Monday, January 27, 2014

Dads Checking Emails Miss all the Fun

During halftime at my son's flag football game, I wandered into the arcade with my daughter and noticed something odd along the way. A group of four- or five-year old boys was doing football practice drills with two coaches while their dads stood on the sideline checking their email, occasionally looking up to watch their kids. Not that it isn't possible the next Peyton Manning or even Wayne Chrebet could come from Hunterdon County, NJ, but I wouldn't cancel the college savings plan. And not that these kids weren't having fun learning how to move to the left and to the right (I didn't actually see any footballs being thrown) but I suspect that at such a young age, these kids would have at least as much fun playing football in the yard with their dads or throwing a Nerf inside the family room pretending to be Aaron Rodgers.

Go out and play. Photo courtesy
But what baffled me the most was why these dads would let these other coaches enjoy the fun of playing a little football with their kids. If you can spare the hour to stand around watching and the hour to drive there and back then why not just go outside and play together? There certainly may come a time when these kids will want or need to play football with a professional coach but at age four or five there's little that cannot be taught by any typical parent. Kids already know how to run back and forth and they already know how to have fun. With a little less formal instruction and a little more parent participation these very young kids might get even more out of the experience.

And if one of them does become the next Peyton Manning, he or she will remember playing backyard football with dad or mom as the earliest football memory when asked on Sportscenter - and will give thanks accordingly.

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