an epic car movie, it’s someone from the Fast and Furious family.

If it’s before your time, Knight Rider was an awesome show in the mid-1980s starring David Hasselhoff and an artificially intelligent talking car, K.I.T.T. If it sounds absurd, it was! And that’s why it was great. I mean, come on, how great is this intro?

Knight Rider ran for 90 episodes, and had a few forgettable spin-offs and made for TV movies that fizzled, but this movie reboot has been picking up heat as the project moves forward. The series with the memorable theme song became a cult classic through years of syndication.

At this time, there is no information about who will be starring as K.I.T.T. The film will reportedly be set in the present, so K.I.T.T. will likely be a different vehicle than a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

There has been no comment from Hasselhoff on the news, but it’s unlikely they could truly do the franchise justice without including the co-star of the show (let’s be real, the car was the real star) in some fashion.

Fortnite Bootcamp – Impress Your Kid Or At Least Not Embarrass Yourself

The Dad Gaming League
A son schools his dad on how to game.

The first gaming event we held was a custom Fortnite match in a private lobby of about 10 dads playing. People were randomly squaded up, everyone was laughing, getting along, even making friends. It reminded me of the old days playing Goldeneye with my buddies, except these were members of our internet community who didn’t know each other, and were 100s of miles apart. That spirit of comradery is what’s behind the whole The Dad Gaming community – giving dads a fun excuse to take a break, get away, and play games with cool people.

Epic snack-makers Planters knows this better than anyone, and they love the community spirit; so we squaded up to launch a full-fledged The Dad Gaming League. This monthly competition will champion that essence of fun and “anyone can play” spirit. (So you don’t have to be good to win a prize.)

However, if you’re brand new to Fortnite and you don’t want to embarrass yourself too hard -or if you’re pretty decent and looking for a couple of areas to work on- we’ve got you covered. Any dad’s path to leveling up starts here.

These tips start for the newbiest of newbs, and gradually get more advanced. Start at the beginning. Once your eyes start to glaze over, take a break, pop some Planters, and jump onto the Battle Bus. Because the best way to get better at any game is to lose A LOT.

QUICK OVERVIEW OF HOW FORTNITE WORKS

Fortnite is a quintessential Battle Royale game. This genre of game is that a large group of online players drop into the same world, called the map, and fight it out. When someone is eliminated, they’re done. So the number of players in the game continues to drop throughout the match. To keep it interesting, there is a storm that will damage you closing in on the island, making the play area smaller and smaller as time goes on.

You drop onto the island empty-handed, so you want to immediately find some weapons, powerups and other items to help you thrive and survive. Unfortunately, there are no Planters Pop and Pours on the Battle Island.

LINGO

There is a lot of shorthand dads use when squadded up. These terms were completely lost on me when I started and it made things very confusing. So if you’re starting fresh, here’s your first real advantage:

Battle Bus – This is your entry to the island. At the top of each round, you choose when to jump off the bus and parachute to where you want to land.

Circle – The playing area. This is where the storm hasn’t closed in yet, and it shrinks every few minutes or so.

Slurp – This is the neon blue health substance found in “pots” and scattered in lakes and rivers throughout the map. It heals you over time, not all at once.

Full Pot – This is a “Large Health” item. It’s a big blue jar of “Slurp.”

Mini -This is a “Small Health” item. It’s a small vial of Slurp.

AR – Just like in real life, this is what we call those bigass fast shooting guns.

Engage – Confront another player or team in battle. It’s a big map at first, so you don’t always have to fight. Engagement is a choice…for a time.

Final Circle – This is the endgame, when the storm has zeroed in extremely tight, and all remaining players are thrown together in sweet chaos.

Bot – This is an AI enemy who appears to be another player in the game, but is basically just a dummy to fill out the map and make you feel like you actually got some kills.

Skin – This is the term for how your character looks. You can buy or earn various skins that include character designs and costumes.

Default – This is what we call the basic no-investment character mold. If you log on for the first time and hit play without swapping anything, you’re playing as Default.

TACTICS

SURVIVE
Hide!  First things first, don’t get shot right away. Hang out on the Battle Bus a little bit and then when you do jump out, land where other people don’t usually tend to go right away. It’ll take a few rounds to learn all the locations, but if it looks like a big structure or base, it probably has a lot of items to snag….but a lot of other people will be interested in trying for them.

The first time I played Fortnite was at my wife’s friend’s house. There was a 10-year-old there who was nonstop talking crap to me about how I was a “noob” and he was better than me at Fortnite. I challenged him to see who could last the longest. He landed, got some eliminations, but finished 40 or so?

On the other hand, I strategically rode the Battle Bus as long as I could, dropped far away, and proceeded to sneak around, hiding at every place I could, always searching for predators.

Eventually, someone found me, engaged, and I was quickly eliminated. But I got 6th. (Now who’s the noob?) Usually, you’ll need to be pretty decent at offense to finish in the top ten. But I’ve found for beginners, the easiest way to finish top 25 is hiding. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

WATCH THE STORM
Hang out on the outer reaches of the circle. Move-in as the storm gets smaller.

When you’re on the outside of the playing area, you don’t have to watch your back as much, because you know people will be less likely to sneak up behind you.

Watch the clock, though, and be ready to move. The circle doesn’t shrink automatically, but the Storm does move faster than you do.

STAY SNACKED UP
A single Battle Royale can last about 20 minutes. As any kid who has been asked to turn off their video game mid-game will tell you, you do not want to quit during a match. Keep snacks handy. Planters Pop and Pour is ideal here. It allows one-handed snack consumption and keeps the controller clean. I kind of think it was designed with dad gamers in mind.

DON’T BE SO QUICK TO ENGAGE
Learn the “Third Party” strategy. If you see multiple players or squads, let two groups fight it out and be the third party there to clean up at the end. This was called “pickin’ cherries” back in my Halo days, but what was dishonorable for the Master Chief is a sound strategy in Fortnite.

READY TO ENGAGE? LEARN TO ATTACK BY PLAYING TEAM RUMBLE
It takes lots of battles to learn the proper way to engage and how to be more accurate. Try playing the Team Rumble game mode to get a feel for combat. Battle Royale means once your out, you’re out. In Team Rumble, when you get eliminated you automatically respawn and you’re back in the action, giving you lots more experience at eliminating (and being eliminated). It’s not the most satisfying game mode, but it helps you learn.

LEARN THE WEAPONS, PERFECT YOUR LOADOUT
You’ll want a variety of weapon types, as well as healing items, but there are only so many item slots available. There’s also a color-coding system to how powerful each weapon is. In ascending order, they are: grey, green, blue, purple, orange.

JUMPING AS A DEFENSE MECHANISM
To avoid being sniped, some more advanced players jump all the time. They’ll jump across an open field like Mary freakin’ Poppins. I was always the type who’d rather not be so noticeable. But jumping is a great defense against attacks, especially close range. Start panicking? Start jumping. You may just make it out.

AMMO MANAGEMENT
I am a terrible shot. I can spray and spray and not land a single hit. So then when I have to reload and the opponent is engaging me, it can feel like a lifetime. One thing I started doing to help is I will take my favorite weapon choice, and put two of them right next to each other in my loadout. So if I empty one of them, instead of reloading, I just switch the other and keep firing. Essentially gives you double the ammo without reloading.

It is also possible to use this technique with Pop and Pour snack containers.

KEEP WATCHING AFTER YOU GET ELIMINATED
When you’re out, you’ll get to spectate the person who got ya. Keep watching and you might pick up on some strategies or tips. Sit back with your Pop and Pour, and watch it like a movie.

LEARN TO BUILD
You’ll notice this tip isn’t even in here until number 10. Dads notoriously don’t like Fortnite as much as other first-person shooters because of the building. A common joke is you fire a single shot and your opponent instantly has a five-star hotel. It can be frustrating when you don’t know how to do it. (Which is why we host a weekly no building event.) But you can use it to your advantage with very little effort. Simply learning to build a ramp will help you access much more loot, and it’s a simple two-button press. The same goes for building a vertical wall. If you can get used to quickly pressing those two buttons, you can throw one up as an opponent engages you. That simple wall will save a lot of damage and buy you some time.

And most importantly:

HAVE FUN, BOND WITH YOUR KID
I had a Nintendo as a kid and I loved it. But my dad never played video games with me. No big deal. But now, as a parent, the only reason I have a video game system is so I can play with my kids. It’s a bonding tool.

My son is super into Fortnite skins, while I proudly remain “a default.” But since he is so into them, I’ll gladly play with him to beat the season challenges and unlock new skins for him. We collaborate with each other as a team, we chat, we laugh, we have a blast.

Sure, he enjoys it now because he gets to unlock some new skins. I enjoy it because I’m spending quality time with my kid doing something he loves. I know it may sound far fetched to non-gamers, but I truly believe that when he is an adult, he’ll look back with fondness at the times his dad helped him beat Fortnite challenges to unlock skins. And those parent/kid moments, the unforgettable memories… that’s what it’s all about.

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

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Planters

Grocery Bagging Championship and More “ESPN8: The Ocho” Is Back Tomorrow

The Ocho
(20th Century Fox)

ESPN Ocho returns to the airwaves for the fourth straight year, as ESPN dropped the news today that ESPN2 will be going full Ocho tomorrow, August 8th (8/8). That means we’ll get a full day of some of the greatest sports you’ve never seen.

The tradition was inspired by the 2004 comedy “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” which had the dodgeball tournament broadcasted on the fictional sports channel “The Ocho.” ESPN has adopted the idea to show seldom-seen sports every 8/8 for the past few years.

This year brings a mix of Ocho classics and epic new events to “ESPN8: The Ocho”, which will actually be shown on ESPN2 and the ESPN App. Some of the new programming this year includes the 2019 Grit ‘N Wit National College Championship, which is courses that include obstacles and puzzles. There’s a documentary on foosball players, the 2019 ITSF Foosball World Cup, and the World Deadlift Attempt – Hafthor Deadlift.

The event I’m most excited about? The Ohio Grocery Baggers Bowl 2020. It’s described as 30 contestants facing off to win the coveted Ceramic Bag award (I’m in!), a $1,000 cash prize, and a trip to San Diego to compete for the National Bagging Championship at NGA’s National Convention. I am just learning about all of these things for the first time, and I am already committed to making this priority viewing.

As a new twist this year, ESPN is partnering with Fortnite to show ESPN8 content in Party Royale. Unconventional sports like death diving and robot fights will be shown on the Party Royale Big Screen for the first time.

You can get the full ESPN8 lineup from the ESPN website, and remember to check it out on ESPN2 tomorrow starting at 8 a.m.

Studio Confirms John Wick 4 AND 5 Will Shoot Back to Back

John Wick Back to back
(HBO)

The pandemic and the resulting quarantine have wreaked havoc on Hollywood, halting productions, stalling release schedules, and generally putting the future of some highly-anticipated movies up in the air. One of those movies is Keanu Reeves’ next John Wick flick, the fourth in the action hero and all-around great guy‘s latest franchise.

Originally, John Wick 4 was slated to be released on Memorial Day weekend 2021, on the same day as The Matric 4, but thanks to the shitshow that has been 2020, it got pushed back a year to 2022. This would be a lot more disappointing if not for the recent news that John Wick 4 will be shot back-to-back with John Wick 5!

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate CEO John Feltheimer announced the new date for John Wick 4 and confirmed that the script was in the works, along with a script for John Wick 5, which they will shoot immediately after the 4th movie.

“We’re also busy preparing scripts for the next two installments of our John Wick action franchise, with John Wick 4 slated to hit theaters Memorial Day weekend 2022. We hope to shoot both John Wick 4 and 5 back-to-back when Keanu becomes available early next year,” Feltheimer announced.

That’s a whole lot of bullets to the head, which should be exciting to action movie fans everywhere.

Reeves has managed to stay busy throughout the quarantine, as he’s back shooting The Matrix sequel in Berlin after that production restarted, awaiting the now-accelerated release of Bill and Ted Face the Music, and is preparing for the publication of BRZRKR, the comic book he’s co-writing about an immortal assassin who looks an awful lot like Keanu Reeves.

Did I already say “that’s a whole lot of bullets to the head?” I think I did. But it bears repeating. Thankfully, with two more movies featuring his latest iconic action hero on the way, it doesn’t seem like Keanu is in any danger of emptying the chamber.

Bill and Ted Go Behind the Scenes, Announce Early Theater and On-Demand Release

Bill and Ted 3
(Orion Pictures)

Our global nightmare has upended the film industry, but there are still some bright lights to look forward to. None more anticipated in the short term than Bill and Ted Face the Music. And during a time when we’re conditioned to expect bad news when it comes to movie releases, star Alex Winter actually posted some most excellent news on social media this week: B and T 3 is hitting on-demand and theaters a week early.

He also posted an awesome behind-the-scenes video slash feature with some of the actors and team behind the movie. Fans have waited nearly two decades for Keanu Reeves and Winter to reprise their infamous roles. The third film in the franchise also is the debut for another most excellent duo, Bill and Ted’s daughters.

For Bill and Ted Face the Music, our heroes are dads, which makes them even cooler in our eyes. The film was originally supposed to be in theaters in August, until COVID, and it was pushed to early September. It’s not clear why the film release is moving up, but there’s little in the way of competition at the end of the month, so whatever movie theaters are actually open will be showing the hotly anticipated film.

For the rest of us, we can get it on-demand on August 28th.