I've been trying to write a book since before I was old enough to vote, and I've collected many rejection slips from publishers and magazines. I used to keep them all stuck to my refrigerator, with magnets, but an ex-girlfriend told me they were depressing, and defeatist, and suggested I take them down. A very wise suggestion on her part.
Baseball always gets credit for the foundational part of masculinity - the father thing. The eternal game of backyard catch, 'Field of Dreams', the Ripkens, the Griffeys, the Bondses, so on. But football is the real paternal game, because it's a conveyor belt of father figures, in the form of coaches.