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Today's Tidbit... Make Room for Daddy
Football borrowed many elements of its terminology from the military, but few would think that “Dad's Day” also originated in the military. Dad's Day came into relatively wide usage during WWI when many military camps held Dad's Days for fathers to visit their sons. Soldiers drafted into the National Army during WWI typically underwent their initial training at camps within their state or region, making it easy for some Dads to attend those events. Dad's Days also occurred in Europe, with soldier sons writing their fathers on the designated days.
Following WWI, the first Dad's Day in which fathers were encouraged to visit a college campus came in 1920 at the University of Illinois. Illinois had been the birthplace of homecoming in 1910, so it was only natural that the organizing Illini would pioneer Dad's Day. Period articles indicate that campus fraternities encouraged Dads to attend social events and the home football game before the Illini took the activity campus-wide.
The 1920 event opened campus buildings for tours, saw several thousand dads attend the Ohio State-Illinois football game, and put on a feed and faculty meet-and-greet at the University Annex.
Dad's Days carried on for several decades, with many schools honoring the fathers of football team members at halftime.
Other schools thought it wiser to honor mothers and fathers in a joint Parents' Day. Coe College jumped on that idea in 1923, followed by Baker College and Michigan State in 1924, with the latter enjoying a sunny afternoon at the football game and then barbecuing a steer or two, topped by a bonfire and fireworks.
Similar themes have played out for Dad's and Parents' Days ever since.
Happy Father’s Day to you and yours!
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