From Childhood to Fanhood: Brainwashing in the Early Years

t williAnalyst IFebruary 15, 2008

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The first thoughts on your mind as the expecting father, should be a flurry of questions concerning your first child.

You hope that your child makes the right decisions in life. The child grows up to be a productive member of society, and is never influenced by evil.

More specifically, as a sport-extraordinaire, you’re terrified that your child will grow up to be a fan of the team you despise more than anything.

What can a father do?

Thankfully, there are steps to take to ensure your child will indeed grow up to make the right decisions in life—whether it be as a Pacers fan, a Penguins fan, or a Panthers fan.

For the baby shower, do away with traditional pink and blue clothes. Tell friends and family your baby is simply a Laker’s fan (or insert favorite team here), and therefore all baby clothes must be purple and/or yellow.

Plan the expectancy date around the team’s schedule. Avoid the entire season, if applicable, and most importantly, the few weeks of playoff games. If all else fails in planning, have a TV in the hospital—A-Rod’s home runs can serve as an excellent distraction for the female while delivering the baby.

Get one of those annoying bottle openers that sing your team’s fight song and replace it with the music maker on the nursery crib mobile. The baby can learn to sing the “Indiana Fight Song” in its first months, as well as fine tune those early musical recognition skills.

Concentrate on the team’s mascot as much as possible; some teams have more kid-friendly mascots than others. Buy a stuffed lion, bear, or eagle for your baby to have as their first stuffed animal. You might have to get creative for the Chargers or Stanford, and sew your own lightning bolt or tree.

Toys are easy to take care of for your child. Buy generic sports equipment and toys (suitable for a toddler or baby) and place in every room in the house. To personalize the play toys with your favorite team, buy pennants, and stickers that can be firmly tacked on to the wall, within eye level of your child.

The first words spoken from a child are of the greatest importance when evaluating their character and potential later on in life. A little known fact: Larry Bird’s first words were “most valuable player.”

Write a list of short, easy words that are related to your team, and use them quite frequently in speech around your toddler. For example, refer to your significant other as “coach,” and instead of using “good” and “bad,” substitute “goal!” and “foul!”

Associate the great childhood idols with your team: Santa, the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, and the Tooth Fairy. Have the Tooth Fairy give game tickets instead of cash, and the Easter Bunny can deliver orange and blue Easter candy to the Florida fan household.

The first day of kindergarten is an important day for every child, and photos to mark the occasion are a necessity. Naturally, your child should be dressed from head to toe in the latest fan wear—you wouldn’t want the teacher to jump to any conclusions if your child rolled out on the first day of school in a throwback Marino jersey.

Sports can instill in a child a love, a passion, a sense of unwavering commitment in a way nothing else can. While some parents may mistake these bits of advice for brainwashing or pure insanity, they will have a hard time explaining why their child is the antisocial mathematician of the classroom, while parents who follow this advice will have their child be the sports star in the playground spotlight.