A Lesson to My 10-Year-Old, Via Crash Davis

I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak. … You know why? Because they don’t–they don’t happen very often. … If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you are! And you should know that!

–Crash Davis, Bull Durham

Nobody said parenting was a picnic, but I wasn’t prepared for this.

Sunday afternoon: Game 6 of the Flyers-Penguins series is underway, and I’m strolling through a supermarket, not parked in front of a flat-screen, and that was just fine. I hadn’t watched as much as a face-off through the first three games, all wins for the Orange and Black. I’d tuned in to Games 4 and 5–losses. Clearly my viewership was the deciding factor.

Special Sauce is with me, though, and we keep up with Game 6 thanks to my iPhone. It isn’t long before she asks, “Dad, can we watch when we get home?”

Gut-check time.

“No, sweetie, we can’t.”

“BUT WHY NOT?”

“Well, because they’ve lost every game that I’ve watched. If I don’t watch, they’ll have a better chance to win.”

“Daaaaaaaaad.”

“Special Sauce.”

“Do you really think that it makes a difference if you watch?”

Pause.

Long pause.

Longer pause.

“Well … No.”

“Then let’s watch!”

Shit.

“Love, it’s time to talk about streaks.”

“What do you mean?”

“You. Don’t. Mess. With. A streak.”

ImageI think about laying the whole Bull Durham routine on her, but discretion wisely steps in and clamps my mouth shut. There is no good reason at all for her to hear about the benefits of getting laid. I fight the good fight, wheeling the cart through the aisles and stalling as long as I can. But she is having none of it.

To my great relief, by the time we get home and unload the groceries, there is only about 12 minutes left in the third, and the Flyers are hoarding a three-goal lead. I figure it’s safe to tune in, and I’m right. Flyers 4, Penguins 1, and the series is over with the good guys moving on and the bad guys scheduling tee times.

But, goddamn, it’s close.

No, no one said fatherhood would be easy. I just never thought it would be this hard. | DL

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