Parenting Blog

Tough and Tender Parenting

Ball Park Flame Grilled Jerky Lineup

It has come to my attention that I am more like jerky than previously believed, and not only because I’m sometimes a jerk. Anyway, that’d be WAY too obvious a joke. And that’s not my style.

I should be clear here, before we go any further down this curious road: by ‘previously believed’ I mean that I’d never once considered the possibility of having a dried meat doppelganger. But there it is. I’m a tough and tender parent, I’m satisfying at any time of day and odoriferous in the best way imaginable.

Until Ball Park, the makers of America’s favorite beef hot dog, approached me last month to ask if I’d like to talk about the tough and tender side of fatherhood in conjunction with the launch of their new Ball Park Flame Grilled Jerky, I’d never once in my life tasted jerky. I know! Weird, right? I was, however, very close this summer. We were driving through Colorado, up high in the Rocky Mountains near the cinematic old mining town of Leadville when I saw a handmade jerky stand on the side of the road. There was nothing else around but snow capped peaks and postcard vistas. I guess that’s as good a spot as any to sell your wares if you’re a handmade jerky farmer and so I pulled over thinking, well, if I’m ever going to give jerky a taste, now seems the ideal time.

But at $11 an ounce or something, that was most definitely not the ideal time. Not even close. I drove off with nothing more than a few more megabytes worth of photos on my memory card thinking that the chance to taste truly great jerky was gone forev…nope; it’s here, with Ball Park Flame Grilled Jerky.

Ball Park Flame Grilled Jerky Pork Barbeque

And man, I can’t believe how delicious it is, especially the Barbeque Pork flavor which delivers the rich, complex taste of a great pulled pork BBQ without all the waiting…or all the pulling…or all the spilling it down the front of you all over your favorite player’s jersey while tailgating before the game. Hey, speaking of…

Notre Dame vs Temple with Ballpark Beef Jerky

A photo posted by Greg Bogle (@gbogle1) on

To get an honest assessment of the quality and depth of flavor in Ball Park’s foray in the wild world of dried meats, I mailed a couple packages of Ball Park Flame Grilled Jerky to my brother in New Jersey, ahead of the Notre Dame v. Temple football game on Halloween night. He fancies jerky and so I knew he’d give me the honest low down on how the tough and tender meat from Ball Park holds up against challengers. My bro gave Notre Dame’s dramatic win AND Ball Park Flame Grilled Jerky, which is dried for toughness and then flame grilled for a uniquely tender texture and superior char-grilled flavor, two enthusiastic thumbs up. Of course, his thumbs (and index fingers) are pressed against the jerky as he devours it, but they are up nonetheless! See, thumbs up!

Tailgating with Ballpark Teriyaki Beef Jerky A photo posted by Greg Bogle (@gbogle1) on

So how am I like Ball Park Flame Grilled Jerky, exactly? Well, it’s all in the toughness and tenderness I display pretty much every single day as a dad to a pair of brilliant and hilarious young ladies. I bark orders to take shorter showers so as not to waste water and I dole out instructions for how the evening will progress now that nothing at all was cleaned up after last night’s impromptu Rainbow Loom session, but at the end of it all, I’m snuggled up reading a Clementine book to my youngest daughter and then sitting on the side of my oldest girl’s bed making her giggle with yet another ridiculous piece of my own personal fiction about a boy I went to grade school with named Little Jimmy. My imaginary old classmates are always named Little Jimmy. Before you ask, I don’t know why. They just are. And they have done some truly bizarre things that are meant to be the most absurd cautionary tales ever. Mostly though, the improvised 100% made-up stories I tell serve as a way for me to be tender and silly with my daughters.

This is what fatherhood is for me — tough and tender parenting — the pivoting with ease between being tough to instill good habits, self-discipline and thoughtfulness and being extremely tender to give big hugs, to read, sing or regale them with an odd story to send them off to slumber and to listen without remark to their struggles or fears whenever they need to get something off their chests.

Big thanks to Ball Park for sponsoring this tough and tender (and slightly meandering) story. OWTK received a big box of Ball Park Flame Grilled Jerky as well as financial compensation to partner with Ball Park on this post, but the opinions above are honest and unbiased, as always.

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