I am not going to be one of those parents.
You know, the parents in the stands at their kid’s sporting events yelling and screaming and carrying on over what, in the grand scheme of things, is a meaningless recreational activity.
This isn’t easy for me to say, because I’m an athlete. Maybe not a good athlete, but someone who loves sport, and winning, and being competitive, and working hard at all times when playing the games we love.
But I refuse to go down the road that so many parents do and begin living vicariously through my child’s sporting exploits. The Old Man didn’t do it with me — either because I wasn’t good enough at anything, despite many championships that prove otherwise (damn, I was going for humble there …), but more likely because he was smart enough to know I wasn’t going to play in The Show.
So, like many things in life, I’m going to try to follow The Old Man’s lead when it comes to The Hurricane’s participation in sport — a more than willing coach, tireless practice partner, advice giver, chin-picker-upper, and strategizer — but I’m not going to start pushing her to become the first female pitcher in Major League Baseball.
Believe me, this is a big statement for me, because this chick has a million dollar arm.
Wait, that’s a dated saying. She has a billion dollar arm.
Although we don’t encourage her to throw things around the house, we do let her chuck The Mutt’s toys, because otherwise she hits the poor dog on the nose repeatedly, before one of them tires of the game. So, yeah, fire away kiddo, before you cause even more brain damage to the long-haired black thing you already torture at every turn.
But over the past couple of days I’ve really noticed The Hurricane’s developing form, when throwing items. Gone is the noodle arm and wrist flick that results in a throw that might go two feet ahead, three feet to the side or even a foot behind her. That’s so what’s expected of an 18-month-old.
But, with yesterday being her 19-month birthday, she has suddenly developed a cannon. She’s throwing rubber ducks clear across the living room and bouncing them off the window, while The Mutt looks stunned and The Boss dives for cover.
Last night, she hit me in the upper arm with the same duck when she popped up from behind the bed in the spare room, while I pretended not to see her because there were no lights on in the room. I totally could see her, but I didn’t see the rifle action of her throwing arm coming, until after I took the blow.
There was velocity. There was aim. And, of course, there was laughter. And still I managed to stamp out visions of The Hurricane in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform shaking off the catcher’s call for a curve when everyone in the park knows the punk at the plate can’t catch up to her 100 mile per hour heater.
So my kid officially has a lightning bolt for an arm. She’s like Nick Laloosh (Tim Robbins in Bull Durham for those who haven’t seen the greatest baseball movie of all time), with her million dollar arm, but hopefully only her Daddy has the 10 cent head.
So I’m not going to be that parent — no way, no how — but Daddy’s Little Superstar is already making it tough on me.