American Football

Learn to Like Sports

American Football
American Football, by WikiImages

Dear Son,

When I was your age, I hated sports.  I hated talking about them, I hated watching them, and I hated playing them.  A lot of this came from being an outsider among the other boys in school.  I was not popular and they let me know it through bullying, social snubs, and the basic meanness that boys are capable of in elementary and junior high (middle) school.  And because of it, I tried actively not to share their interests.  That was a terrible mistake.

Liking sports helps a young man appreciate what his body is capable of, and gives him an interest in taking care of and conditioning it.  And it gives him a  framework for conditioning his body.  If you know what you want to be able to do, you can aim for it.

But more importantly, it gives you a powerful icebreaker.  I didn’t understand when I was a boy how important it was to have other male friends in my life.  You need other men to talk to, because sometimes they will understand things in a way a woman cannot.  And you also need friends you can talk to who have no agenda in your life the way a spouse or a lover must.  Sports gives you a common language, a common metaphor, and a common interest with many other boys and men.

For me, as I try to help men make better lives for themselves I find learning about sports is a powerful tool.  if I know a little about the sports they love, I can create metaphors they understand, and speak a language that means something to them.

Team sports in particular have many other lessons to teach about leadership, friendship and cooperation that I ended up having to learn the hard way.

I am not going to be the kind of dad who surrounds you with sports memorabilia, or watches many games.  I also will not be the kind of dad who signs you up for many different teams – I want to make sure I balance your structured activities with free time and a chance to be bored. But I will do my best to learn about sports, and teach you at the same time. That way you won’t miss out on the friendships and lessons it has to teach that I did.

Love,

Dad

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