« Sports

It Starts at Home

by Nick Vitrano

File this under “Most Obvious Things People Say:” our children learn it all from us. 

“Wow, Nick, breaking some serious ground there.  You mean to tell me that kids watch and listen to what we do and then formulate ideas of right and wrong based on those observations?  You’re a stinkin’ genius!”

I know I’m not blazing trails through undiscovered country on this one, but watching this video today made me nostalgic and made me have one of those “dad moments.”

I have a 19-month old daughter and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love being a dad.  Like every dad out there, like every parent out there, I began immediately thrusting my sports allegiances onto her.  She had onesies and sleepers and blankets adorned with Milwaukee Brewers and Green Bay Packers logos.  I continue to dress her in her Packers cheerleading outfit on game day, her Brewers jersey on opening day.  I can’t wait for the first day when she pulls her ponytail through her cap and we make our way to Miller Park or Lambeau Field.  Until then, I cherish the days when she points to the TV and says “ball,” indicating that she’d like to take in a game on her daddy’s lap (or at least 9 minutes of a game). 

We recognize the importance of our jobs as parents in all other areas, but one area in which we seem to neglect our responsibility to our children is the athletic realm.  First of all, I’m sensitive to the fact that I am setting up my daughter for a lifetime of small-market purgatory with the Brewers, but I can’t help it.  I cheered as my father cheered as his before him.  It’s in our blood.  But parents, as you owe it to your kids to think of the playground when naming them, you too should give some thought to the teams you support.  I mean, I’ve never seen a World Series victory in my lifetime.  Heck, my team has never won one...has only been to one!  It’s possible that the Brewers will never win one for as long as I live…for as long as she lives.  Perhaps I should have gone all-in with the Red Sox early on. 

And secondly, more seriously, more importantly: parents…your kids pattern their behavior after you in every arena.  That includes sports.  The jerk sports dad is almost certain to produce a subsequent generation of jerk sports fans.  Next time you’re at a game and some dude (or chick) is out of control and you think to yourself, “How does that happen?”  The answer, like so many answers, is likely – it began at home.