Fathers of girls volleyball team recreate promotion poster, go viral


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Smaka posted this photo on the Grand Haven Girls Volleyball social media on Sept. 17 with the caption "Dads will do anything for their daughters - and we have some of the best. #DadSquad"

Morgan Womack, Co-Editor-In-Chief

A group of supportive fathers met in secret to recreate their daughters’ volleyball team photo, but  little did they know it would spike such a huge hit on social media.

The idea came into fruition during the Battle on the Boardwalk tournament when one of the dads made a joke about making a mock-poster. From there, they communicated a plan through the team parent GroupMe. 

Larry Kallio, one of the fathers, took the lead, getting in contact with the photographer and his wife Sarah who designed the poster. They met at the State Park on Sept. 9 for the shoot.

“For us it was freezing,” Larry said. “We were not in the water for very long and we didn’t get our hair wet like the girls did, but we were in the same spot in the water with the same photographer.”

They even managed to wear their daughters’ jerseys in the photo. 

“We probably spent more time trying to slip into their jerseys than we did setting up the photo,” Larry said. “I think the experience I’d just say was funny ‘cause there’s people at the State Park camping, having their morning coffee and here’s a bunch of 40-plus-year-old guys climbing in the water with skin tight shirts on taking a picture.”

However, this just shows the dedication coach Aaron Smaka referred to in his Facebook post of the photo with the caption “Dads will do anything for their daughters – and we have some of the best. #DadSquad”

Smaka didn’t know about the poster until Larry snuck it into his classroom on the morning of Sept. 16. He appreciates the support for his team members. 

“I just think it means they’re involved,” Smaka said. “I think they’re involved in what we’re doing, in some ways it shows they’re supporting, that they’re behind, it also shows that they can have fun and they’re not afraid to make fun of themselves.”

He says that the girls are even asking their dads for autographed copies of the poster. Most of the players were surprised, including Larry’s daughter, junior Lexie Kallio who is a middle blocker and right side hitter for the team.

“It didn’t surprise me that he made this idea,” Lexie said. “I was just so surprised and shocked I was like, ‘this is not happening.’”

Lexie notes that the dads’ dynamic encourages the team to do better.

“I think it made our team stronger just ‘cause we all agree that it’s so quirky and hilarious and I think we’ll remember this even past high school like when we’re 40 and just remember that our dads did this,” Lexie said. “I think it’s just a cool memory that most volleyball girls don’t get to have.”

The poster going viral has not only helped the promotion of the volleyball program, but also helped to relay a stronger message.

“I think it’s good notoriety for the team,” Larry said. “I think it’s in general important to show other dads throughout the world that, you know, yes we’re fat and we’re soft but we’ll put on that skin tight jersey and we’ll get out in the water and we’ll support our girls ‘cause we love ‘em.”