The other night I read a really great blog post by @jbmthinks about sports parents who never played and giving advice to their kids. It made me think about when my kids will be old enough to play organized sports, perhaps as soon as the Fall for my oldest.
I never really played organized sports sans three weeks of junior varsity football and a few seasons of corporate softball. What kind of authority am I to give advice or even coach? Honestly despite my love of sports most of my experience came from the wrong side of a TV or a computer. I spent way more time covering sports as a journalist than playing.
The timing of the post hit me in a very weird subconscious way since I read it on the 32nd anniversary of my fathers passing. I was barely five years old at the time. It being a different time and with him being from a different generation, we never had anything close to a “catch”. I sure there were some rudimentary ball rolling or tossing. But nothing more than that, at least from what I can remember. Since then I have been trying to catch up.
My mom, got us gloves and other sports equipment, took my brother and me to Mets games (perhaps that influenced my lack of fundamentals). But being a single mom, who didn’t drive we didn’t get the chance to play little league, we were Scouts. Which was good, because it was one place to take us both at the same time, and both of us have stayed with Scouting well into adulthood. I really think there is something to be said for a dad teaching a kid how to throw.
I never threw the ball with authority, and when you play pick up softball you can tell when someone can really throw the ball. I want my kids to throw the ball with authority. But I am honestly afraid that I don’t know how to show them. That my lessons to them are going to make them fundamentally unsound. I am under no delusions, the odds of my kids becoming pro-athletes are miniscule, but I don’t want to get in their way of enjoying sports.
There was a day, probably a few weeks before my wife gave birth to our son, we were at a playground I was swinging my daughter on the swings and there were kids practicing for a local little league. You could tell who could really play and who were just lost out there. I don’t want that for my kids. I don’t think I’m the kind of guy, who wants to let someone else, show my kids how to throw. But is that my only choice, there doesn’t seem to be a good book or video.
Niel Vuolo is many things, a stay at home dad to two awesome kids, a writer, and a lifelong Mets fan from Queens, NY. You can read more about him and his adventures on his blog, Great Moments in Bad Parenting, and on Twitter, @GMIBadParenting.
Originally appeared at NYC Dads Group.
—Photo Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr