Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Bragging on the progeny is one of the joys of daddom. The skill to be mastered by the father who wants to come off looking best is to highlight the excellence of the child, while also getting in a couple plugs for the part parental wisdom played in making it happen. It's not an easy line to walk.

Recent examples include an essay about the joy of being a cheerleader's pop after having the older siblings excel in "real" sports. Father Kuyper lists how much pride he has in his daughter's skills and work ethic and fantasizes how he'll talk up daughter Kamryn's performance to the star quarterback's dad, but never quite stops suggesting how much happier he would be if he had the quarterback and could humor the cheerleader's dad.

Finding a little better balance is baseball scout Chuck Fick, who talked the St. Louis Cardinals into drafting a certain Chuckie Fick: "I signed [my son]," Chuck Fick said. "I was the cross-checker, and I was also the area scout. There's no nepotism involved if you have talent, and he's got talent." Enough talent, anyway for the 15th (out of 50) rounds.

And somehow managing to make both his daughters and himself even more larger than life through a bit of jawing is Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena. [Earlier: Seek and Hide] Among his lessons from the Q&A with Macleans Magazine are the gems:

"... I’d take them to the police department where they could see people in jail. I wanted them to see people on drugs. I wanted them to see how athletes make some of the worst decisions and lose their money at an early age. If you can see it from the beginning then you can learn."

"... If your child is going to be super good and the child has confidence, your child can be great. But when you push the child too much, you don’t give the child confidence. ...I’ve seen kids get pushed and damaged. You see kids that are told they’re nothing. That’s past the extreme."

"... I wanted to be a dad. Lots of times during interviews Venus and Serena would say, “Well, my dad, he’s my coach.” And I’d say “Don’t ever say I’m a coach, I’m a dad.” I wanted to be a dad more than anything else ...."
Don't we all.

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