By Anthony Rhoads
Last week, I had the chance to take a week off and spend some time with my parents in Virginia.
One of the activities I looked forward to was going fishing with my dad.
It rained pretty much the entire time during my vacation but my dad and I managed go out for a few days on the banks of the Clinch River.
Even though neither one of us had much luck, it was still an enjoyable experience. I was just glad to get away from everything and spend some time on the river with my dad.
It was my dad who first got me into fishing when I was in elementary school. The first fishing trip we went on was to Bluestone Lake in Summers County, W.Va.
I didn't catch anything on that first fishing trip but I really had a lot of fun just being out there.
The next day, my dad and I went fishing with some cousins on the Greenbrier River. It was there that I caught my first fish, a bluegill. After that experience, I was hooked on fishing for life.
Over the years, my dad and I went on numerous trips on the New and Greenbrier rivers, Indian Creek and other spots in southern West Virginia.
Growing up, I was really lucky to have been able to spend that time with my dad.
There are so many young men in our society today who don't have good relationships with their fathers and that is very sad.
Too many men don't take their roles as fathers seriously. Being a father is the most important responsibility a man can have and too many men fall way short of what they should be as fathers.
Being a dad is more than just fathering a child. It's really disgusting to see men take pride in fathering a child and then do nothing to provide for their children they have brought into the world. I firmly believe that one of the worst things a man can do is to neglect his family.
The ultimate responsibility of a father is to take care of your children because that's where most of society's ills begin. If a child comes from a bad family environment where the father is not around, the chances for that child to become successful in life is greatly reduced.
If the father is not around to provide guidance and to teach his son how to be responsible, who will the son turn to? If the father is not there to be a role model for his son, who will the son look up to?
I was exceptionally blessed to have a father who really cared and who took his responsibilities to his family seriously.
My dad's father abandoned him when he was just 9-months-old and he didn't see his father again until he was well into his 20s.
My father's experience made him determined to be the man his father never was.
When I was growing up, my father did everything he could to provide for me. At one time, he held one full-time job and two part-time jobs to provide for his family.
He not only did his best to provide the material things but also stressed to me the importance of hard work and the value of an education.
My father, James Rhoads, definitely provided the foundation of what was expected of me and as I look back now, I realize he was the role model for my life.
Growing up I definitely admired a lot of pro athletes like Dale Murphy and Hank Aaron but there weren't my heroes or role models.
That honor was and continues to be reserved for my dad.
Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.