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The Many Faces of the Sporting Dad

I'm Zeke Braverman, Lance Armstrong, Michael Ferns and many others.

 

I am Zeke Braverman

If you follow this column and saw the latest episode of NBC’s Parenthood, you can certainly envision me channeling my inner Zeke Braverman. Take a look (watch from 32:17 until 36:35) and think of how many times you’ve had to harness those exact impulses. 

Is it a realistic portrayal of how such behavior would be handled at your own kid’s game? I highly doubt it. Does it contradict several of this sporting dad’s previously stated “do’s and don’ts”? Well, yes – in order to deliver the intended impact in less than five minutes – it has to. Does it sum up the views of those of us who just want to see our children have a positive youth sporting experience? You can bet your bleacher cushion on it.

I am Lance Armstrong

A man pedaled from a bed of cancer and up a path of yellow. Strong enough to outsprint what did not belong inside of him. And then weak enough to believe that he should dictate what others put into their own bodies.

Bullies, cheaters, and liars often justify their actions to themselves by overcompensating during another portion of their ride. The problem is when hope is bought and sold on a crooked road littered with shards of misleading admiration.

The actions lead an entire community to contemplate whether the exercise was nothing more than a veiled diversion.

I am Michael Ferns

It’s not always easy – not to score a touchdown. Especially when you are the star of your high school football team, already headed to Michigan to play college ball, and one yard short of a 53-yard TD run.

But Michael Ferns didn’t want to score – not this time. So he stepped out at the one-yard line. The touchdown would instead be scored by a freshman who had lost his father to a stroke a few days earlier.

I am a role model

A referee is slapped in the face by a youth football coach. Do you even need to know why? How many reasons can you think of that would warrant any adult striking any other adult during an event that involved kids?

Take it a step further. Make a list of circumstances that might cause you to get into an argument with an opposing coach during a game. Now make another list but this time swap the coach for a referee. See if you can address the potential problems before they have a chance of occurring.

Here’s the sad truth. On any given autumn Sunday, I can find a football field in our own lovely state where two adults are a few feisty words from becoming the next trending YouTube video.

I am not perfect

Well … duh. We’re basically concoctions of various actions, reactions, and emotions when inserted into a ring where our children compete for the attention of those who own the distribution of playing time.    

So Zeke, Lance, Michael, and every coach and referee can, have, and will alter that outcome in one way or another. And most parents will teeter on a plane of unrest like the neighbor’s leaves on a windy day.

Their jobs — and ours as well — is to be true to the area that exists well above the accepted standards of morality and integrity.

Leaves are at the mercy of the gusts that challenge them. Once the pile is disrupted, it's unlikely that they'll ever fully regroup.

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