The Super Bowl was played less than a week ago. The team I’ve rooted for my entire life was playing for yet another ring.
And I could not wait to put my boys to sleep.
Not because I had some sort of desire to watch it without them–in fact, it was just the opposite. I’ve been waiting their whole lives for them to be interested. And it had finally happened!
It’s just that I’ve developed a strange relationship with the NFL. Good lord, I love the sport, and the National Football League represents the best product of its kind on the planet. But just moments into SB LII, after Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks was laid out by a helmet-to-helmet hit, my youngest son looked at me and asked, sincerely, “Is he dead, dadda?”
Lookit: I’m not shielding my children from the real world–hell, the boys have a sister who passed away, and we talk about her all the time. I’m just not into the little dudes grappling with their mortality at the same time they are learning about the joy and excitement of competition.
Thankfully, as I hunt and peck my way around the keyboard tonight, the 2018 Winter Olympics have begun. And while I have no illusion of my children taking a sudden liking to the biathlon, I’m well aware that there is a difference between the culture surrounding major American professional sports and their Olympic counterparts.
As a result, I’m planning on forcing myself to get hyped for this year’s Pyeongchang Olympics. I want my boys to cut their teeth on competition for competition’s sake. I want them to recognize the beauty of winning for something greater than a free-agent contract. (And I write this just hours following the announcement of the absurd contract awarded to Jimmy Garappolo by the San Francisco 49ers.)
Mostly, I’m looking forward to sharing some time with them on the couch, explaining things like geography and global citizenship. I can’t wait to force myself to cheer when the medals are awarded. I’m psyched for all of this. It’ll feel strange to choreographing the experience, but it’ll feel much less strange than explaining that Brandin Cooks hasn’t died on the field in front of them.
Oh, and I really can’t wait to watch hockey with them. Yeah. Lots of hockey.