When his second son was born, Ryan Bradley hoped he’d grow up to be a sports fan. In Week 13 of his NFL Diary, he tells us that you should always be careful what you wish for.
As the Broncos—Chiefs game was winding down Sunday evening my wife and I were in the kitchen. Our five year old son was sitting on the couch watching the game. Occasionally there would be loud murmuring coming from the living room and my wife would shout, “What?” Our son’s reply? “I’m talking to the Chiefs!”
My wife and our fifteen year old son aren’t into sports, so I was hopeful upon the birth of our younger boy that he would join me in my sports enthusiasm, and he has. Maybe too much. Last season he really started to show some excitement about football, baseball, and basketball, watching parts of games with me. And since then it has increased. One of his favorite games currently is “wide receiver” where he runs routes through the living and dining rooms and I throw him a small foam football.
Recently I took him to a Junior A hockey game and he was enthralled. Within minutes of sitting down he was asking “Want to cheer now, dad?”
It’s pretty adorable.
But he has also developed an old man’s anger at the television when a team he’s rooting for isn’t doing well. He doesn’t always understand what’s going on but that won’t stop him from yelling “Come on!” or groaning loudly as the action unfolds.
Personally I’m not much of a TV talker. Occasionally I can’t contain a comment or a fist pump, but for the most part my emotional attachment to sports (which runs deep) is self-contained. As amusing as it is to have a five year old with rudimentary understanding of football yelling at teams, I can’t help wondering what he’ll be like at 30. . . or 80. I don’t want my son to develop an ulcer over Monday Night Football.
It seemed like a calming thing to do might be to introduce him to Madden. I haven’t played video games much since he was born, but I thought he’d enjoy playing it (he certainly loves the games on my iPad), so I dusted off my old GameCube and opened his sports-loving heart to a whole new world.
Initially he liked playing on the same team as me, but was quickly frustrated by not being in control. So, he started playing against me and it’s just like playing against people my own age back in college. He grunts with dismay, cheers wildly, and rubs it in when he scores a touchdown. (Sidenote: as of this writing he’s managed to score as many as 21 points in a game against me).
They say to be careful what you wish for. I got a sports buddy around the house, and I enjoy every minute of it, especially the fact that for right now he roots for the teams I tell him to. Of course when he hits his teen years and starts rooting against me all bets are off.