Daddy Issues

Last week I went to an Astros game and my seats were behind this cute little suburbia-esque family. The dad was sporting his bright white Reebok high-tops, Lance Berkman jersey and jean shorts, and the mom had her Ralph Lauren nautical themed polo neatly tucked into her pleated khaki slacks with their son and daughter sitting between the two of them. The little girl asked, “Daddy, when is halftime? I have to go potty!” It was kind of cute and funny until the reality of what she said sank in and I felt a pit in my stomach. It was cute and innocent that she asked when halftime was AT A BASEBALL GAME, but her dad’s response was anything but cute and innocent.

He didn’t say a word! He didn’t correct her! Surely if she confused a brontosaurus with a tyrannosaurus rex he would have set her straight. Why was a sporting event any different? I guarantee you as an adult she’d sound a hell of a lot dumber thinking halftime existed in baseball than if she got her dinosaurs mixed up. At that very minute, her father let her believe halftime actually existed in the sport of baseball and not only perpetuated her sport’s ignorance, but embraced it.  I could tell from that moment on that the unassuming daddy’s girl would never come to love or even tolerate sports. Right there in front of my eyes were the crossroads and her trusted father led her down the wrong path.

As the little girl continued her Miley Cyrus potty dance, the dad turned his attention back to his son and started breaking down the pitcher’s mechanics. He went on to explain where the strike zone was and which batters were more inclined to swing at curve balls and which ones went after the high outside pitches.

As I’ve said before, my dad always wanted a son. He wanted a son he could throw a ball around with and teach him tackling techniques. He wanted to go to the batting cages and hit BASEBALLS, not softballs. The plus side to being born a girl in a world where your dad hoped for a son was that he still had that sports dream and taught me everything.

I may have entered this world with ovaries, but that didn’t stop my dad from teaching me all things sports. We spent countless hours watching enough Nascar it made me dizzy. I knew all about the Yankees franchise and legacy at an early age thanks to him and my grandpa. Because sports and family time were synonymous, I quickly learned that every Thanksgiving came equipped with mashed potatos, a Detroit Lions and a Dallas Cowboys televised game (until 2006 where a third game is now played with no fixed opponents). My dad knew he could never teach me how to french braid, but he could teach me to throw the perfect spiral.

So here’s my advice:

Girls: Before you say you hate sports, give it a try. Remember when you used to hate bangs and then you found the right

My dad: the reason I know and love sports!

My dad: the reason I know and love sports!

hairdresser that made them just perfect? Find a sport, a favorite team, or even a favorite player you think you can tolerate. (For step 2, read my advice for guys and then go find that guy.) Last month a few guys wrote into Maxim and said they hated when their girlfriends faked an interest in sports just to please them. Just try to like it, don’t fake it. Save the faking for other stuff.

Guys: If you’re dating a girl that doesn’t share your interest in sports or seems too far behind the learning curve, take her to a game. Teach her what the terms mean and give her some insight into who’s on the field. Point out fun things she’d be interested in (like at Minute Maid Park, the wives/girlfriend’s section is 122) or that Matthew McConaughey has been to a ton of Astros games wearing burnt orange. Tell her that the Rockets traded a draft pick in 2006 for Shane Battier and that he loves to sing karaoke at Christian’s Tailgate and is truly one of the friendliest guys around.

And just because a girl’s old enough to down a bucket of Bud Light at your favorite sport’s bar doesn’t mean she’s capable of carrying on an in-depth conversation about who to draft for fantasy football.

Dads: We blame enough of our drama on daddy issues already, so please get your act together and talk to us about sports. Let us be the ones to decide if we like them or want to play.

Father’s Day Advertisers: It’s OK to show fathers with their daughters, even on a golf course or a stadium.