Okay, it’s going to get sappy. Lately I have seen an up rise in the canoeing community of #girldads A big thanks to Ally Doederlein for her recent contribution to #CanoeRaceWorld ( https://www.canoeraceworld.com/post/ally-doederlein-s-my-passion-for-canoe-racing ) Kobe Bryant’s death has brought a mournful reflection on #age and #parenting. At 41 young years of age, a great man passed away, no doubt holding his lovely daughter, Gigi, who also passed. There are some great photos being posted all over social media, myself included, with the hashtag of #girldad. With a big thank you to Elle Duncan for starting the trend.
Now, Rodney Robinson, Hot Rod to most of us is the #girldad I know the best. From childhood to adulthood my dad has always been there for me. Our relationship has changed during those decades, but the love remains the same. I can now reflect on #age, as my dad was younger than I when he took me 70 miles down the Susquehanna River on Memorial Day 1996. He has shown me a love and dedication unlike no other person in my life. From paddling my 5-year-old self to my 28-year-old self down the river, snowmobiling through the countryside, waterskiing along side myself and my grandfather, Roger, he always points out something I have never seen before. Most of my early memories revolve around sports, but the older we got the more worldly our discussions got. Now we mostly craft projects and find ways to host more family gatherings than the occasional wedding or funeral. We also very much enjoy cooking, mostly for others. But all of that aside, I would like to bring some other amazing #girldad relationships that I have been able to witness through my years.
I would expect everyone to know her, I have known her, for what seems like forever. Holly Reynolds and her dad, Dick, the original #girldad. I remember Holly when she was in college and we mostly met up at the Adirondack 90 Miler, which makes sense because that was Dick’s favorite race. With my recent completion of the ADK90, Hot Rod and I got to chatting about our experiences. Holly and Dick were always a big part of the years Team Robinson participated. Hot Rod told me how he used to chat with Dick about what it was like to paddle with his daughter, Holly. Being a few years younger, I am certain that Dick was full of insight about what Hot Rod’s years would bring, raising a driven teenage daughter. Dick was a wonderful man and has two lovely daughters, Holly and Ivy. I remember his smile fondly and I am glad to have known him and shared a memory with him. His love was as fierce as them come, and he will always be a perfect example of a #girldad.
Only the Olneys
Most recently on the scene is the father daughter duo of Jo and Paul Olney. For whatever reason, #age, I can see it more in Paul than Jo, how meaningful these years are. Forgive me, Paul! In 2018, I had the pleasure of paddling with Bob Zaveral at the Madrid Canoe Regatta. It was there that I noticed the love, the way that Paul watched Jo and spoke to her in the canoe, was exactly how Hot Rod used to talk to me. Those Dads are watching! They are paying attention! I would bet that when Jo is feeling down, Paul says “How are you doing back there?” Since us gals typically ride in the stern and dads can only tell that the back end has dropped out. “Fine” was the typical “not-fine”, response. This dynamic duo teamed up again and added husband and wife, Rebecca and Mike Davis to claim the C-4 Victory in the Adirondack 90 Miler. I only have to assume that Rebecca is quite familiar with the #girldad scene too, as her family has been intimately involved with the sport of marathon canoe racing. Paul, you’re doing a fine job and I’m looking forward to watching you and Jo race this year and many years to come! Thanks for being a #girldad
A Wise Wisse
Bob Wisse is the father of Ashley and Sienna, both exceptionally lovely ladies. These girls are equal parts beauty, brains and brawn-athletes and successful professionals. For the last few years I have partnered up with Ashley to compete in whatever class we deem worthy of our presence, in any race we choose. This works out well for two canoe nerds that spend more time giggling than paddling. In one of our canoe bonding moments, Ashley spoke of a time that really struck me as #girldad worthy.
“When I was younger, I remember the day my dad sat me down and told me that he was going to ‘stop paddling’. I cried so hard! I remember feeling like I was the reason that he was quitting, which was true, I was the reason, but I felt so guilty! Dad was just so happy to be our dad and he wanted to spend as much time with us as possible, which meant giving up a bit of the canoeing scene.”
A LeFever’s Fever
WOO is the sound most associated with Trevor LeFever and his energy is unsurpassed by most. He is a man that gives everything he’s got, all of the time, period. Trevor is a very successful lineman and canoeist, but he is also husband to Mindy and father to Hayden, Kendall and Cooper. Sorry Coop, but you’ll have to sit this one out. For as much time as Trevor spends on the river, he has a keen balance on Hayden and Kendall’s activities. He dons his Super Dad outfit when he appears in the audience for their recitals and sporting events. His cheers of encouragement spark a toothy grin from ear to ear on Kendall’s face in her soccer game. Hayden tries to be just like her dad, hanging from the pull up bar and doing a workout from time to time. Trevor’s passion for parenting is a different fire than the one seen on the river.
I cannot wait to see what the future brings for these potential future paddlers. Truly the next generation! Luckily this #girldad continued the tradition. Trevor, thanks for all you do.
The Slimmer Schlimmer
One of my other favorite #girldad moments was talking with Joe Schlimmer Sr. on the riverbank. He traveled 100 miles to watch his kids complete a buoy turn in Wellsbridge at the 2017 USPP. When his eldest daughter Mary got to the turn, he could not wait to tell me what an exceptional athlete she had become. No doubt a product of his own achievements, and maybe with a bit of help from her brothers. Joe Sr. was excited to watch her compete in the up and coming season where she would go on to set a race record for the Ausable Canoe Race Marathon in Michigan. Even though there are lots of boys, Joe Sr. is still a #girldad
I apologize for the #girldads that I missed out there. These are the memories that came back the quickest when reminiscing. We will mourn the loss of a great athlete and his daughter, and in turn I will remember the great #girldads we have lost and appreciate those still with us. Thank you to all of the lovely ladies continuing to compete and the #girldad that got them this far.