USA Triathlon News Blogs My Story Finding the Bridge B...

Finding the Bridge Between Athlete and Father

By Dennis Law | Sept. 20, 2016, 1:58 p.m. (ET)

dennis law

After competing in several local sprint triathlons, two 70.3 triathlons and becoming a finisher at IRONMAN Wisconsin in 2014, I, Dennis Law, father of four, found a compelling need to continue developing my love for the sport, both individually and within my home and community. I found it easy to recognize early on that I was committed to being a recreational athlete while equally committed to being an attentive father and the question I was frequently finding myself asking was can I link the two and how do I accomplish that?

In an attempt at finding balance as an athlete striving for personal fulfillment and the desire to raise a family with similar interests and values, I recognized triathlons as an opportunity to encourage personal growth through physical health, while supporting mental wellness through a source of individual accomplishment and development of sportsmanship and self-confidence. My oldest son, Eli, now age 8, participated in his first local youth triathlon at age 3, and my three youngest children, daughter Tatum, age 5, and twin sons Oliver and Dane, ages 4, have each followed by also competing in their age-related distances respectively. In an effort to nurture a common bond and further promote a healthy balance of both personal growth and family development, I inquired about a program offered through our local nonprofit youth triathlon organization and it is my honor to have been chosen to represent Tri 4 Schools as one of their Athletes of the Year, at IRONMAN Wisconsin. As one of the Tri 4 Schools official ambassadors of 2016, I am providing my children with the opportunity to see firsthand what hard work, discipline and dedication can accomplish through training, while at the same time, through fundraising, contribute toward the development of an organization that provides these same opportunities for growth to our youth.

Tri 4 Schools is a 501C3 nonprofit organization in Dane County, Wisconsin, that uses the sports of swimming, biking and running as platforms to get children active and fight childhood obesity. The organization hopes to instill the basics of a healthy lifestyle in children ages 3-14, so they are well-equipped to make healthy choices that will benefit them throughout their lives. Since the nonprofit organization was founded in 2011, Tri 4 Schools has helped over 8,500 kids participate in a triathlon or mud run, and has donated nearly $200,000 in resources to our local schools.  

Between IRONMAN training, fulfilling the role of Athlete of the Year and supporting my children in their individual events, it has become clear that I have found the link between athlete and father that I was looking for. I am committed to a lifestyle that allows adult athletes with children to continue participation in activities that encourage individual growth and development while embracing the responsibilities of raising our youth in an environment that allows them to flourish both physically and emotionally. I am excited for the opportunities that triathlons are providing as a lasting bond between the two.

If you are interested in supporting the development of youth triathlon, please consider donating to the Tri 4 Schools nonprofit organization at gofundme.com or  frundraise.com.