In the male heavy military with so many spouse support groups focused on the female majority, stay-at-home Dads (SAHD) can seem like a rare breed. As hard as being a SAHD stationed stateside is, going overseas can be that much harder. While military-wide groups like MachoSpouse try to bridge the gap, we know there is nothing like in-person support, even among dudes.
Meet the Misawa Stay-at-Home-Dad group. This clan of gents, stationed at Misawa Air Force Base, Japan uses a Facebook group as their home-base for support. They meet-up for man things like coffee, beer, poker or checking out one of their member's bands at a local club.
But this summer they took it a step further. Instead of just doing the normal hangout stuff, they wanted to organize an actual event, something that people could really get involved in.
And so the Stay-at-Home-Dad Olympics were born. Just like for any event that any spouse club hosts on or around base, the guys asked around looking for supporters and sponsors. Misawa's CrossFit community stepped-in to support by lending equipment and judges for the Sept. 21 event. The Airman Family and Readiness Center and American Red Cross also acted as sponsors.
With 12 dads signed up, they readied the roster for the 2.5 hour event. But these were no 10 ordinary Olympic sports. This was stuff that tested Dad grit. For example, did they have what it takes to ...
Hit the Road - how fast can a Dad load a minivan with all the supplies a family needs for a day at the beach? Time ends when all supplies, children and adults are secured in the van and it is ready to pull out of the parking lot.
Commissary Carry - the average American's grocery bag weighs 20 lbs., so given an undisclosed amount of grocery bags and a baby (CPR dummy) Dad most unload the van and run the groceries into the kitchen with baby in tow.
Potty Dash - we have all been there: at the most inopportune moment the child needs to go potty, and of course waits until the last second to say anything. Dad must get the child to the potty seat before he has an accident to deal with. Given a small bucket of water dad must balance the bucket on top of a 20 lbs. medicine ball and dash 30 yds. to the potty seat with out having an accident.
Huge Bouncy Ball - Many times dads forget how to get on a child's level and just play, so given a large bouncy ball dads must race 50 yards while riding the ball. If Dad falls off it is a one burpee penalty, then he can continue the race.
Like with any event, fewer participants showed than registered. But organizers said everyone had fun and they are already ready to make next year's Olympics even better.
"This turned out to be one of the best ways I have seen to bring a community and families together. Each child cheered like crazy for Dad, and the events were things that we all do on a regular basis, so no matter what shape Dad happen to be in all were able to compete with our fear of embarrassment of competing against marathon runners or big weight lifters," Taylon Chesser, the event's organizer told me. "The Stay at Home Dads Assoc here in Misawa has been the most supportive and entertaining group I have ever had the privilege to be a part of and I will surely be making a similar group at the next base we are assigned to."
Photos courtesy of Taylon Chesser.