Learning about sports from a 2½-year old

Bill Simmons (aka “Sports Guy”) is one of my favorite sportswriters (he writes for espn.com and ESPN The Magazine). I enjoy reading the Sports Guy because he weaves together his thoughts and theories as a sports fan with commentary on his favorite expressions from popular culture (for instance, Simmons often references shows like “The Hills” and “Real World,” which happen to be a few of my favorites); and he does all of this in a way that I find hilariously insightful. His wife (aka “Sports Gal”) occasionally contributes her humorous thoughts about life, culture and sports into his columns, and last year she was hired by ABC to write a weekly column in response to each episode of The Bachelor (the season with Andy the Navy doctor) and her commentary was nothing short of brilliant (at least that is the opinion shared by me, my sisters and the other participants in our “Bachelor Pool” – think NCAA tournament brackets, except instead of picking which teams will win, we picked which girls would NOT get a rose each week – by the way, I won in a landslide and I still haven’t seen the prize money, I should talk to my sister about that). Anyway, if you are not familiar with the Sports Guy, I think his latest article is a good intro to his writing personality (some might use writing “style,” but I think his writing has a complete personality). In the article – which is taken from the Dec. 3 issue of ESPN The Magazine – Simmons discusses a few joys of parenthood and tells a story about bringing his 2½-year old daughter (aka, ummm…Sports Daughter?) to her first NBA game. I’ll give a short preview from the article below, but you’ll have to skip over to espn.com to read the rest…

Now, here’s where my demented genius comes in: I think that kids can be brainwashed to believe anything is fun as long as you seem excited about it. You could say to your child right now, “You know what we’re doing later? We’re heading to the yard to watch grass grow!” And if you sell it well enough, they’ll be counting the minutes until the back door opens. Seriously. So when I asked my half-asleep daughter if she wanted to watch basketball in Daddy’s bed, I made it sound more fun than mashing bananas with The Wiggles. In retrospect, I probably didn’t need to sell it so hard. She was so happy to get called up to the majors (Mommy and Daddy’s bed) and maybe get her head rubbed, too. But that’s how she was introduced to basketball: I brainwashed her, lied to her and wore her down.

Fast-forward to the Nov. 11 Cavs-Clips game. When I asked if she wanted to go, I presented the offer as if I were suggesting we fly in a helicopter to eat M&M’s on the moon. And I sold LeBron as a combination of Santa, Elmo and our UPS guy. After a few YouTube clips, she was hooked, screaming at her mom, ” We’re gonna go see LeBron!” Her excitement only amplified over the next few days. Meanwhile, I started to worry because 150 minutes is a long time to keep a child entertained. Could she make it through the third quarter? Could she even make it to halftime?

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