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Dad, You’ve Been Demoted To Second String


If you ask anyone that knows me, they will tell you that I am a huge sports fanatic.

While I still get out and play football or basketball with my friends from time to time, my playing days have essentially passed me by. However, one of my favorite things to do with my two boys is to get outside and play sports with them.

Toss the football around. Shoot baskets. Ride skateboards.

The actual activity isn’t all that important as I just love being outside with my kids sharing my passion of sports with them. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I was when my kids got to the age where they could actually make a basket without being lifted to the rim or they could throw the ball back to me without rolling it three-quarters of the way.

This weekend my kids asked if I would play football with them. At the time I was wrapping up a post on my personal blog and told them I would be right there.

A few minutes later we were out in the front yard and I was directing the kids around in various pass patterns and hitting them with precision passes. It was a thing of beauty - NFL scouts would have been lining up to sign a long-term deal and the kids were playing pretty well too. :)

Then it happened.

One of the kids from down the street came outside and as soon as my kids spotted him, they asked if they could go down and play with him instead of sticking around to play football with me. It was official - I had been demoted to second string.

Time with dad took a back seat to playing with a friend.

I cannot say that I wasn’t expecting that this day would arrive but that didn’t make it any easier. As I tried to digest what my kids had just asked, they asked me again as I had yet to actually respond.

After telling them that they could go down and play, I tried to convince my wife to throw the ball around with me but she wasn’t having any part of that.

Then it happened again.

As I sat there on a crisp Saturday afternoon trying to drown my sorrows in a cold beer, my kids came racing down the street and asked me if I would come down and play football with them. They wanted me to be the “all-time quarterback” in a game of two-on-two football. Heck yeah, I want to play. I yelled to my wife that I was heading down the street to play football with the kids. My neighbor came out as well and each of us acted as the quarterback for one team.

We played until the sun had set and everyone had a good time.

Even though I experienced the disappointment of being demoted to second string, I am still lucky enough to have the opportunity to share one of my passions with my children. It may not be as often as I would like and I have come to realize that there will be times when playing with friends will take precedence over playing with me, but I still feel like a first string dad!

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    On November 5th, 2007 at 3:08 pm, Wendy Piersall said:

    I love this post! My oldest daughter turned 13 yesterday - I’m already at third or fourth string… and if teenagedom is as predictable as they say it is, I’ll be at 20th string in no time. ;)

    On November 5th, 2007 at 4:43 pm, Derek Semmler said:

    Wendy, happy belated birthday to your daughter!

    As you mentioned, I am only going to drop lower on the list of priorities and that makes me appreciate these moments even more. Thanks for sharing.

    On November 5th, 2007 at 8:19 pm, Kelvin Kao said:

    Veteran players are still great substitutes from time to time. Adjust to your role, it’s good for the team’s bench depth. =)

    On November 5th, 2007 at 8:40 pm, Derek Semmler said:

    Kelvin, that is a great way to look at it! Thanks for the perspective. :)

    On November 5th, 2007 at 11:34 pm, JLow said:

    Another great post!

    How did you cultivate the liking-sports spirit in your kids? Or were they already naturally liking sports?

    I read somewhere that when toddlers are able to walk, letting (insisting?) them climb stairs themselves (assisted of course), as opposed to carrying them, likely cultivates a more active lifestyle in them later on. I have done that with my 3 yr old, to date I can’t recall her ever turning down any (safe) physical challenges I have thrown at her..

    On November 6th, 2007 at 5:37 am, Parenting advice said:

    What a great post!

    I remember when my kids “upgraded” to play with their friends instead of me. To be honest I was never good at sport - so it was nice to be able to take a back seat.

    Great blog! My first time here, but will not be my last.

    On November 6th, 2007 at 6:10 am, Derek Semmler said:

    @John :: Thanks! Our kids don’t like to sit and watch sports on television but they certainly love to play them. I’m sure part of their interest is a result of seeing me watch and play sports.

    Based on what you said about toddlers and the stairs, that could also play into it as we gave them the freedom to master the stairs on their own (with one of us right behind them).

    @PA :: Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by! Hopefully they will continue to entertain me and let me play for awhile longer. =)

    On November 6th, 2007 at 12:27 pm, Derrich said:

    I’ve been demoted to second string a few times in my 4-year tenure as a dad. I sympathize with you, Derek, and agree with your estimation of the “quality” time spent with your kids.

    On November 8th, 2007 at 8:36 am, Lisa Marie Mary said:

    Great post, Derek!! I love it! And yes, demotions have been had here, plenty! My monsters are 10 (11 on the 15th) and 13 and 14. They do sting, don’t they? But then when they ask for you - ahhh…so sweet!

    I really, really need to get off this computer so much and spend more time with my kids! Thanks for helping to open my eyes to that, Derek!

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