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Excerpt from 'Big Daddy's Rules'

Actor Steve Schirripa has penned a new book

Actor Steve Schirripa has penned a new book about his old-school way of parenting called "Big Daddy's Rules: Raising Daughters is Tougher Than I Look" (Touchstone, $25). Schirripa will be on Long Island in May and June of 2013 signing the book. Credit: Handout

"Big Daddy's Rules" by Steve Schirripa

Your Life Is Holding on Line Two

When it comes to getting his daughters interested in sports, you would have thought my buddy Mitch, the Modell's Sporting Goods guy, would have had that under control. He's a dad of five kids, and his two oldest -- they're in their twenties now -- he tried everything to get them into sports. But it just didn't take. Some girls -- and I guess some guys, too -- just won't go there. It was pretty frustrating for him, to tell you the truth. He's making up for it with his younger kids -- two boys and a seventeen-year-old girl. They're all sports kids.

But I'll tell you what Mitch does have down: the whole idea of being there. Being a big, present, there-when-you-need and there-when-you-don't kind of dad.

"I work my schedule around my kids," Mitch told me. "My daughter's volleyball games, or soccer games, baseball games -- I try to attend every one of them. When I'm on the sidelines, I know they're always looking over to see if I'm there."

I was surprised, when Mitch told me that; I mean, this is a guy with a lot of responsibility. He's a very busy guy.

But he doesn't let himself get too busy for his kids. "Believe me, it's tough. It's not easy," he said. "But like anything else. God forbid you get a call and a friend passes away and you have to go to a funeral, you always seem to manage to show up. That's how I treat their schedule. Like everything is that important."

The funny thing is, his kids don't realize how unusual that is. How guys like Mitch and me, who didn't grow up with a dad who did that sort of thing, know how unusual it is. The kids don't get that. But you know what? Kids never do.

"They don't understand it," Mitch told me. "But I never understood it until I had kids. I only wish my father had gone to my basketball games or baseball games. He went to one baseball game my entire life. In Little League. You see other parents there, other fathers there, you know, you kind of accepted it. But when I look back, I would never want to leave that kind of void in my kids' lives."

One of the reasons Mitch is like that, I think, is that he's an older dad. Like my buddy Anson Williams who I was telling you about before -- when you're older, your priorities change. Mitch doesn't care how anybody looks at him in a meeting -- and I guess, maybe when you're the boss, you don't have to care -- but when his kids call, whether it's the young ones or the grown ones, everything stops and he takes the call.

Hello? Big Daddy speaking. Can I help you?

Excerpted from "Big Daddy's Rules: Raising Daughters Is Tougher Than I Look," by Steve Schirripa

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