OR athletes have learned a lot from their fathers—some lessons more serious than others. Here, we collected their favorite lessons from Dad. Enjoy!


“El tiempo pasa igual,” in English: “Time goes by anyway (no matter what you do or don’t)." I don’t know the literal translation, but it means pretty much to do things ... now.

—Santiago Guzman


My Dad is one interesting character, and the best piece of advice he ever gave me was: "Always stay in shape, so you can outrun the cops!" I don't run away from cops (anymore), but I have always stayed in great shape!

—Margo Talbot


Before every expedition, my Dad tells me to "Be bold,be safe, be smart." This has turned into a mantra that I repeat while exhausted on big climbs.

—Graham Zimmerman

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"It's all in the shoulder; only dance move you'll ever need to know."

—Rachael Burks


"The things you work the hardest to get you appreciate the most."

—Adam George


"Everywhere is within walking distance." My dad grew up in downtown Tokyo, where my Oji-Chan—my grandfather—had the labyrinth of claustrophobic streets and hidden back alleys wired, totally committed to memory. The man, who lived to be almost 90, never had a driver's license; when the family would opt to drive somewhere in our vast neighborhood, he'd refuse the ride, preferring to get there on foot, often intent on racing there to see whether he'd arrive before the rest of us. It's with this in mind that my own old man used to encourage my brother and I to walk, say, to a friend's place, rather than to continue insisting on a ride. And when I'd spend my long, North American summer vacations in Japan visiting the extended family, I'd often join our venerable patriarch each day on his marches—glorified pub crawls, really—through parts of the city that, even then, I could not begin to recount how we'd gotten there. I learned from my Dad, and from my grandfather, that one can access anywhere on the planet, as long as one can walk there. It's a philosophy I've applied to my own travels and exploration, that nowhere is too far, if "everywhere is within walking distance."

—Shingo Ohkawa


My dad always told me when I was a kid that "variety is the spice of life." For some reason, I always think of that phrase.

—Jessa Goebel


My dad would say, "Do your best," and, "Listen to yourself." It's some of the best advice I've ever gotten!

—Beth Rodden


"You're not going to catch a fish unless your line is in the water."

—Neil Provo


"Whatever you are, be a good one and have fun doing it."

—Matt McCormick


"If it's difficult to get to, then wilderness will still be there."

—Kevin Callan


“Son, you gotta be smarter than what you’re working with.”

—Pat Goodman

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“Don’t use the gas and the brake at the same time.”

—Paul Kuthe


My Dad has always been such a patient man. He raised four redheaded girls! His motto to us was to "take a deep breath" and "don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s just not worth your time and energy." It’s definitely helped me in a life full of difficult decisions and stressful situations. It's also helped me focus on what's important. I sure do love and appreciate my dad.

—Jessica Baker


“You got this.”

—Hans Florine

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"Always let your conscience be your guide." It’s actually a Jiminy Cricket quote, but serves as an example of who my dad is and it has helped shape my moral compass, too.

—Emilie Drinkwater


I really can't put my finger on a phrase of his, other than "Five-minute showers maximum!" and "No elbows on the table!" Seriously, though, I've learned a ton from my dad. The biggest thing I learned from my dad is a strong work ethic—I didn't always appreciate it as a kid, but now as an adult I realize that it's not something you're born with. It has to be instilled, and teaching your kids a work ethic is NOT easy, but it is a game changer as an adult.

—Sarah Hueniken


Illustration courtesy of Brendan Leonard.

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