Posts Tagged ‘ sports ’

Empathy For “Gossiped About” Dads Who Coach

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack, 

Today it was only about 40 degrees outside, but there was no wind and the sun was out.

So finally, after so many cold and bitter weeks, I was able to ride my mountain bike up to Starbucks during my lunch break during work.

As I sat outside on the patio reading my H.R. certification study guide, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between a dad who apparently coaches his son’s sports team and the mom of one of the kids on that team.

Most of what I heard (though I was trying not to, I promise!) was the dad/coach expressing his annoyance with the other parents of the team talking about him behind his back.

The mom he was talking to was evidently serving as a very empathetic mediator between the dad/coach and the other parents of the team. She was smiling and shaking her head the whole time, like she was on his side- and I believe she was. 

That caused me to imagine what it might be like if I were to coach one of your sports teams someday.

Attempting to put myself in that situation, here in a few years, I imagine the challenge being not so much coaching the kids, but playing the ultimate middle-man who can’t win with pleasing the parents.

It seems like the biggest challenge would be, on one side, trying to please the parents of the kids are the best players; wanting to see their kid lead the team to victory.

Then, on the other side, there would be the parents of the kids who are weaker links on the team; wanting to see their kid get more “play time.”

Sounds like a sticky situation; sounds like unavoidable politics.

I don’t want to be caught in the middle of that. I hate being caught in the middle of two parties of people like that.

(Then again, I’m in H.R., so I must not despise it that much!)

This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t coach your team. However, I am saying, for me, I would imagine that coaching the parents would be the hard part.

And that’s based on the conversation I overheard today at Starbucks, plus several other ones I’ve heard in the office where I work.

But I guess I won’t know for sure until I am that guy.





Image: Shutterstock- Kids Soccer Game.

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I Think My 2 Year-Old Son Is Better At Sports Than I Am

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Right now, I think your athletic abilities might be slightly greater than mine. Hopefully, it won’t always be that way. I do plan to catch up, though.

Granted, I won’t always literally be twice your height like I am currently, so I will eventually lose that one advantage over you.

When I was growing up, I wasn’t passionate about kicking and throwing a ball around, like the way you are now.

For your 2nd birthday back in November, you screamed with excitement as you opened your gift from Nonna and Papa:

“A basketball goal!” 

It’s still weird to me that A) you knew what it was called and B) you were able to pronounce it clearly enough for everyone to understand you.

Every Sunday morning as Mommy and I walk you past the kids’ basketball court at our church, you ask us, “I play for a few minutes?”

We’re always a solid 10 minutes late for the service now, but I never regret it, as I pick you up high in an attempt for you to slam dunk the ball through the hoop.

It’s not just basketball you have taken an interest in. After dinner now, Mommy and I play our own version of “Monkey in the Middle” with you, in the hallway of our townhouse.

I stand at the entrance of the living room and Mommy stands at the entrance of the dining room. We kick your miniature soccer ball to each other, with the room behind each other serving as the goal.

Meanwhile, you entertain yourself as you kick your orange volleyball in between Mommy and I in our line our fire, giggling yourself silly as you dodge the soccer ball that we kick inches away from you.

I guess you could call it “Dodge-Soccer Volley Monkey-in-the-Middle…”.

You just love the action, as random and technically dangerous as it definitely is.

As you get a little bit older, I”ll get to throw a football back and forth with you in the backyard, as the sun sets and we talk about your day. That’s a very important image in my head.

Playing both real and made-up ball games with you is lot of fun, but more importantly, it gives me a chance to engage you and get to know you better. The older you get, the more it will matter to both of us.

For now, the best benefit about playing “Dodge-Soccer Volley Monkey-in-the-Middle” is that it’s the perfect way to wear you out right before bedtime.

You go down so easily now. Of course, you sleep with your soccer ball in your bed every night. Sometimes, it’s the orange volleyball too.

If only I were making that up.





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Why Being An Alabama Football Fan Is Easy (For People Who Like Winning)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

21 months.

Last week I experienced a huge milestone moment in fatherhood: My son got his first ball!

Well, almost. It was actually his stuffed giraffe toy; but either way, I threw it to him, and he caught it.

This is something I have been practicing with him for months now. Whether it’s a miniature football, soccer ball, tennis ball, or just a cheap inflatable made-in-China ball from the $1.08 bin at Wal-Mart, I throw it to Jack every time we play.

Usually, he just gets hit in the head, or face, or chest, then laughs.

But after throwing all his toy balls at him one right after another, I reached for his toy giraffe, which was the closest toy in reach, and threw it to him like a ball.

And Jack caught it!

I was, and still am, so proud of him. I’m not over it yet. It was as magical as the first time he said “Bye bye Dada.”

Being his athletic mentor is something I’m very excited about.

This past weekend we spent some time in one of the little fenced-in basketball practice courts at our church.

Jack already knew he was supposed to throw the basketball in the hoop as soon as I handed him a ball.

He would run up and stand underneath the net, look up at it, calculate his throw, then throw the ball up at the net.

Granted, the ball only went up in the air about 2 inches each time, but Jack kept trying every time to throw that ball in the hoop.

I admired his heart. It was charming to see.

With all this being said, my family is not actually big into watching sports. However, we know who our team is:

The University of Alabama. Yes, the Crimson Tide.

Sure, I was born and raised in Alabama. Yes, from infancy, my uncle made sure I always had Roll Tide clothing to wear; as he now does with Jack.

But it’s not just because Alabama is my home state or because I was born into a Roll Tide family.

It’s because Alabama is clearly the best college football team.

Sometimes it’s cool to root for the underdog, but when it comes to college football, I’d rather just be a fan of the obvious legendary, champion team instead.

I like how in Jack’s day care center, he and his pal Sophie are the only Alabama fans. (Jack has an Alabama jersey and Sophie has an Alabama cheerleading uniform.

His teachers have (jokingly?) made me aware that they don’t like to see him bring his red cup with the Alabama mascot on it.

They have threatened to replace it with a University of Tennessee one instead.

Could be worse. At least it’s not Auburn.

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So I Snuck My Toddler Into A Racquetball Court…

Monday, July 16th, 2012

20 months.

After Jack finished his swim lesson Saturday at the rec center with his best friend Henry, the two of them somehow ended up wandering into the racquetball court across the hall.

As to mock the 2011 trend/cliche of three one-word sentences, let me put it this way:

Best. Idea. Ever.

Toddlers and racquetball courts are the best combination since Simon and Garfunkel. Why?

Because A) your kid is able to run as fast as they can without any obstacles B) in an overly acoustic room which magnifies their shouts of joy and delight C) plus it burns off plenty of energy, just in time for afternoon nap time in the car ride home.

Oh, and also because it’s hilarious to watch.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that a racquetball court is the ideal environment for a toddler during playtime.

We all know how those inflatable jumpy things are so popular to rent out for kids’ birthday parties.

Well, imagine the spendor of seeing toddlers running while screaming as loud as they can, yet not having to listen to them because you’re standing outside of the nearly sound-proof room, watching through the window.

Granted, there was always at least one of us parents in there supervising. We all sort of rotated out of the court because watching them play through the window was wonderful entertainment.

Now, was what we did as parents breaking the rules? The sign above the door instructed all racquetball players to sign in at the front desk before entering the court.

However, it didn’t say anything about non-players having to sign in at the front desk before entering.

And as the saying goes, sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission. Turns out, we didn’t have to ask for either. Because none of the employees noticed.

If you would like to see more pictures of the glorious event, teleport to The Dadabase’s Facebook wall.

Oh, and…. you’re welcome for my awesome idea.

We’ll see you on the “racket” ball court!


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Jack the Handyman, Athlete, and Everything I’m Not

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Nine months.

I’ve made mention before that one of my many weaknesses is that I’m horrible/inexperienced when it comes to anything mechanical. My deficiencies in this department aren’t for a lack of interest or a lack of trying, though. A couple of weeks ago I attempted to change the back tire on my mountain bike, since the tube in the tire exploded from the summer heat.

Fast forward a few paragraphs into this story and it turns out I went to the bike repair shop and was told that the cost of repairing the bike would be more than the cost of the bike itself. I evidently am that bad at fixing even the simplest of things!

Fortunately, the girl at the repair shop was wrong and they were able to fix what I messed up for only $27. (It would have only cost me $10 to let them repair the flat tire in the first place.)

My son, Jack, on the other hand, will most likely not suffer from his old man’s bad luck with understanding mechanics. He currently is sort of obsessed with trying to figure out how mechanical stuff works. Jack loves taking things apart.

I can just tell already his brain is working in ways that mine never has.

Another thing about Jack that I can’t help but be aware of is that he will likely end up being an athlete; something I tried to be a few times as a kid, then eventually turned to art, music, and writing- activities that were more my speed. Even today, the physical activities I involve myself with, mainly running and mountain biking, are noncompetitive hobbies.

But Jack is simply built like an athlete. He’s a tank. He’s a 1940′s wrestler.

A few weeks ago at his 9 month check-up, we learned that he is in the 90th percentile for height and 75th for weight. Maybe as he gets older he’ll end up adopting the skinny, bow-legged Italian body style that his dad had. However, I think he will grow up to be the opposite: a tall, large-framed, coordinated boy who is picked first on teams in gym class.

It’s safe to say I’ll eventually become a sports fan and learn a lot more about doing home repairs, thanks to my son.

How did this athletically-built, mechanically-minded boy come from me? All I can say is that it figures. I’m still laughing at the irony that a fair complected, blue eyed kid could ever be the offspring of dark-featured, olive complected parents like his mom and me.

I wonder in what other ways Jack will be the opposite of me . . . I’m sure he’ll be a whiz in math and science.

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