One of the things that I’m trying to focus on as a Dad is to let my kids develop who they are rather than having me push and tell them where they should go and what they should do. I want to give them guidelines and advice and discipline, but want to allow them to make (and learn from) their mistakes and discover who they are themselves.
However, one area I have no problem with influencing them in is what sports teams to root for. Since it ultimately is such an unimportant, yet very fun, part of life I have no qualms about teaching my son the OSU fight song, or dressing them in team clothes and Griffey jerseys. My son knows that this is finally the year we’re going to “beat the ducks”, and has already sang the aforementioned fight song to his poor, misguided duck fan auntie when she had no way of escaping 🙂
It’s fun to pass this on to him and see him enjoy and get passionate about things that I enjoy and get passionate about. It’s fun to wear our matching Griffey shirts and have him ask if every team or game he sees on TV is the Beavers. It’s fun to have something that I can unabashedly influence him on and know that I’m doing no long-term psychological damage to him (debatable given the success of teams I root for) because ultimately this isn’t actually a very important thing.
Whether he plays sports as he gets older, and if he continues to cheer on my teams is up to him as he grows and makes his own decisions, but for the time being he is going to get a healthy dose of who I think is the best, because that’s one of the perks of being a dad to a boy who wants to be like you. And don’t worry…my daughter will get plenty of indoctrination too, whether she cares about sports or not.
If they do choose to deviate from my teams down the road we’ll have to talk about life choices and where I went wrong raising them then, but for now I’ll just soak up the moments…like playing that fight song for the 15th time in a row because my son asked me to, because it’s one of the most fun parts of being a fan and Dad.
This is fatherhood…