Archive for February, 2012

10 Things I Learned Watching My Daughter Play This Basketball Season

February 27, 2012
  1. My kid cares about winning: She doesn’t obsess over winning but she’ll try her hardest to contribute to success. She knows participant trophies are irrelevant.
  2. She is a gracious loser: As much as she cares about winning, she can walk away from a loss head high. As long as she tried her best, she gets it. There are winners and losers.
  3. Same effort in practice as in games: Ball is ball. She loves to play and to compete. There may be more laughs and goofs at practice, but she tries to win every drill and plays tough during scrimmages.
  4. She enjoys and supports her teammates: She smiles so hard her cheeks sometime ache. The pure joy is evident and is contagious.
  5. She allows herself to learn nuance: To get good, she learned the basics. To get better, she studied subtitles.
  6. She will not allow you to score: Nope. You will be beaten to your spot, your angles will be compromised, you will not be able to dribble around her. You are fully checked.
  7. She is tougher than nails: Tough and strong. Surprisingly. Neither pain nor exertion prevent a maximum defensive effort. She takes a lick and she dishes them out. She has never self-called a foul.
  8. She prepares like a pro: She understands conceptual continuity. Same bag, same sneaks, same shorts, same socks, same routines. She has a practice uniform, she has a game uniform. iPod and headphones en route to each.
  9. She is coach-able: She hears, she listens, she adjusts, she absorbs. Doesn’t need to be instructed twice. She coaches herself. She respects refs.
  10. She does it for herself: Basketball was her idea. I didn’t even consider it. Last year’s team went 0-8. She came back because she likes to play. This year, they were 7-1.

Let Birds Fly

February 10, 2012

My kid plays sports. She plays soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and rock climbs (or, “climbs rocks”? You know: harnesses, ropes, goofy shoes, belaying n’ shit. Barefoot white dudes calling each other “brah” everywhere…). She’s kind of a studly.

Unfortunately, she got all the shitty eyesight genes. She’s not blind or anything, but she requires vision correction to see what we used to call the chalkboard. And, obviously, to play sports. She’s probably genetically a touch narcissistic too.

For sports, she typically wears Rec-Specs. I know, expensive but worth it.

Last year at her annual ophthalmology appointment she brought five talking points on an index card lobbying to get contact lenses. She made a convincing case but our ophthalmologist said the youngest he has prescribed contacts to is a ten year-old and that was a special case for football. She was eight. She was pissed the standing exception was for a boy to play sports. The doctor told her he’d reevaluate in a year.

This year, she had one point: I’m ready. He agreed. As the doc said, “motivation is the strongest predictor of success.”

When they initially fit and demonstrate contact lenses for kids they send the parents to the lobby. They put them in and the kid has to take them out and re-insert them solo. This is a huge hurdle. Beasley took about 40 minutes to take out and put back in. Through tears (from toying with the eye), snot (same), and perseverance, she did it.

The parents are in sent to the lobby because we’d go apeshit nuts watching and “helping.”

I promised B it would get quicker and easier. It quickly did. Now, she takes about the same amount of time to insert and remove as her mom and me. She’s proud of herself and quite methodical.

She’ll be 10 in a couple of months. So she now has the record at our ophthalmologist’s (and I’m sure every four-eyed kid at school will now beg to get contacts).

When kids are ready to do things, they are ready. Quit bubble-wrapping and helicoptering!


February 7, 2012

Comedian Tom Shillue has a great family show on SiriusXM channel 96 called Funny Story. It’s a clean talk show version of Kids Place Live and it features Tom talking to other grown ups about their childhood every Tuesday at 5PM.

I’m on it tonight and the topic is Fathers and Sons. Tom and I live in New York where children are not allowed to make gun gestures with their hands in school and playgrounds are filled with helicopter dads who think grass blades can give paper cuts (I’m not exaggerating). We both grew up with scary dads who said things like, “Stop your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” On the show, we discuss the state of fatherhood today and whether or not it’s cool to have a cool dad. Personally, I think all dads are stuck with an ultimatum: You can be friends with them when they’re young or you can be friends with them when they’re old. I chose the latter. Sure I’ll play with the kids and show them how to draw Spider-Man but this is not a democracy. It’s a benevolent dictatorship.

The radio show is based on a live comedy show Tom does where he doesn’t have a set or tell jokes, he just gets up there and tells a funny story. He does this at a club in NYC called UCB East and the end of his radio show features a recording of a story he told on stage involving life before Star Wars. Back then it was all about the Six Million Dollar Man and the worst possible role you could get stuck with while playing outside was being the Six Million Dollar Man’s boss Oscar.

My parents were so cheap they got me this when I asked for a Six Million Dollar Man action figure.

Also, if you’re in New York, I’ll be performing at Funny Story UCB East this Friday at 7:30PM. I think I’ll tell the story about the time my dad leapt out of bed and beat the crap out of some vandals who were trashing the backyard. He was nude.