Without sports I would not be where I am today; therefore, my daughters will definitely participate in sports. There are at least three areas of my life that have greatly benefited from my involvement on sports teams: my family relationships, my work ethic, and my social abilities. Those are all areas in which I want my daughters to have every advantage, and being part of a team will help them gain exactly that.
My dad and I spent many Sunday afternoons watching various football and basketball games. These games are memories that I cherish and will never forget. Every spring, summer, and fall, my dad and I would finish the yard work and head to the driveway where we would play a few hours of basketball one-on-one. The games were competitive, but never heated. It was good quality one-on-one time that I got to spend with my dad, one-on-one time that many of my neighborhood friends did not get to spend with their dads. Even today, when I visit my dad, we will play horse in the driveway for hours. I want my kids to have the same amount of special time with me. I want them to look forward to that time as I did, and still do, with my own father.
Sports teach that practice is necessary in order to excel, and in order to practice effectively, there must be a desire to get better. I spent hours when I was younger shooting the basketball in the driveway as I practiced technique. The hours I spent practicing basketball carried over into my first job as a dishwasher. I practiced washing dishes and tried various techniques to help increase my speed enough that I became the first dishwasher/cook. When I worked in the oil field as a swamper, which is an atmosphere that makes History’s Ax Men and Discovery’s Deadliest Catch appear tame, I learned to treat the job as a giant basketball play. I memorized where each piece of equipment moved at what point in the oil rig’s relocation, which allowed me to bypass most of the verbal abuse given to greenhorns.
Most people who know me know that I am a very quiet person. I can safely say that ninety-percent of the friends I had growing up came from sports. Playing sports breaks the awkwardness I feel in social situations and allows me to make friends. In fact, I still use that technique today. Every Tuesday many of the local attorneys where I live get together to play basketball. Because of those Tuesdays, I have been able to befriend most of them.
It is because of those benefits that I have encouraged Addie to be involved in sports. So far, she has participated in soccer and gymnastics. Soccer ended up being a dud as far as actually playing the sport, but overall it was a success. Addie, only three years old at the time, refused to kick the ball with the other kids on the team and instead demanded that I play soccer with her. I ended up spending each soccer Saturday thirty yards away from the other kids playing soccer one-on-one with Addie. That is a memory Addie still talks about today. I also take Addie to some of my Tuesday evening basketball sessions with the local attorneys. She roams around on the stands and cheers for me. One of the local judges has even made it a habit of constantly joking with Addie that she is not allowed to come anymore because he considers her to be my good luck charm. My gym has also had several kids’ events that Addie has participated in. Seeing her glow as several serious body builders at the gym shouted and cheered her on as she did pullups and lifted weights has been one of my favorite moments as a father. I also want Addie and Vivi to have memories of watching sports with me, even if that means I end up watching ice skating (knock on wood) or gymnastics.
It does not matter if my girls want to play basketball or if they want to participate in softball, I will support them in whatever sports they take an interest. The sports they play or the level at which they play them are not important. It is the care they give the sport and the time I get to spend with them as a result that is important. I want them to be able to look back at their childhood and remember the quality time they were able to spend with their dad, and I want them to be able to apply the skills they learn in sports into their own lives.
Here are some pictures of Addie and Vivi participating in sporting activities, as well as a few gratuitous pictures of me playing sports, complete with commentary from my wife, from when I was a kid:
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