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  • Writer's pictureCorinne Baldwin

I’m Gonna Tell You Everything About My Dad.

A Happy Birthday to Steve Baldwin

Today is both a beautiful and a sorrowful day in my life. It’s February 11th. It’s my dad’s birthday.

On this day 53 years ago, my amazing daddio Steve Baldwin was born and brought into this crazy world. For that, I couldn’t be more grateful. My dad lived a humble, quiet life, but he was also boldly protective and supportive of everyone he loved.

And the world took him away from us on September 12, 2022.

That’s not what we’re going to focus on here, though. Grief is a bitch, and I’m sad and angry every day that I no longer have my dad to call on or to make jokes with or to talk to about sports. But on his birthday, I don’t want to focus on the loss of my dad. Instead, I want to celebrate everything that made him so special to me.

Firstly, my dad was a MASSIVE Philadelphia Eagles fan. And although the Birds underperformed dramatically this season, today is also the Super Bowl. I loved how the Super Bowl always fell around my football-loving dad’s birthday each year. Our last conversation we ever had was about the Eagles, and I’m constantly reminded of how much football played a part in my dad’s life. You would always find him in one of three brands of shirts – Philadelphia Eagles, Disney, or Harley Davidson. That just goes to show how much these three things meant to him. Every time I watch a football game or hear sports banter, I can’t help but think of my dad. He truly LOVED the game.

So back to those other two things I just mentioned, the first of which being Disney – my dad was just as much a Disney adult as the rest of us. He even had the DOPEST Mickey Mouse tattoo sleeve (Mickey engulfed in flames from a Phoenix rising from the ashes…I mean my GOSH!). He and my mom both would fully plan out our multitude of Disney World trips, and every time we’d walk down Main Street USA, he would instantly light up. 

My dad had his Disney things: loved Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, a lamb chop from Australia during the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, getting all the best songs on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, repping Grogu/Baby Yoda from the Mandalorian, and not wearing ponchos when it started to rain. He and my mom’s first date was to see Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which is a Disney movie, and I feel like that set up the beginning of their fairytale of a love story. They would call each other Roger and Jessica from time to time and always quote the movie too. Just goes to show how much they really do love Disney.

The other one of his two things that he loved was Harley Davidson. Until he got sick, my dad was an avid rider. I only ever got on the back of his bike a handful of times, but I could tell it brought him so much joy, and because it interested him, it interested me. He had several bikes throughout his life, but he always found himself coming back to his Harleys. 

And stereotypically enough, not only was my dad a motorcycle guy, but he was also a tattoo guy. A BIG tattoo guy, at that. This man was COVERED in some of the coolest tattoo work I had ever seen. I already told you about the Mickey Mouse sleeve, but my favorite of all of his tattoos was the other sleeve that he had. It was an Aquarian man (my dad was an Aquarius) pouring water into Orion (my dad’s favorite constellation) that swirled into a Lion (I’m a Leo) and a Ram (my sister is a Capricorn). This symbolized my dad pouring himself into his children, and the way the artwork flowed into each other was stunning. I actually have a tattoo in honor of this one on my right wrist, and it’s of the symbols of Aquarius (dad), Leo (mom), and Capricorn (sister) as a reminder that my family will always be my right hand.

This is such a side note, but something that makes me giggle in my young adult life is when people ask me if my parents know about my tattoos, and I have the pleasure of saying, “yeah, my dad paid for my first three.”

So clearly my dad was a cool ass dude. He loved his family and had his own interests as well, but there’s one thing I’ve yet to mention that everyone knows Steve Baldwin for: being a dance dad. My sister and I both danced competitively growing up. My first year dancing, quite honestly, my dad wasn’t super involved. He came to my recital and I won the “Most Dedicated” award, and I think that’s when he learned how serious I was about dance, even from a young age. The next year, my sister started dancing too, and he wanted to be more involved with what his kids were into. He started by helping out building our props. Little did we know that he would become a full time prop dad.

Steve Baldwin was Hermitage Dance Academy’s most devoted prop dad. And I say that knowing that a few of his prop dad friends will probably read this and agree. This man designed the props, bought supplies for the props, built the props, transported the props, set the props up on stage, and broke the props down at the end of each season. He became a full set designer within our decade of time spent at the studio. And none of this was part of my dad’s profession – he was a car guy. He simply taught himself how to do all of this stuff because he wanted to be a part of his daughters’ dance journeys.

One of my favorite stories of my dad doing his prop dad thing was actually my senior year. I was the lead in a dance to the song “The Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks, and our prop was a rotating house. On the side of the house that was my living room, there was a picture of my partner Kadmon and I. The first time we performed that dance, I accidentally knocked the picture crooked during a part in which I punched the wall. But it was so accidentally perfect. And it didn’t happen again the whole season because when my dad reattached it to the wall, he reattached it to where it wouldn’t fall again. Naturally so. At nationals, I told him I wanted to knock it crooked again, and he loosened it only a little bit. When we went to perform it, what do you know – it knocked crooked just like it had the first time. And my dad made it happen.

In the midst of him doing all of his prop dad duties, he also became incredibly passionate about dance. Our whole family would watch So You Think You Can Dance each season, and he would have his predictions of who would win by the first episode of auditions. And typically, he was close to being right. My dad was also very passionate about how we performed at each of our competitions, and he would even get in on some of the awards fun too. I even have a funny video of him dancing on stage during awards along with some of his prop dad friends. He loved it all just as much as we did.

My parents also did our studio’s parents dances, which I know is a core memory for them both. My favorite one that they did was to “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and they got to dance together on stage. I often partnered when I was dancing competitively, and to see my parents partnering on stage together was so special.

What I think was the most impactful, though, about my dad being such a huge part of my upbringing as a dancer is that he was so incredibly supportive of everyone in the studio. When he died, so many of my dance friends texted me to tell me that they will never forget him giving them high fives in the wings and hugs after they performed. I vividly remember that for every single competition performance of mine, he would either stand or kneel in the front wing and cheer me on, unless he was watching me from the audience. My dad was so supportive and having him at all of my performances as a kid was so incredibly impactful for me.

And with all of who Steve is, you can’t forget to include Sherri in the mix. My dad loved my mom so deeply. SO deeply. He and my mom started dating when they were 17 and 14, respectively, and were together essentially his whole life. Their love story is one that will forever inspire me. Everything that they did, they did as a team, and it has set an example of what I want a future relationship to look like for myself.

Now, these may have been my dad’s biggest passions, but at the end of the day, Steve Baldwin was a really simple guy. He loved watching the Food Network, looking into astrology, watching monkey TikTok (rest in peace George the Monkey), smoking ribs, making dad jokes, trying new beers, and working in the automotive industry.

My dad inspired me throughout his whole life, but his resilience really stood out to me during his fight with cancer. And not even just that he fought so hard physically, but that he never allowed his illness or his condition to change his perspective on life. He kept up his jokes, he always checked in with others, he continued learning new things each day, and he was always in tune with his Philadelphia Eagles. Because of my dad, I know that I really can overcome and get through anything. His spirit reminds me of that daily. 

This barely even scratches the surface of who my incredible dad was. Steve Baldwin was a man who everyone loved. And even though he was low-key, he made an impact in this world that was unforgettable.

Happy birthday, Daddio. I love you and miss you more than you’ll ever know.

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