“My Daddy’s a Champion” was the headline at the top of the Daily Telegraph, one of the biggest selling daily newspapers in Australia several years ago. The story inside the paper was even better.
I have never met Daniel Geale, but you can tell he is a lot more than a prize fighter. Daniel is also aspiring to be a great Dad.
I will let you make up your own mind from the newspaper’s story about him.
“The morning after the fight before, the middleweight champion of the world awoke and, after just a few hours’ sleep, took his youngest daughter off to her first day of kindergarten.
She had no idea what had happened the previous night.
One day, after she learns to read, she will no doubt Google how her father went into the ring with most of the country behind him, against a man who said some disgraceful things about him and her mum and a whole lot of other people, and she will read about what he did that night.
And she will realise that when the hard work was done that night her father, Daniel Geale, said the job was still only half over.
The revelation came up by accident. Geale, IBF middleweight champion, had just schooled Mundine over 12 rounds to take the decision on all three judges’ cards. It was unanimous; among the judges and among everybody who saw it, despite Mundine’s hurt feelings and loud moans.
Mundine left the ring as soon as the decision was announced. Geale stuck around for an interview with Main Event’s Ben Damon and, as the interview closed, Geale asked if he could say a few thankyous – and finally got to his family: “To my beautiful wife, she wants to be thanked … ”
The comment sparked something, and so Damon pulled him back for one more question: Was it true he was taking his daughter to school the following morning?
“That’s right. I’m getting up early to take my youngest daughter to school. It’s her first day of Kindie so I can’t wait,” he said.
There was no sleep-in. No indulgence for the 12 hard rounds he fought the night before, uniting Australia in a way his opponent once set out to do but, somewhere along the trip, lost his way.
Daniel Geale won’t lose his way. Men who rise in the morning so they don’t miss their daughter’s first day of school have their priorities right. The moral compass doesn’t go awry with these ones.
“She’s too important to miss this,” Geale said as he walked his daughter, Lilyarna, 5, to school.
“It is pretty exciting. I did it for my other two kids so it wasn’t going to be different for my youngest. She is very excited, a little nervous but pretty cute.”
That was Geale’s priority after the fight. He put off any celebration until tonight when, he said: “I might have a beer.”
It will be a quiet celebration at home with family, most of whom have flown up from Tasmania, and some friends.
“It’s about keeping things nice and quiet while I let my body recover,” he said.
“No big parties for me.”
Lilyarna Geale went to school yesterday, like thousands of other kids, only she went with the middleweight champion of the world by her side.
And she will soon learn to read like all those other kids, and she will one day read about her father, and what a wonderful dad he was on her first day of school.
As if she really needs to read to know that.”
Paul Kent’s words said it all:
“Daniel Geale won’t lose his way. Men who rise in the morning so they don’t miss their daughter’s first day of school have their priorities right. The moral compass doesn’t go awry with these ones.”
Daniel Geale lost the IBF Middleweight champion title to Darren Barker seven months later, but I believe he still holds the title of ‘Champion Dad’ with his daughter to this day. Judging by the story above, that is the title that Daniel Geale would like to hold in the long term. I am sure it is the same for you!
I wish I had been that good a father to my children, but then we can always aspire to be the champions our children believe we are. Hopefully as they grow older and realise that we are less than perfect, they will still know that we tried.
Yours for Champion Dads,