My daughters know that when the Washington Redskins are playing, all bets are off. Find a snack in the pantry. Ask Daddy to pour you a drink. Wait until the commercials are on before you ask me a question. They haven't quite grown to appreciate the final minutes of a close game the way that I have, but I'm bound and determined that they'll grow up knowing all the words to "Hail to the Redskins" as well as the words to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
One way to nurture a love of a sport (any sport) is to experience the game first hand. If watching the game on the screen isn't enough to get my children motivated, I'm willing to try the backyard football game. Luckily, my brother-in-law does some rec league coaching. One Sunday, instead of turning on the game after a Sunday meal, we decided to take the kids out into the backyard and show them a thing or two about football.
Uncle Andrew taught the girls the basics. They learned how to hold a football and to protect it from the defense. They learned how to throw the ball and practiced kicking off. There were skills and there were drills. There were water breaks (many) and there was hair styling (the last thing you want when you're punting is your hair in your eyes). The girls had a blast.
Is a professional football career in their future? Probably not. They've tried soccer, basketball, and field hockey so far and they haven't found their organized team sport yet. Maybe they won't find one at all, and that's totally alright with me. I wasn't much of an athlete myself. You don't have to be a player to love a game.
But I do hope that they appreciate the sport that means so much to me. I grew up singing when the 'Skins scored a touchdown and yelling at the refs when there was a bad call. I grew up with Superbowls and the Posse. They were the good old days. We might not be winning much lately, but we can still share those memories. I want those memories with my daughters. Teaching them the basics, first hand, is just one part of those memories.
They're growing up, and I hope they'll love watching football on Sundays as much as I do. They might not be Redskins fans, and as long as they aren't rooting for the Cowboys, it's okay with me.
Is there a sport or a team that you hope your children love watching or playing? Why does it mean so much to you?
Kelly Herdrich is a Yahoo! Shine Parenting Guru. When the Redskins aren't playing, she's knitting, writing, and blogging. Her daughters still aren't convinced that football is fun to watch. She's working on it.