, blogger extraordinaire and Gator fan by marriage, has started another outlet in his vast blog empire. This latest entry is titled "Varsity Dad
." (Actually, VD started back in January, but I'm just now discovering it.) It's devoted to raising his son to be a sports fan and fatherhood in sports generally. Shanoff has his son Gabe and several of you know I have new baby daughter
, Georgia Herschella.
I've been reading Varsity Dad recently and this got me to thinking not just about raising a sports fan, but specifically raising a daughter as a sports fan. As a general matter, girls don't obsess over sports like guys do, but the ones who do are awesome. I doubt seriously that I would have married wife had she not been interested in sports. Our first date was a Braves game. I decided I had to marry her after she requested to stay at the 2000 Independence Bowl
after my Aggie brother's friends wanted to leave in the second quarter. Any woman willing to sit in a snow storm to watch two teams she cares nothing about deserves a ring.
In the interest of raising my daughter a sports fan, I offer my first advice to Georgia Herschella. Other advice will follow:
1. Support Mom and Dad's alma mater until you're in college.
I am suspicious of any child whose cheered for any team other than their parent's school. They're like kids that cuss at their parents, it's jarring and frightening. What could have gone so wrong? I was an LSU fan even into law school because of my Mom and Dad. You should be barking at least until you graduate high school.
2. Go to the game.
Before I played organized sports, I attended sporting events. So did your Mom. You don't need a knowledge of the game to enjoy it. Enjoy the crowd, the band, the jumbotron. Marvel that a boy can make 100,000 people gasp, cheer, or cry.
3. Don't be afraid of the weather.
Rain is water. You bathe in it. Someday you will drink it. Rain is not an excuse to run for cover under the upper deck. Check the forecast and prepare accordingly. Your parents will do this for you for the foreseeable future. Learn from their example. (As a side note, I've noticed women's shoes for games where rain is likely is a problem. I suggest flip flops for the first couple of months of the season, but when it gets cold, wife gets nervous. Any suggestions are appreciated.) The only reasons to run for the concourses is lightning (Do not mess with lightning!) and excessive, Texas A&M caliber heat.
4. You may wear a cheerleader outfit at any time.
Even to church.
5. Take an interest in what Dad watches and pay attention when he tells you something is important.
I remember one of the first moments when I truly fell in love with sports was the 1985 NCAA basketball final between Georgetown and Villanova. Most of us have memories of that game or at least know the story. My Dad came and got me out of bed so that I could watch the second half. Dad watched closely, leaning for a shot to go in, pointing out important players and times in the game. I figured out that it was important, that I was watching something that not only I would remember for a long time, but that Dad would remember for a long time.
Ask questions whenever you want. Dad will be excited that you are showing an interest in sports. This will help you learn the rules for later.
Feel free to offer your own thoughts on my daughter's fandom.