HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – On any given night you can find Mike Roberts at the bar. Roberts is co-owner of The Sportspage Lounge & Deli on South Memorial Parkway. Given his job, Mike has been known to work a late night or two between managing the bar and exercising his musician chops by playing gigs at the venue. But you better believe on the first day of school each year Roberts is up and at ’em — and for good reason.
It all started four years ago when Roberts’ wife Kim snapped a quick photo of Mike and his son Jude on the way to Kindergarten at Challenger Elementary School in Huntsville.
“Yeah, we were so excited, we were way up in front of her and she just held up her phone and took a picture and everybody thought it was cute — and so we’ve done it every year since,” Mike Roberts said.
People thought the photo series including dad and son with hands clasped was so cute, in fact, that Mike says patrons of the bar have even come up to him at work with positive comments. The snapshots may be social media hits, but Mike says that’s definitely not what’s spurring him on.
“We’re going to do it all the way through high school — even if he has to carry me or do piggy-back. By the time he gets in high school I’ll probably need a wheelchair,” Roberts laughs.
The bearded, ponytail donning, bar-owning, rocker dad admits he’s really just a teddy bear — like most dads tend to be for their kids.
“Before too long it’s gonna get more difficult to hold his hand going to school I’m sure, you know?”
While Roberts says fourth grader Jude is pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, that may well change in just a couple of years. Roberts says being able to look back is priceless.
“When he gets to college, gets married, you know, maybe even have kids of his own — it’s pretty cool,” says Roberts.