In lieu of my scheduled post for today, I decided to offer up words of wisdom from my husband. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd find an unsolicited post from him in my inbox—this is the guy who is SO private that he will never join Facebook and is happy that I use a pen name (his idea, by the way). Thus, I'd be a fool to pass on what might be my one and only chance to introduce him to you. The added bonus? We have our first-ever dad blogger! Read on and let us know what you think of the other half's point of view.
I was born and remain a life-long Dodgers and Lakers fan. The main influence? My father.
Reading a recent article by Robert Krulwich and watching this video brought back many early sports memories from my childhood. No, my dad didn’t force me to wear a certain jersey or make me cry over whom to cheer for, but it was clear from the beginning that I was only going to be an LA fan—there was no discussion of other cities’ teams , there was no formal initiation, I just knew. Even then I thought, “How could I cheer for any other team besides the Dodgers or Lakers?"
Krulwich’s article references a sports study by Daniel Wann and colleagues at Murray State University, that asks: When a kid chooses his or her first sports team, who or what in his or her life most influences the choice? Can anyone take a guess? The answer by an overwhelming number of male and female respondents: “My father.”
Dads and sports—a powerful combo like PB&J, Jack and Coke, and Lennon and McCartney. Sorry moms, but the kids are going to listen to dad (for once!) when it comes to cheering for their favorite team. According to this study, men overall have a bigger influence on picking what team to follow. Even women take their sports cues from fathers over mothers, brothers over sisters, sons over daughters, and boyfriends over friends. Case in point: My wife is an Angels fan simply because her dad regularly took her to the games and, as she says, bought her Cracker Jacks. Although I don’t support her allegiance to an Orange County baseball team that’s inspired a Disney movie, thank goodness for our marriage that she’s a true Lakers fan. I’m sure there are a number of factors ultimately influencing this “personal” decision and I’ll let the experts like Krulwich and Wann figure them out, but for me it is simple: no matter our difference in age and athletic abilities or how things were between my dad and I, we could always talk about our shared love of our favorite sports teams. It was an instant comfort zone.
I will never forget going to Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoons to watch Fernando Valenzuela pitch in front of a sell-out crowd and attending Game 2 of the 1988 World Series where I witnessed Orel Hershiser hit 3 for 3 and pitch a complete game shutout against the Oakland A’s. As for the Lakers, there was no comparison—Magic, Kareem, Worthy, AC Green, Coop, and Bryon Scott. And right now the Lakers have this other guy, Kobe Bryant, you may have heard of him. Aren’t you jealous? (Keep the boos and hisses coming.) These great sports memories—a common passion, language, and bond—represent the magic of sports and traditions that I hope share with my son. Of course, he’s already the proud owner of vintage Dodgers pennants and Lakers gear.
So dads (and moms) keep the tradition alive in your households. Pass your sports legacies to your children. Don’t get too carried away like a Philadelphia Eagle fan or become a football hooligan, but let your kids know who to cheer for and provide the necessary correction. While my son can play with any toy that captures his imagination, explore activities other than sports, go to the college of his choice, or be whatever he desires, my son will NEVER cheer for the San Francisco Giants or Boston Celtics while living in my house—that is non-negotiable.
The Other Sarah thanks her husband for guest blogging today. His
preoccupation obsession passion for sports never ceases to amaze her.