INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center welcomed 1,500 fathers and children last Saturday afternoon to take part in the H.H. Gregg All-Pro Dad's Father and Kids Experience.
Colts quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen is in his 14th season of being involved with All-Pro Dad's after starting the group with former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy during their time in Tampa Bay.
"I've had a lot of great experiences in this practice facility, but one I enjoy every year is this All-Pro Dad's day that we have," Christensen said. "It's packed and a lot of kids, and dads are having fun."
The children and fathers were spread across the Colts' indoor practice facility to continue an event that began when Dungy and Christensen came to Indianapolis prior to the 2002 season.
"Always sold out, always packed and a lot of fun had by all," Christensen said of the three-hour event. "Hopefully, (this is) an encouragement to dads to give them some tools and sharpen our skills as dads, as running our families and balancing our work place and our hope life. That's what we started out to do and tried to stay on the same message all the way through it."
Current Colts offensive guard Joe Reitz visited with families on Saturday afternoon while spending time with his own 15-month old daughter, Juliana.
"As the Colts, we are always out in the community," Reitz said. "That's something that Mr. Irsay, Mr. Grigson, Coach Pagano have built this team on and organization around – faith, family and football and having your priorities in the right order. It's great to be able to play for coaches that believe that, for an organization to believe that, like the Colts do.
"Just being a new dad, I just want to learn from older guys that have set a good example for me on how to be a good husband, how to be a good father."
Reitz was not the only Colts offensive lineman who was present on Saturday.
Recently-retired tackle Ryan Diem was in attendance on Saturday and having played 11 seasons and 158 games with the Colts, he knows exactly what All Pro Dad's stands for.
"The Colts organization has always prided themselves on being in the community, especially with Coach (Tony) Dungy when he was here," Diem, a father of three, said. "He really brought the faith out in all of us, and he really wanted to help us promote just being a good person and a good father. All-Pro Dad's definitely lives up to those expectations."
Darrin Gray, the National Director of Partnerships for All-Pro Dad's and Family First, calls Indianapolis home and wanted to show his gratitude to the Colts for putting on such an event.
"I'm so proud to be here at the Colts practice facility," Gray said. "This is one of the events we've done here for many, many years. We are very grateful to the Colts organization for making this possible."
The three-hour event on Saturday covered a variety of topics, with certain segments put on by various Colts sponsors.
"We are teaching amazing lessons about what it means to be better connected between fathers and kids," Gray said. "We are teaching lessons about not drinking and driving, about buckling up for safety, about not texting while you're driving, as well as emotional(ly-based) messages about how they can get better connected. We have over 70 chapters here in central Indiana where dads and kids get together every month and learn these same kinds of lessons.
Following Saturday's event in Indianapolis, the Rams will host an event on November 17, followed by the Steelers and Dolphins.
During the midst of his 11th year with the Colts, Christensen marveled at what the Colts have been able to do on and off the field in the city of Indianapolis.
"One of the neat platforms being with the Colts and that the Colts and city have is that you can have an impact and the NFL can have a great, positive impact on a day like this with dads and families and kids," Christensen said.