Remember the days of yore when you watched sports on the couch with your dad? Remember watching your favorite team, high-fiving each other when they scored, and getting that consoling pat on the knee if they lost? Remember seeing your favorite athletes on TV throwing their jersey to a kid or running through the streets and thinking they could do no wrong? Yeah, those days are gone.
The Son is just over a year old. We don't watch sports together yet. Well, that's not entirely true. I watch the games, he is mesmorized by the cool colors and shapes moving on the screen. My in-laws were shocked that he watched football with me during the season this year at only six months old. But once we all figured out the miracle of high definition television made the colors like crack to a baby, then it all made sense. However, the fact that he couldn't tell the difference between a jersey, the officials flag and a cheerleader doesn't stop me from day-dreaming of the day when we will be able to watch sports together. I just wonder how that's all going to work out with the way things are in the world.
Mark McGwire was the biggest thing in baseball just a decade ago. He was the clean-cut, respectful, All-American professional athlete that everyone wanted their kids to grow up and emmulate. When he hugged the necks of Roger Maris's kids after hitting his 62nd home run, it made everyone cry. Now, regardless of our country's capacity to forgive, I have to explain to my son why the guy who broke Roger's record cheated when he did it. Oh, and thanks Barry Bonds for cheating as well when you broke the recond a few years later. Makes me job as a dad so much easier.
Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong were members of an American team that dominated world cycling for a decade. Now both of them are either admitted dopers or constantly facing charges of doing it. Thanks guys, appreciate the help.
The most popular players in the NFL get that as much for the way they perform on the field as for their antics off it. Terrel "There is a ME in TEAM" Owens, Chad "I refuse to call you by any other name" Johnson, Ray "Please don't remember the fact that I was involved in a murder" Lewis... you guys suck. Big time.
How are we as parents supposed to get our kids to act correctly when these are their role models? Who are we supposed to look up to and thereby get our kids to look up to? How am I supposed to tell The Son that these guys are "the best" when they act like "the worst? Is there a solution to this crap sandwich I've been tossed as a father?
I think... I HOPE... I have the solution to this problem. Two young men that can help us show our kids not only athletes they can dream of being, but people we can be happy they revere:
Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy.
Boys, don't let me down.