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Saturday September 20 2014
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Bad Dad

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My 4-year-old son, Walker, has become just that -- a walker -- whether he or his preschool teachers always like it or not. Regardless of the weather, Walker and I usually return home by foot from his preschool.

When it’s cold or rainy, I often seem to get that “bad dad” look from his teachers as we trek off to brave the elements as the other kids are being loaded into cars.


What his preschool teachers don’t seem to realize is that no American has won the Boston Marathon in nearly 30 years -- or that we really do only live a few blocks from the school.


No, Walker is not being trained to run the 2033 Boston Marathon or anything like that, at least not officially. But if the stories are true about so many of the great marathon champions from East Africa, who as children had to run several miles to and from school every day, then my kid can handle walking a few blocks.


My wife, Dani, and I are both longtime distance runners, and we have indeed run the prestigious Boston Marathon several times.


Friends sometimes joke that our kids (we also have a 6-year-old son in kindergarten) were born to be endurance athletes. While I do admit to liking the sound of that, I honestly just want my boys to be physically fit. We try to incorporate at least a little playful exercise into their daily routine, as well as fruits and veggies.


But as you know, healthy living doesn't come easily or, in this country, even naturally. One candy-filled holiday rolls right into the next one, Happy Meals do in fact make my kids happy and no one entertains them quite the way SpongeBob does.


A few weekends ago, Walker threw a royal fit as I dragged him out of the house to join me and his brother for a late-afternoon trip to the local park. Walker wanted to stay home with his mom, but the weather was gorgeous and he'd been inside all day. So I forced him to go out and play, even though I felt like a bad dad as I carried away a screaming, crying and kicking boy.


But Walker ended up having a great time with his brother and the other kids who were at the park, racing up and down the sliding boards and playing tag for more than an hour.


I guess sometimes you have to be a bad dad to be a good dad.


If it's cold and rainy at the 2033 Boston Marathon,  maybe Walker will thank me for having him prepared.


Andy Mason is the assistant sports editor at The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, Md.

I spent three days late last month visiting 18 high schools across the WPIAL. I drove 533 miles, took hundreds of photographs, shook hands with dozens of coaches, athletic directors and principals and climbed way too many stadium steps. I loved every minute of it, of course.
Editor's DeskFeature OneHigh School
On the heels of two straight wins, the Franklin Regional Panthers are looking to improve to 3-1 Friday night as welcome the Indiana Little Indians (2-1) to Panther Stadium.
Feature TwoHSCOGOS2014Press Room
Belle Vernon will battle Hollidaysburg in a WPIAL Triple-A clash Friday night with both teams looking for their third win on the season.
Feature ThreeHSUSS2014Press Room
The Steelers traditional powerhouse defense has set a yearly standard for fans and pundits for decades. But an aging Pittsburgh defense has had a rocky time the last couple of seasons.
Feature FourPure Steel
PSR VIDEO
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Xfinity HS FootballHigh School TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Pirates TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3USS HS GOTWHigh School TV Channel
Twenty-two WPIAL football teams will have new coaches pacing the sidelines this season, including a few that will be featured in the CoGo's Feature Matchup this season.
Custom 1HSCOGOS2014
Several of the most coveted recruits throughout the WPIAL have already made their college decisions, most notably Sterling Jenkins of Baldwin. Others, like Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead, are still being recruited.
Custom 2High SchoolKeystone Recruiting
Bill Cherpak misses the way it used to be. Back in the 80’s, when the current Thomas Jefferson High School coach was a player at Steel Valley, the recruiting process wasn’t publicized. It was low-key compared to the present.
Custom 3High School
The Mon-Valley has put plenty of athletes on Division 1 football teams over the years, including several who made it to the NFL. There are a few Mon-Valley natives playing D-1 ball this season.
Custom 4HSUSS2014