I’d mentioned before that some fathers in the Los Angeles area wanted to help get an L.A. Dads Group moving. I’m happy to have been a part of one of the inaugural hang-outs, a sponsored event by TOMY for Battroborg.

TOMY supplied the group with a couple of Battroborg sets to play with, delivered on a GameTruck last Thursday night. Dads and toys? How could this not be awesome?

Battroborg Meet-Up

I really wanted to make this hangout a success, and it was. Along with me, bloggers Trevor Mulligan (oneSAHD), Whit Honea (Honea Express) and Tshaka Armstrong (Fox 11 News) invited friends and soon-to-be friends to come and hang out and talk dad stuff. We had guys from as far east as Alhambra, as far south as Santa Monica and as far north as Thousand Oaks. For you non-Californians, we basically had representation from 50 square miles around the meet-up.

Before the event, we didn’t know what to expect. We knew that we’d all be meeting new guys, but we didn’t know if the format would work. Here we were, a bunch of dads, playing with a kid’s toy. Could we really talk about important father topics while bashing each other with wireless battle robots?

We could! We laughed over our confusion – for a group of guys that routinely assemble, install batteries, read instructions and play with their kids’ toys, we bonded over the fact that we were thrown a toy unlike any other. The Battroborgs are little colorful robots that you control with two remotes (think Wii remote and nunchuk). The left remote swings the Battroborg’s left arm, the right one swings the right. You sync your little robot and set him in the ring. Then, you and your buddy unleash your beasts.

Or, if you’re a bunch of L.A. dads, you flip a table over and create a battle royale:

Battroborg L.A. Style

In Los Angeles, we don’t have time for small-scale ring combat. We turn a fistfight into a nuclear war.

You’re supposed to make them move toward each other by rhythmically alternating punches, but it doesn’t always end up like that. It’s part of the fun though.

We all had a good laugh playing with the Battroborgs and decided that yes, our kids would probably love them (though they’d probably need us to charge and sync the robots) – but it might also be a great toy for kids and, well…cats. I mean, imagine your kid swinging away from around the corner as your cat bats at a tiny robot. Right?

But seriously, the Battroborg hang-out was awesome. I met a handful of guys that I’d love to meet up with again. We had a new dad playing video games with a stepdad. We had a dad with one daughter and a pregnant wife playing the only video game he’s had time for in the last year. We had a New York transplant battling a California native. We had a guy who covers tech for our local TV station battling a dad from Sweden.

Battroborg Dads

Left: Dads kick back and play games / Right: Dads spent most of the night in conversation with each other.

We found ourselves spread out around this van talking about guy stuff. For a lot of these fathers – whether they were stay-at-home dads or full-time working dads – it was a moment away from their day-to-day time to tell and listen to stories and laugh with other like-minded men. We weren’t escaping our families, as wives and detractors of “guy time” are wont to do. We were celebrating our fatherhood and talking about it with each other.

Need more proof that these are family-centric men? The most hilarious part of the night came when three women stumbled over – probably after leaving the brewery across the lot. “Hey, what’s going on here,” one asked. We told them it was a hangout for fathers. Another of the women asks, “so you’re all married?” “Yep, and we’ve all got kids,” one of us answers. So, the ladies laughed and took pictures standing in front of the truck and Battroborgs (which I told them was “foxy boxing”), and then they moved on. It’s a testament to how good these men are that the women were looked at almost as intruders at our dads night, rather than becoming the center of attention (which is what it seemed like they were after).

In any event, it was a fun night. We settled the score with each other over Battroborg, and we talked to each other about family and work. From all of our different backgrounds, common themes rang true: we all love families, we all worry about supporting them, and we all are glad a group like the L.A. Dads Group exists to provide a stage for these conversations.

L.A. Dads Group Battroborg

Members of the L.A. Dads Group at the Battroborg “Settle the Score” hang-out.

I look forward to meeting up with these guys again. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and would like to join the fun next time (or settle the score!), you can join us here.

Also, you can check out Trevor Mulligan’s post about the Battroborg event here. And if you’d prefer a tale from the eastside, here’s a write-up of a Chicago Dads Group Battroborg event from Bobblehead Dad Jim Higley.

Disclosure: the folks at TOMY compensated me for organizing the hang-out and writing about it, but these sentiments are all mine.