Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sports Sunday - Fathers and Sons

This week my dad and I are headed to Durham to watch the Blue Devils play Temple at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  This is like seeing your favorite band in concert.  Maybe going to Broadway and watching that show you've always dreamed of seeing.  I want to say it's a trip of a lifetime.  That may be a little over the top.  Duke isn't that far away and there is a chance we could always go again.  Now, seeing them play in the Final Four in person, that would be a trip of a lifetime.

I've never travelled anywhere with my dad before, just him and I.  Not that I can remember anyway and definitely not as an adult.  I mentioned in my last Sports Sunday post that the reason I love the Blue Devils is because of my dad.

As a son you are desperate to find something to bond with your father about.  My dad is a fantastic father, he leads by example and I've learned how to be a father by watching him and learning from him.   But he's a fixer.  He can fix things around the house, he's very mechanical.  He's been in the Navy and worked for the Coast Guard working on massive guns on ships.  Me, I'd be hard pressed to do the most basics of things.  Now me, I'm a techie and my dad can't work the remote control on his TV.  When he first got a new cable service I was down there every other day helping him use it.  I tried to teach him how to get to the on-demand stuff and I might as well been explaining quantum physics to him.   But to this day if there is something broken in my house, he's the first one I call.

But when it comes to sports, we are on the same page.  We can not have talked for a week, pick up the phone and carry on a conversation about sports like we were just talking 5 minutes ago.  He often calls me during Raven's games (when we aren't watching in person) to yell about what's going on.   My dad is a funny fan.  When things are going well, he's all in.  When they aren't, they are all bums.  We connect on most all sports and share a love of the Orioles, the Ravens and the Blue Devils.  I can't get him to watch soccer or nascar but he loves golf.

Now, I also have two sons.   Jonathan, above, is going to be 14.  He's really not into sports.  As he's grown up, we've put him into every sport imaginable.  Baseball, basketball, soccer even karate and swimming, he just didn't take any of them.  When I watch sports on tv he may sit there for a couple of minutes but then he's off to do something else.  He loves going to games though and I'll keep buying him jerseys in hopes that it will rub off.   That doesn't mean I can't bond with Jonathan on different things though.  The kid is a techie as much as I am and we can spend hours blasting Zombies on the XBox.  He also loves Sci-Fi movies and TV and books.  We spend hours watching cool stuff on TV that I could never get Brigid to watch.

Nick is going to be my sports kid.  I can see it already at three.  When football is on, he's fascinated and stares at the screen.  He even knows when to yell TOUCHDOWN.   He loves to throw the ball around and keeps telling us that basketball is his favorite sport.  He will sit with me when a basketball game is on but will barely sit still when I try any other time.   When Brigid isn't around I talk to Nick about sports like he's 30.  He mainly just looks at me and says "Uh-uh" but I think the wheels are turning.  

One day I hope the three of us can go on a trip and share in a great sports moment.   But in the end it really doesn't matter.  Sons want to bond with their fathers, it's my job to make sure that it happens.

1 comment:

Bobbie said...

Great post, Mike. And I think you're so right: boys want to bond with their fathers and vice versa. And I think that need is stronger than the need for daughters and mothers. Not sure why. Maybe b/c, as women, we're so quick to spill and share and purge, so we lay it all out there and then can easily pick through the assortment and go, "Ah. Look. We have that and that and that in common." But most men aren't such fans of the gut-spill. They have to work harder.

Your boys are lucky you're willing to fight for that connection.