Column: Fathers, sports and things that really matter
Austin Bishop / EMG sports director
June 20, 2004
Fathers and sports just seem to go together.
I have certainly run across a lot of them in my years of coaching little league, youth soccer, umpiring, refereeing and writing sports.
They come in all shapes and sizes and temperaments.
The ones I enjoy the most are the ones who work with their children and encourage them in their sporting endeavors. The ones who make me cringe are those who push and drive their children so hard that nobody enjoys the whole experience including the child.
Being the father of a young athlete may seem like a simple thing to be, but it really isn't. I know. I've done it twice.
You want them to achieve their best, to be all-stars, to be the top hitter, to be the star. All of those things are cool, and I've had the opportunity to experience some of that.
But there also comes times when things don't work out so well. When you feel like a coach isn't giving your child the opportunities you would like them too. I've also experienced that, more than once.
There are some fathers reading this column who actually have children who have played college and pro sports. Congratulations to you. That is an awesome achievement.
But there are many more soaking in these words who have never had that happen, in fact their children may not have been varsity in high school or made the youth league all-star team.
Here's a tip to you. It's not the end of the world.
Is it wrong to want your son or daughter to be the best athlete in his or her sport? Of course not. I applaud all of those who go the extra mile to give them the opportunity to achieve.
Do I think there are times where you need to stand up for your children? Certainly. I also think it's important to teach them that everyone can't be the pitcher, or the lead-off hitter or the all-star.
And if they are among the best of the best, that they should treat that opportunity with honor and respect always working hard and always playing clean and fair.
Sports are a big part of my life. I don't apologize for that. Heck, it was my plan. After working one summer loading trucks in blistering heat and waking up in the middle of the night with excruciating leg cramps, I decided there had to be another way to make a living.
I think I've found a pretty good one.
Probably one of the first things both of my sons can remember about me has something to do with sports. Both grew up watching sports on television with me, learning about turning the double play, hitting the ball to the other side, blocking out in the paint, or what play should be run when in football.
There are a lot of positives you can learn for sports. How to play as a team. How to react when you win and how to behave when you lose. How to play hurt. How to deal with life when things aren't necessarily fair.
As Tom Hanks said in his famous quote from "A league of their own" "There is not crying in baseball." And, to be honest, there shouldn't be whining in any sport.
I'm not big on whiners. I'm also not to keen on those who panic under pressure. Other than that, I can deal with it.
Am I an expert on sports?
Certainly not. Even 20-plus years running a sports department and a daily sports radio talk show don't make you that.
Am I an expert on fatherhood? Nope. No way. I work at it, but have a long way to go.
Today fathers will be receiving gifts of all shapes and sizes. Some will be ties hey, I actually like getting them. Some will receive large tasty packages of beef jerky one of my personal favorites.
Some will receive quickly wrapped presents bought at the Wal-Mart at 3 this morning, others will be handed handmade cards and other special items.
To some today is all about father's receiving gifts. But I also think it is a good time for fathers to think about the gifts they give to their children every day.
There are two things that all fathers should give their children the example of how to be a good
husband and a good father. If you can do those two things and add to that the gift of a Christian home, then you are the Father of the Year.
And those of you who have daughters, you can teach your girls what they need to be looking for in a husband. How a man should treat his children and wife.
Yeah, sports are important and they have provided me with a good living. But they are not the most important thing in the world, they really aren't.
Your family is. Don't forget it.