Sports; they are the great go-to for many fathers and kids. As your kids progress through the ranks of youth sport, and you and your kids begin to take in games, live and on TV, it is time to take stock of your behavior as a spectator.
Your kids are sponges.
What they see from you is the behavior that you can expect from them.
When you watch a game, live or TV, which fan are you?
When your team does well; a great play, a goal, an awesome defensive stop, do you leap for joy for your guys? Wow, did you see that! What a steal!!
Or is your first move to taunt and trash-talk? Oh, yeah, chew on that, sucker! You stink! Looooser!!
After a loss, or a bad play, are you the guy that gives the cheer and the chin-up? That’s all right, fellas! We’ll get ‘em!
Or is your first move to point a finger, to demean, to complain? This coach sucks! God, that QB is terrible! F-ing refs won’t give us a goddamn break.
When the game is over and things didn’t go well, do you behave like a reasonable adult? Damn, that sucked. Okay, we got eight more games. We’ll get a win next week.
Or are you the guy punching out a wall? Sonuvabitch, I can’t believe we lost that frickin’ game!!
The man you are as a fan is the man or woman your kid will become as a fan.
When you attend your kid’s game, what kind of dad are you?
Are you the dad screaming at the coach, the referee, the other team, the other parents? Are you the dad that other parents video on their phones to send to league officials to get you banned from the grounds?
Or are you the dad who cheers good play, shakes hands with parents after the game, pats kids from both teams on the back, thanks the official for volunteering their time?
On the ride home, do you rant; about the coach, the other players, the officials? Are you the dad that can’t wait to rail into your young athlete about everything they did wrong?
Or are you the dad who understands that your kid is trying his/her damnedest and deserves a little space and respect after the game, especially after a loss?
If your kid is throwing tantrums on the field or after a game, take a look at how you are as a fan.
As players exit the locker room at Wimbledon and head for the most hallowed courts in tennis, over the door is a large plaque.
If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same1
What kind of fan are you? And what does that teach your kids?
- From If by Rudyard Kipling