A Father’s Day Message

PLL Whipsnakes' Attackman Ryan Drenner's thoughts on what it means to be a professional lacrosse player and a father.

Photo by Alex McIntyre

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June 16, 2019

To me, Father’s Day was always about celebrating your father and making sure you thanked him for everything he did for you. And that’s still a big part of Father’s Day for me. But over the past three years my perspective has shifted. My son Beckham is now 2 ½ and we are spending our third Father’s Day together. And this day is now about embracing what being a father is about and spending as much time as possible with him.

It was a little over three years ago that I found out I was going to have a son. I was a junior at Towson at the time. My teammates and I were preparing for what ended up being one of the best seasons for Towson in years and I was preparing for the biggest role in my life.

I’m not just driven in lacrosse. I tend to be driven in most things I do. So when I found out I was having a son, I wanted to make sure I was going to be the best father possible.

I was a psychology major, so I enrolled in a lot of childhood development classes. They say nothing can fully prepare you for being a parent, but I felt that by educating myself about childhood development, what stages children go through and what you can do to help them develop, I can at least make sure I’m as prepared as I could be.

My son was born in October 2016 in the middle of the fall semester at Towson. I was lucky enough to have a lot of great support around me. His mom does a great job raising him. His grandparents and others also made it possible for me to continue my education and finish my lacrosse career at Towson. I was still able to complete my goals: graduating college and competing in collegiate lacrosse at a high level, even appearing in the 2017 NCAA Division I championship weekend.

After college is where my plans shifted. Prior to Beckham I probably would have wound up in some sales role, maybe medical device sales like many of my teammates. But now I wanted to carve a path that allowed me to spend as much time as possible with him.

Fortunately, lacrosse was able to help provide that opportunity. By coaching lacrosse and playing professionally, I am afforded time to spend daytime with my son. We don’t send him to day care, so I get to hang out with him all day and watch him develop. Over the past year or so it’s been amazing to watch him develop into a full-blown human being, doing everything I do. It’s awesome to have a new best friend with me everywhere I go.

By the way, the coolest thing about spending time with Beckham is watching him gain interests and learn new things. He loves anything with a wheel. Even when he was younger, he had tons of toys to play with, but he’d always crawl over to his stroller in our apartment to spin the wheels. We play with cars (he’s got a pretty significant Hot Wheels collection), read books about all different kinds of vehicles, and when we’re outside he rides around the yard on his electric four wheeler pretending it’s a police car, fire engine or ambulance saving people from danger. I swear he knows more about cars at two than I do at 24.

But spending so much time with him means the tough part of being a pro lacrosse player is when I have to travel away from him. Whenever I leave, I normally drop him off at his grandparents and let him know that I’m headed to the airport to get on an airplane (which he gets fired up about – he loves planes, too). I FaceTime with him whenever I’m away and he’s old enough now to understand that I’m in another state and will be home soon.

Last week I was fortunate enough to score the game-winning goal in overtime against the Chrome Lacrosse Club. When I came off the field, I had a text that Beckham watched the game and watched me score. After the game he even saw me interviewed on NBC Sports Gold.

He said: “That’s my daddy!”, followed by “I want daddy here.”

While I love lacrosse and the PLL, there is nothing like being with my son. Right after the game I drove straight from New York back to Maryland to see him.

Next week in Baltimore will be the first time Beckham gets to see me play live in a PLL game. Even though he is only 2 ½, it puts a little more pressure on my plate. I want to make sure I’m showing out for him, while also doing what I need to do for the team. I know he probably won’t remember anything, but it’ll be one that I remember for sure.

Being a father is one of the greatest blessings in my life. To me, it’s about trying to shape the best individual possible, raise him the right way and provide him everything that he needs. Beckham is the reason I do everything I do.

Lacrosse has afforded me the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my son. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to experience a strong father/son bond. So this Father’s Day, if you have a father, know that day is more than just about appreciating him, it is about spending time together and building memories.

And if you have a son, take the day to appreciate what being a father means to you. I know I will.

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