As K-Man and I watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs together, I started thinking.
For the better part of two years, I wrote a blog for a sports website. My task was twofold: to pick apart the members of the site and to pick apart the world of sports. After nearly 1,000 posts, that gig came to an end. And, although I’ve been a sports fan (though not a fanatic) my entire life, and although I have worked in and around sports for more than 20 years – that gig made me focus on the crusty underbelly of sports perhaps more than I ever had before. In the process, I became (even more?) jaded about the state of sports and more convinced than ever that sports serves no purpose beyond entertainment. Go to a baseball game or go to a movie. For me – I’ve come to a point where there’s really no difference.
But, if I think about it, this reaction is more as a fan than it is as a father or a son. If I think about the great moments in my life, many of them revolve around sports. Whether it’s my parents on the sidelines of my games, taking my dad to see the World Cup in 1994, our recent trip to Chicago to see Wrigley, or even the times my dad rushed to my aid during those frequent (and often horrible) soccer injuries – these were all moments where sports and fatherhood intersected.
And, if I think about my own relationship with my dad over the years, I can only thank (insert your favorite deity here) for sports. If it weren’t for discussions about the U.S. National Soccer Team or the state of the Lakers, Dodgers and/or Angels, there’s a good chance we might have had a few years when we didn’t speak at all. Sports and fatherhood intersecting.
I’m still not a diehard anything fan (except maybe the U.S. National Soccer Team). I don’t live and die when any team wins or loses. I’m jaded enough to recognize that the athletes are just businessman out to make their millions. If they don’t win the World Series, they go and golf the next day. So, I never understand why the fans mourn, take the day off from work or, worse, commit violent acts.
In the dad role, though, I do enjoy sharing my love of sports with the kid. I do enjoy watching a game with him. I do get pleasure from watching him watch football, golf, basketball or you name it with some sense of awe. And, I do hope that he’ll take to one playing field or another. I won’t be one of those parents that pushes and screams and forces the kid to make up for my own shortfalls, but I will be there to support whatever direction he chooses to go. Sports and fatherhood intersecting.
And, it’s in this role that I think we pass along the sports traditions to generations. Traditions like the rivalry of the Yankees-Red Sox, USC-Notre Dame, or U.S.-Mexico. I don’t care about these teams, personally, but the rivalry ignites families. It ignites dads and their kids.
I read a blog once that condemned the “dad blogs” for not talking about the issues facing dads, but instead only talked about things like sports (and hot moms, video games, etc.). Sports, specifically – is VERY much a dad topic. (No, not for all dads.) For many parents and kids, sports ARE THE ONLY HOPE for the relationship…
Sure – the fact is that sports may be riddled with scandal and played by professional businessmen who only care about money. “The love of the game” may be long gone…but the purity of the rivalry and the sports and fatherhood intersection live on.