Are you pregnant or expecting? Is your partner obsessed with sports? If you answered yes to both, it may be time to baby proof your sports dad.
Author’s Note: Title is not meant to induce traditional gender role conversations. Sports Fans come in all shapes, sizes, cultures, colors and religions. We are all a bit unbalanced.
Over the 10 month period from when you find out you are expecting a child to the time your little bundle enters the world, both mom and dad-to-be will go through a lot of changes. Things come at you fast and you have to be ready to adapt at a moments notice. The last thing you need is for the biggest surprise to come from your New Sports Dad.
Luckily, we have a list to help get you ready:
1. New Dad will daydream.
For me it happened instantly. When my wife told me the news of our impending child, almost instantaneously, I subconsciously saw the next 18 years flash. Us playing catch, me coaching little league, he getting his first recruiting letter, me dropping him off at college. He and I in the green room awaiting his name being called by the commissioner of the Imaginary Professional Sports League. For the next 9 months, your new dad will have many moments like these.
You can do one of two things, allow him to daze off into a world of make-believe, or snap him out of it and finish that crib he’s been taking 3 weeks to put together.
2. New Dad will hit the fan shop often.
We have many jobs as dads; one of them is to make sure our kids do not fall to the dark side. I am not talking Star Wars here; I am talking your rival sports team. We must start them at birth to cheer for your team. Before my guy came along, I had already bought him apparel from the college I went to as well as my favorite professional football team. In Pittsburgh they wrap babies in Terrible Towels. In Columbus, Ohio infants’ first swaddle says “Beat Alabama.”
You can do one or two things, beat him to the punch and buy the sports gear before he does to limit his expense, or you can intercept packages as they arrive and ration their use.
3. New Dad will try to persuade you that watching sports on television is good for the baby.
In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement urging parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years. Do not, I repeat, do not underestimate your new dad. We will find a study, like this one from PBS that states
“Programs that are well designed and take into consideration children’s developmental stages are more likely to have educational merit than shows not geared toward their healthy growth.
Even more important than the content and construction of a show, however, is the role a caregiver can play. By watching with the child, a parent can find ways to interact during the viewing and take advantage of learning opportunities embedded in a program.”
We will persuade you that by watching sports and talking to our child about the game we are interacting with the child and taking advantage of learning opportunities embedded in a program. We are helping our child learn!
You can do one or two things, laugh at his ridiculous notion or watch the Bachelorette and interact with your child in the same light. Your New Dad will fold his hand to avoid the torture of the Bachelorette…Maybe.
4. New Dad will pray for a lefty.
Various studies have shown that around 10% of the world’s population is naturally left-handed. So it’s rare for your child to be a lefty. Additionally, 0.6% of high school baseball players play professionally.
Somehow, someway New Dad will believe if he can coerce his child to favor is left and have him play baseball, his offspring will make the majors. You can do one or two things, encourage your New Dad to hope for a southpaw: Of the seven most recent U.S. Presidents, four have been left-handed. Left Handed college graduates go on to become 26% richer than right-handed graduates.
So there’s that.
Or, you can reiterate the percentage of left-handed people in our population over and over again. We’ll come back to this later.
5. New Dad does not care about gender.
It does not matter, boy or girl. We all feel it’s our responsibility to make sure our offspring follow us down the sports fan hallowed hall of hope and ultimately, let down. Unless you’re a Boston fan, they win damn near everything. We also think our daughter will be the first to play professionally in a male sport league.
Our dreams do not lend itself to real world limitations.
6. New Dad has already planned his first sports pilgrimage.
This could fall under the guise of daydreaming. It could also fall under our inability to ignore the sweet siren call of the fan shop. Each New Dad has figured out what kind of sports pilgrimage he and his little one will embark on once he/she reaches the right age. (The right age will vary based on reason and passion, two things that stand in direct opposition of each other.) It could be as big as the Olympics, or the World Cup or as small as Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. But trust us, he’s got it all planned out.
You can do one of two things, join along in the planning and make it a family vacation, (Do Not Choose Wally World!) or you can use that time to plan your own special trip.
7. New Dad will do everything in his power to make his little one a fan of his teams.
Whether it is with purchases from the fan shop, or the games they watch together, dad will do whatever he can to make sure they both cheer for the same team.
You can do one or two things, join in and make it a family team, or pick a conference rival and make your child choose, which will make for fun outings during the season.
8. New Dad will invest an extraordinary amount of time on your child’s sports acumen.
Your child may not be able to roll over yet, but New Dad will have him kicking a soccer ball or dunking a basketball even before he physically or mentally is able to do so, and even if New Dad is doing everything. Our worth as a sports father is making sure our little ones will be sound in sports, or face the judgment of every sports dad out there.
You can do one of two things, humor him with tales of your child’s sports prowess, or for every sports item bought by New Dad; you can get an equally important artsy toy.
9. New Dad loves you.
Sometimes it will seem as though his sports fandom and his quest to pass that on to his child will trump his sanity, but he loves you. You have brought into the world the greatest miracle. He will love watching you as a mother. He will love watching his child grow. Nothing will mean more to a New Dad than you and that child. It is the greatest gift you could ever give him. Much like “baby brain” is a real thing for moms, so is baby brain for a new dad. Our baby brain just plays sports.
You can do one of two things, request a push present for the unselfish act of sacrificing your body for 10 months, not including the months post partum. Or, you can guilt your New Dad into switching to your team due to the overwhelming love he feels in his heart thanks to his new child.
10. New Dads are irrational about sports and their children.
We think the most astronomical odds will turn in our favor. It is your job as a New Mom to cultivate this passion, keep it fun and light hearted. No parent should become obsessed with their children and turn what should be a fun, non-consequential hobby in to one of aggression, discipline and negativity.
Then again, my son does everything with his left, is it too early to call the Dodgers?
Need more ideas for babyproofing your home? Here’s 101 more tips!
Photo Credit: Genie Alisa/Flickr
Wai Sallas is a Sports Editor at The Good Men Project. But he’s also a new Dad.