After we’re done inflating your ego, can I play a computer game?

Fathers are inherently selfish. We want our kids to like the stuff we like.

Mothers also have inherent traits, but I won’t go into that because those fall outside of my personal experience. Also, I don’t want to sleep on the couch tonight.

To a father, delight is seeing your child excited about one of your interests. With my oldest, this has been a win some, lose some proposition. He’s always been interested in geography and history, but not so much in reading or sports.

For a boy anticipating the 1st grade, he has good reading skills. Still, he hasn’t ever shown much joy at the prospect of reading. He’s clung to the standard “Reading is boring.” ideology common among boys.

So he wouldn’t lose ground over summer vacation, my wife took him to the library and signed him up for the summer reading program. He showed me the books he checked out. They share a single theme. We began with Weapons of the Civil War. He will likely be the only 1st grader in his school with the word Howitzer in his lexicon.

The unspecified prizes from the library program are of limited motivational value. What does motivate him is that we allow him time playing computer games after he reads. This is a win-win, since some of his games teach him things, like reading graphs, and all of them keep him quiet for an hour.

He’s begun asking to read. He’s politically astute enough to claim he wants to read so he can improve his skills, but we all know it’s so he can earn computer time. Either way, I’ll take it.

Like with reading, the boy never showed much interest in football or basketball. I don’t know why, but this summer he has been asking to play basketball with me. I’ve been meaning to fix our driveway backboard since we bought the house in 2005. Meanwhile, we play on a plastic kids’ hoop. Under the plastic hoop rules, the boy needs only dribble the ball when convenient and Daddy must stand clear whenever the boy announces his intention to shoot.


lay up

“Get your defense out of the way, I’m about to shoot.”

I was pleasantly surprised last week when he asked if we could watch a basketball game on TV together. There aren’t many basketball games on TV in summer, so we settled for the replay of a college football game from 1981. When Mommy called to see what we were up to, he told her, “We’re just watching a football game from when Daddy was 14.” We bet on who would win the game. I had the advantage, having been alive at the first playing. I got to spend time sharing one of my interests with my son, so I guess I won.

There’s no guarantee that my son’s new-found interests will last. I’m making the most of them while they’re fresh. We’ve got a library down the street, and that basketball hoop I’ve meant to fix for the past nine years – I ordered a replacement backboard today.

face rebound

In basketball vernacular, this is known as a face rebound.


12 comments on “After we’re done inflating your ego, can I play a computer game?

  1. If I had a dollar for every dollar I spent on sports equipment for my kids I’d have a lot more money to spend on Viking helmets. It looks like your boy has a future as a soccer player with that face rebound.

  2. Traci says:

    If you let the oldest help you with the backboard, it could be another golden father/son memory. Or a chance for some medication.

  3. pieterk515 says:

    I’m into Superheroes. Have been since I had memory. So when Son got his first PS3 console many moons ago, I gave him two choices for a first game. Marvel or DC. He chose Marvel, which proves the kid’s a genius. He also wore all the Superhero kids T-shirts that was too tight for me…Until they started making them in adult sizes. So I guess in that sense he enjoyed the things I did.

    Now, he’s fourteen and suddenly he has a fashion sense!

    He’s into Sports, i.e playing it, compared to his Dad who prefers watching it.
    Again, we sorta on the same page. Wouldn’t you agree?

    • I’m not quite sure why there need to be opposing factions in the comic book world. Can’t all the fictional people and people-like individuals just get along? Just an outsider’s viewpoint.

      Maybe one day you can watch your son play sports professionally. Then, you’d both get to have fun doing what you like to do. A win-win, plus a healthy athlete’s paycheck.

      • pieterk515 says:

        Well, that’s why I don’t allow him into the house until he’s done with his 2 hours of daily cross-fit training. I need to invest in my, I mean, his future.

  4. authormbeyer says:

    Neither of my sons love baseball the way I do. I can’t talk about or watch it with them, let alone play it. We sometimes go to Texas Rangers games and my sons watch the peanut and beer vendors, and, of course, the pretty girls, way more than they watch the game, while I am busy fuming about the team I’m rooting for always losing whenever I’m in the stands. I can’t even share the pain.

    • I must confess that I might get distracted by beer and pretty girls at a baseball game too. But I would never allow peanuts, or vendors thereof, to pull my attention away from the action on the field.

  5. Anthony says:

    Your post has so many relatable things. I wonder if we try so hard because they don’t like it, or they don’t like something because we try to hard.

  6. floatinggold says:

    The face rebound photo is precious.

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