As dads around the world are celebrated Father’s Day, we decided to honor the most fun-loving father in the NFL – Papa Gronk, a.k.a “The Creator” Gordy Gronkowski.
Father to five larger-than-life boys – Gordie Jr., Dan, Chris, Rob and Glenn – and grandfather to a growing number of grandkids – Gordy revealed to Gronk Nation the best things about being a dad to his wild bunch and why he’s so proud of all his boys.
“They were always good kids, we had a lot of crazy times with all the fighting and all that but they turned out to be fantastic. They’re now all very polite, very smart, very respectable adults -- there is nothing more I could ask for as a father, I am very proud of all of them. They’re still crazy and wild but very respectful and have a great time with life. It has been a great ride with them, to watch how talented they are, how well they turned out. I am very proud of all of them and they always put a smile on my face.
I still have Father’s Day cards that the boys made in school when they were kids, they would give me coupons like ‘I’ll wash the car, I’ll cut the lawn, I’ll clean the house.’ I collected and kept a lot of that stuff. I should dig them out and get Rob to cut the lawn now!
I brought them up to live every day to the fullest because you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, and that’s exactly what they do. That’s basically been my life philosophy and I’ve passed it onto them.
We’re all very close, we do a lot as a family and we’re always together. From going to all their baseball games when they were little when I was coaching, to all the funny moments at home. We had a game called ‘Zoom Zoom,’ where we would get in the corners of a room with pillows and try to kill each other. The only rules in the house were no hitting in the head and no hitting in the midsection. We’d always just goof around, do stupid things and make each other laugh all the time … just have fun.
Having us all together last weekend at the Belmont Stakes and the Youth Football Clinic made me so happy -- I just wish Chris had been with us but everyone thinks Glenn is Chris anyway! They’re my best friends and they always have been, they’re all equal and no one is my favorite. We talk on the phone every single week and now we’ve got the grandchildren … watching them have families of their own and become fathers is just the greatest feeling ever. Danny was using a couple of my parenting techniques at the weekend and to see that was awesome. And now we have a baby girl come into the family and everyone is lit up about it.
To be able to see how well the boys all get along and how much they care for each other is the greatest thing. Knowing they’d always be there for one another, to watch that togetherness. I always said to them, the bottom line is we’re a family here and no matter what, we all stick together -- in good times, bad times, whatever. I told them, ‘If I die, and if one of you don’t talk to each other, I will come down and kick your ass.’ I preached all the time that family is everything. Your brothers will always be here and they’ll be first in line, you can always count on them no matter what. Once you get on in life, you’ll realize that you only have about five people you can be there with -- and your brothers will probably always be your best friends.
Right now, we all support Rob with his football career by going to his games, and we get to see the next generation with Danny’s kids playing sports and support them too. Rob came into town to see them a few weeks ago, and it’s just a phenomenal feeling for a dad to see everyone get together. It is starting all over again with the younger guys, and Dan recently asked me ‘you’re gonna help me coach, right?’ That your son still wants you to be a part of everything is a just great feeling … that your kids love you that much. They’re ALL going to be awesome dads.
My kids always want me around them wherever they’re going – even to Vegas! -- I am always invited and a part of the party. We have a blast because I’m just like them, I’m still a little kid at heart. We just like to have fun and that is what life is about.
Other people say ‘you must be so proud of your kids,’ and I say ‘Aren’t you proud of your kids?’ My kids play sports and that’s great but the bottom line is if your kid is a doctor or dentist or whatever, you’re still gonna be just as proud of them. If Rob didn’t play football, it wouldn’t matter. It is about seeing what your kids took from you and what they learned in life.
My philosophy is work hard and good things will come to you, treat people right and good things will come to you. It’s not that hard to figure out, and they figured it out. They are good genuine people and they give back, we have our foundation and we all show up to the charity events. We’ll go to the hospitals and they put smiles on sick kids’ faces – some of the greatest moments of my life are seeing that stuff … when you make people smile and feel good about themselves.
They’re giving back and doing all the right things in life. Even on the day of the Belmont, we told them that we had 600 kids waiting at the football camp and they came first. We put it together and made sure that we could do it all – watch Gronkowski the Horse come in second and then get back to Massachusetts that night!”