March Madness: A dad’s quandary (Or, ‘Gus Johnson, we hardly knew ye’)

March Madness. It’s coming. And the mere thought of it gets my blood pressure into a dangerous area (where’s my Lisinopril when I need it?). But fatherhood has changed my NCAA Tournament viewing plans, as I know it. Has yours?

Sure, you’ll be watching – as much as you can, that is.

Specifically, of course, I’m talking about the first four days of the tournament, when the action is so fast and so constant that there’s barely time to change a diaper, let alone lay on the floor and play Thomas the Train. Hell, it wasn’t too long ago that those were the days I called out sick from work, ordered wings in multiples of 50, and bet every over/under known to man.

The way I see it is this: These days, I’ve got two options and two options, only.

Not to go all William Wallace on you, but I can run, or I can fight.

For me, it’s all about winning the heart and mind of my 3-year-old, whose wingspan and ability to rebound a grilled cheese before it hits the floor tells me he should be way more into sports than he is at this point. But, without fail, each time I turn on a game TV, it’s more of a disaster than Bobby Valentine at Fenway Park.

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up. I’ve got three weeks to get his hoop watching stamina up to 45-minutes of real time. By that point, with the early tip for the first round of games, that’ll take us to right around toddler lunchtime. With a morning full of playgroup-type-wear-your-toddler-butt-out activity, lunch then bleeds directly into naptime (a beast all its own, of course – I’ll save that for a future post). By the time he wakes, we’re looking at a snack (I have a hunch there will be some carrot sticks, celery and bleu cheese hanging around), which will lead to another 45-minute stretch. By this point, I’ve got nearly two games complete, and my wife will be home from work anytime.

Let’s be honest, though, all the practice in the world won’t prep my little guys for game action. I just hope those wings taste as good when I’m sitting on the playroom floor, listening to Gus Johnson from three rooms away.

Ah, the joys of concession.

Kyle Belanger

Written by: Kyle Belanger

Proud father to three children (in order: one deceased, one adopted and one biological), Kyle is constantly navigating the worlds between actively grieving and openly gloating. Learn more about Kyle here.

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