Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Super time

I am very, very happy the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. As a New England Patriots fan, nothing gave me a greater thrill this year than watching the much-hated Indianapolis Colts lose to the underdog, the team from the Bayou that had never been to a Super Bowl before. As much as I despise the Colts, I really liked the Saints this year, and had become a big fan of them after they crushed the Pats during the regular season... if the Pats were going to lose that badly, it had better be to an incredibly talented team, and now there's no doubt the Saints are the best of the bunch. The Pats had no chance at winning it all, anyway, as it turns out everyone on the team, including the waterboy, was injured this year (we're hearing now that quarterback Tom Brady had been playing without a left arm for the final three games of the regular season). Head coach Bill Belichick also traded away the entire defense halfway through the season for several good draft picks next year and a handful of gumdrops. It might not seem like a sound strategy, but Belichick has brought three championships to New England, so we tend to trust his decisions, even when he seems like he's back to sniffing glue.

Jennifer, Kyle and I watched the first half of the game at a Super Bowl party, hosted by our good friends Nicole and Chad. We had a lot of fun watching the game on their HDTV while gnawing on BBQ ribs, drinking beer, and eating homemade desserts. Years ago, we would have seen the entire game at one of these parties, but that was before the little guy arrived. Kyle certainly had fun watching the game and giving out high-fives, but it wasn't long before we came dangerously close to his bedtime. We knew if we stayed too long we ran the risk of having a cranky kid who would cry relentlessly and get into fistfights over politics. We departed before that could happen. By the time the game ended, Kyle was in bed, and I was sitting on the couch at home, watching it with Jennifer and no one else. I couldn't cheer as loudly, but at least I had a reason to cheer.

As much fun as that was, it's still much better for me when the Pats are in the big game. I hope they return to the Super Bowl during Kyle's childhood, especially when he's old enough to appreciate it. By appreciating it, I do mean as a Pats fan. As many of you know, I am doing the cardinal sin of trying to raise a Boston sports fan in New York City. We cheer all things Patriots and Red Sox, and boo all things Jets and Yankees. Sure, Kyle will become confused whenever we sing about rooting "for the home team" during the seventh inning stretch, but I think in the end he will thank me for it.

At least, that's what I hope. As Kyle grows older and closer to an age when he will start paying attention to sports, I do wonder more often whether I will be able to convince him to root for his dad's home team over the local clubs. After all, New York city is a big sports town, and chances are he'll become friends with a lot of New York sports fans once he enters preschool. There's no guarantee my efforts to make him a Boston fan will work, and the fear of walking into his room someday and seeing an Alex Rodriguez poster on his wall is enough to keep me awake some nights.

Yes, I have written about this several times before (you see the picture of him from last year, taken moments before a Yankees fan made fun of his mother), and I have gone into some detail about ways to convince him that the New York teams, especially the Yankees, are evil. But as we go through each sport season, I can't help but wonder whether Kyle and I will root with each other or against each other. This may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but Jennifer recently met someone who is a Boston fan and has kids who are Yankees fans, and he has told her that it's a nightmare. I understand he often goes to bed crying, wondering where he went wrong as a parent. I am hoping to avoid that. Maybe I need to step up our efforts, perhaps by having him sleep to replays of the 2004 World Series or Super Bowl XXXVI so that a loyalty to Boston will sink into his subconscious. Or maybe I just need to continue sharing all of my sports moments with him, so that he will cherish these times and associate my teams with wonderful bonding experiences with his dad. That, and a steady dose of empty threats to kick him out of the house and set his toys on fire if he ever roots for the Yanks or Jets (or the Colts), just might do the trick.

I guess I have a few years to go before any of this will ever matter, anyway. Even though I still will think about the future of sports in our home, I will just be happy watching games like Sunday's Super Bowl and having Kyle with me, clapping away, even though he doesn't know yet who really deserves his cheers.

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