My wife and I are expecting our first child sometime in late April and early May. The first thing I said to my wife was that this should be in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. My second mile-marker was the approximate time the Cubs would fall 10 games back in the NL Central. This is my perspective on things. Sports is not a top priority when it comes to WHATEVER THE HELL IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT. I mean, there are so many things that take place when raising a kid. However, it is within this space that my soul and sports hug it out. Therefore I thought I’d try to explore my feelings of being responsible for explaining these types of sporting events to my offspring here.
With that said, I don’t know how I’m going to do this. ‘This’ can be taken to encompass being a father in general as well as being a sports dad. Is there even such a thing as a sports dad? I imagine it would be explaining to my kid/kids (KIDS! YARGH!#$@!) what exactly sports are, why I watch them, why I shout so much, and why that dude totally deserved that fastball in the ribs. The thing is that I’m flying in the blind here. I have no past experience with relating to sports through a father-son relationship.
Dad was good at sports. None of this was passed down to his third child. Such is life. It never really bugged me that on the first day of tee-ball practice I took a ground ball to the face. It just made the decision for me. It made it nice and tidy. That was all I needed to know about me and sports. I get the feeling looking back on it that Dad was really upset that I didn’t want to stick it out. I just wanted to quit and go home and play outside or play with my Legos. Maybe I couldn’t field a ground ball but I could definitely take a hint. Sports and me = NO DICE.
I pretty much laid off of sports from then on. I mean I was aware of sports for sure. I knew the Bills were good and I was pretty strong on Alexander Mogilny (because he was fast and scored a bunch of goals. I don’t need to explain myself I was friggin’ eight.) I’m pretty sure that Dad would have told me a lot about who to like and who not to like.
I wonder sometimes if when he met Saint Peter he complained about having to watch his beloved Bills lose two straight Super Bowls.
“Two! TWO! IN A ROW! COME ON! Who could possibly lose two Super Bowls in a row? That’s just stupid. What a bunch of crap that is pal – and unfair,” Dad would exclaim. Saint Peter would be all tugging at his collar because he’s part of an omnipotent deity. Awkward indeed! Wait until we tell this chump the news!
No the fate of living out the slow tire fire of emotions that was the 90′s for Buffalo sports fans was left for me to navigate on my lonesome. I had to figure out sports without the instruction manual. I mean, I;’m going to have to figure out fatherhood without the instruction manual too. Like I said. I’m flying completely blind here.
Dad loved sports. He coached basketball at his old high school which would become my old high school. He golfed all the time. He took me to Sabres, Blizzard, and Bisons games. Sundays were one of either three things – 1) old school WWF in the mornings 2) Bills games or 3) Golf. It was a constant presence. We’d play Major League Baseball, the precursor to RBI Baseball, on our NES together. He’d let me win every now and then. I thought I knew how to strike him out every time.
Then it all stopped. No one even told me to write any of it down for later. So now I’m out here alone trying to figure out how not to blow this. You know that feeling you get when you just don’t do your homework, and you’re sitting in homeroom desperately trying to finish before the bell beings the school day?
At least we were able to save and keep his old Bisons satin jacket from back in the day. I have that going for me.
It’s probably pretty arrogant of me to assume that I would control my kids destiny when exploring the world of sports. I mean, the kid is going to have a brain and a heart. I’m probably worrying too much over nothing here. I’m prone to doing this.
Honestly I would be totally fine if The Cub (as my wife and I our calling our kid) wanted nothing to do with sports. If I can get The Cub to adult status without ending up in jail or being a general dick I would feel like I accomplished something. Put a little nice in the world, is all I ask.
But in the short term, I’m going to be hanging around sporting events, and the Cub will be with me. I’m going to have to sort all of this out in the meantime. I do know this now. The Cub will be born in an era where the Sabres ownership is completely secure and the Bills is the exact opposite. Is The Cub going to ask me about the Bills like I ask old timers about the Braves?
I wonder if Dad knows.