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Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

The Worst Rule Ever (and 9 reasons why)

November 13, 2014 3 comments

Some parents have a dreaded rule forbidding their kids to play ball in the house. In some ways it makes sense, but let me explain why “No playing ball in the house” is actually the worst rule ever.

1. It’s going to happen anyway. Sportscenter legend Dan Patrick has a catch phrase that goes “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.” The same is true when you have sports-loving kid. They’re going to find ways to play ball in the house, and times to do it when you’re not looking. So instead of banning the fun, you may as well just try to set some reasonable guidelines, such as limiting it to a certain area of the home, not playing too rough, and not using balls that are too hard.

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Our indoor baseball field, complete with bases and a batter’s box.

2. Things are going to get broken anyway. I’m guessing that one of the motives behind parents legislating the “no playing ball in the house” rule is that they don’t want things to get broken. That’s fine in theory, but in reality, while I don’t have hard evidence that there isn’t a kid alive who has never broken anything, I’m going with the educated guess that most kids have broken stuff, regardless if indoor ball playing was involved or not.

3. Kids are going to get hurt anyway. While we never want catastrophic injuries, kids get hurt. Whether it’s purely accidental, such as falling down the stairs, or self-inflicted, such as trying to jump off the back of the couch and landing wrong, kids bang things and scrape things. I’d argue the potential for major injury is greater while playing outside as opposed to inside.

4. Playing outside is awesome, but not always possible or practical. We just had the clocks shift back an hour, which means that by the time we all get home from work and school, it’s already dark, and depending where you live, cold. Kids still need/want to be active. Plus, being able to play indoors allows things like the quick 5 minute game before dinner to happen, whereas if it was outside only, they’d have to start in with tying shoes, putting on jackets, etc. and it would be time to come in before they ever got a chance to actually play.

5. Playing ballgames in the house sparks creativity. While I wholeheartedly respect houses with built-in gymnasiums, let’s face the fact that they’re only a fantasy for those of us in the 99%. So instead, kids are limited to smaller areas and have to be more creative and think outside the box when it comes to rules and boundaries. Household items enter the mix, like when laundry baskets get placed on their side to become goals, or clothing items become bases. Pseudo-sports such as “hall ball” or “balloon tennis” (both made up by my brother and I when we were kids) become realities.

6. Speaking of creativity, there’s nothing like indoor games of Nerf basketball H.O.R.S.E. Those of us who are old enough remember that classic McDonalds commercial where Larry Bird and Michael Jordan play horse and create shots over the rafters, off the scoreboard, etc. With nerf basketball, shots like “off the wall, off the ceiling, swish” are tricky, but entirely possible.

7. Playing and watching can happen simultaneously. Having just turned four, two things are true for my son: he learns by observing, and he doesn’t always have the ability to just sit and watch the game. No problem. If he sees a cool play in a football game, he doesn’t have to wait until he goes outside to mimic it. Also, playing indoor sports games is a great way to kill time during halftimes and intermissions of games on TV. Sometimes worlds collide, such as when I get named the Alabama Bruins on a Saturday in which college football and hockey are both on the agenda, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

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Floor hockey. Because the set only came with one goal, the other goal (not pictured) is a similarly sized cardboard box.

8. Playing ball in the house is a natural dad/kid activity. Of course, as dads we can always find different ways to spend time and do things with our kids, but for a sports-loving family, why eliminate something that’s so squarely in our wheelhouse?

9. IT’S FUN! I’m sure some of the “no ball in the house” legislators reading this are thinking of other things that might be fun, but not things they would let their kids do. I have my list also, for example I don’t let my four year old drive my car or paint on the walls, despite how strong his desire to do so might be. But as long as there are a few proper guidelines, indoor sports is not one of those things. So don’t be that parent who enforces the worst rule ever. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play a quick game of floor hockey with my son. The Alabama Bruins need a win to remain competitive in their division.

I Think I’ve Created A Monster…

June 3, 2014 Leave a comment

“Do you want to watch the Longhorns play baseball?”

The question took him by surprise, and made him pause to process the revelation that, in addition to football and basketball, his beloved Longhorns also play his favorite sport (at the moment), baseball. Once it all computed in his little three and a half year old brain, the excitement displayed itself on his little face and his answer was an emphatic “Yes!” It was a typical weekend late afternoon in our house a few weeks ago, maybe 5:30-6pm-ish. My son had yet again refused to nap, and so we were just entering Crankytime, the overtired zone he gets into on days when he doesn’t nap, and everything becomes a whine, a cry, and/or a tantrum. My goal was to try to buy a half hour so that we could respond to the “I’m hungry” whines by getting dinner ready. And the random Texas vs. TCU baseball game I found on TV did exactly that.

Longtime readers of the blog know I love sports and actively share them with my son. We love it all…the Boston teams of pro sports, college football and basketball (and apparently now baseball too), soccer, tennis, golf, the Olympics, and all else.  We play it all too, both indoors and out.  Every Friday during basketball season when I’d pick him up from school, his first question would be if we could go see the Panthers (the local high school team) play that night, something we did five times this past season. Upon waking up in the morning, a typical question of his is if the Red Sox won the night before.  He used to get excited about wearing his Dusty Crophopper t-shirt, but now it sits in the closet while he requests to wear his Tom Brady jersey or one of his Red Sox shirts.  I love that my son loves sports, but am wondering if I created a monster.

Part of it is my own stuff.  I don’t have many hobbies or interests outside of sports to pass on to him. Back in Boston I was an avid fan of the hip hop scene there, and that was my balance to sports. I still love the music, but I moved far away and can no longer be out at a show that ends at 2am and still be able to get to work and be functional at 9am. The part of my life in which I was a regularly active participant has ended.

I don’t have the same interests that some other guys do. I lost interest in video games somewhere during the transition from the Sega Genesis to the first Sony Playstation, whose controller had too many buttons for me to try to master. Even as a kid, I was never into DC or Marvel comics. I played with Legos as a kid, but don’t understand why they’re now in video games and movies. I only know of the existence of shows such as Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, etc, because they trend on twitter while I’m on there trying to get reactions to the game I’m watching, while also wondering why so many guys I know are live-tweeting about those rather than watching the game that I am.  And, at the risk of getting my dad blogger card removed by some of the other guys, I could care less about Star Wars, Star Trek, or anything else intergalactic.

So perhaps it’s only logical that as my son grows out of the “big things that GO!” phase, he gravitates toward sports as a follow to my lead. He does love music, and we have and will continue to cultivate that. I am sure he will get exposed to some of the other stuff by friends, some of whom are already Spider Man fanatics at age three.  If he decides he doesn’t like sports anymore, or only to a lesser degree, he will have my support. But yeah, as of right now, I’ve created a monster and I’m okay with that. He’s not a big scary destructive monster, but rather a fun loving sports fanatic monster.  Kind of like the Green one in Boston, who also wants to wear his Red Sox stuff every day.

 

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Winning and Losing

June 13, 2013 2 comments

The following conversation happened around 5:45 this morning just after my son woke up and I was changing his nighttime diaper:

Me: “RJ, the Bruins lost last night.”
Him: (disappointed tone) “But they scored!”
Me: “I know, but after you went to sleep the Blackhawks scored more”
Him: “I don’t want them to lose”
Me: “I know, I don’t either. But it’s okay, everyone loses sometime. They’ll win again another day.”

If my son grows up not liking sports, it will be fine, but it won’t be due to lack of exposure to them. With him being an October baby, I did lots of “doing the football hold while watching football,” and most of his earliest pictures are of him in various Patriots/Celtics/Bruins/Red Sox outfits. As he has grown up, we’ve watched pretty much every sport there is; the four major sports, soccer, golf, tennis, and the Olympics. Through it all, I don’t ever remember talking to him about winning and losing. We talk a lot about the scoring plays, so he knows all about touchdowns, goals, baskets, and hits. I’m sure that incidentally, winning and losing has come up, and more recently I have thought about telling him if the teams won or lost when he woke up, but I also wasn’t sure he really understands the concept.

I’m also not sure how much to emphasize it. As I wrote in one of my earliest post on this blog, I feel I have a healthier attitude about my teams losing than I used to, and I don’t want him to get to where I once was. I also will NOT be one of those “everyone gets a trophy” types. There’s a healthy balance in there somewhere.