Your questions, my answers. This F.A.Q. features another question about sports, but one of parenting a college-bound teen:
ANSWER: First off, why is this issue so important to you? There are countless men who love women who don’t love sports. However, there are many options available to you; I’ll go into two.
Firstly, I’m sure there is something she’s into that you’re not. I’m just going to pull a random – non cliché – example here. Let’s just say that you, like a friend I have, don’t like going to the movies. It’s just not your thing. Now, let’s say that your wife loves going to the movies as much as, say, you love sports. Make her an offer. “Hun,” you’ll say, “I’ll go see that new movie you’ve been talking about on Saturday if you’ll watch this football game with me on Sunday.” What’s wrong with that? You’ll both be getting something you want (She’ll get her man next to her at the movies, and you’ll have your woman next to you during the big game). Who knows, over time (if you keep working the I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine thing), you each may learn to appreciate one another’s interest.
Now, there is a second option. I think this has a little bit less of a chance of immediate success, but it may work in the long run. You could sit her down and explain to her why sports are important to you. Often, people – both men and women – dismiss sports as just a recreation activity and often do not understand how much it means to some of us. Is that the case with your wife? Why are sports such a big deal to you? Are you a former player? Are you a coach? Are the only happy memories of your childhood the result of a ballpark? Perhaps if she knew why sports are so important to you, she’d be more willing to give them a try.
I’ll offer you also this third option: Just let her keep her distance. If it’s obvious that she’s simply not interested in sports, perhaps you can make that something you do alone or with a few buddies. Everyone needs their alone time. I’m lucky in that my wife (as of 10/3/2009) loves sports … but not all of them. Already, several times on a Saturday I’ve gotten up at 7 a.m. (and I don’t usually get off work until 1 a.m.) to watch a “certain” sport. Well, she’s simply just not interested. She’s told me, she’ll not get up at 7 o’clock on a Saturday to watch a BPL football match, and I’ve accepted that. It’s just something I’m into that she’s not. Will it create a rift in our relationship? Unlikely. It just “is what it is.” Perhaps that’s what sports are just meant to be in your relationship.
On a side note, we watched the Oregon-Cal game Saturday, and she was more into the game than I was. She is a Duck, by the way.
QUESTION: My son’s in his senior year of high school, with college right around the corner. He’s got his sights set on a big school where’s he’s already been accepted, and I’m worried that there may be too many distractions for him. What are your thoughts on his mother and I pushing a year or two at a community college or smaller school first before running off to his school of choice?
ANSWER: I’ve got to be honest with you, in two instances. Firstly, I’m not a parent (yet), so I’m more going to have an answer for you from your son’s perspective than from that of a father. That being said, my second bit of honesty for you, I’m against the idea of having your son change his college plans. It’s not even October yet, and you still have plenty of chances to A: teach your son some valuable lessons, and B: learn a little about your son’s ability to manage on his own.
Obviously, you’re going to have the last call on the matter if you’re paying for the school. If your son’s getting the student loans or somehow paying for college himself, then you have a little less footing to stand on.
Why don’t you try giving your son all the freedom he can handle during his final year under your roof. Take away the curfew; take away the mandatory study hours. Try that, and just to see what happens. It’s not to make his life easier in his final year, it’s more to see how he reacts when he’s in total control of his situation. No bedtime? Perhaps he’ll still go to bed early enough to get to school the next morning. No study hours? Perhaps he’ll still do his homework.
If he completely gets sidetracked, then at least you’re still in position to crack down and force him back on track. He he bottoms out, then perhaps you will BE SURE your only recourse is to insist he spend a year at a CC closer to home.
But if he still manages to pull the kind of grades you’ve come to expect from him, if he still manages to conduct himself socially the way you’ve raised him, then at least your worries will have been lessened for when he goes off to college.
But the bottom line is this: At some point, it will be up to your son to either sink or swim on his own. Have you done enough over the last 17 or so years to make sure he’s able to make it on his own?
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