The following is a guest post for Dads Need To Know – a new series that I will bring you as often as possible!
When I was a four year old kid, my Daddy would spend an entire football game trying to explain the merits of a three four defense and why it was important to blitz on third and short. If those two talking points are foreign to you, imagine how I felt at four years old. That said, I learned a ton about the game and it stuck. Because of those conversations, I would consider myself a bit of an expert where football is concerned. I must admit I was extremely excited about teaching my own kids about football as well
Then my wife and I went out and had two little twin girls.
Visions of tea parties and Barbie fashion shows flashed before my eyes instead of discussions about football. I saw myself sitting on the bed and trying on bonnets and hair bows for the entertainment of my little girls instead of watching hard hitting NFL football.
Then it occurred to me…there are a ton of football divas out there.
Erin Edwards, Kristen Ledlow and Carolyn Manno come to mind right off the top of my mind. In fact, my wife is a huge football fan even though she is a St. Louis Rams fan. (Not everyone can be cheering for the right team) Bottom line, there are women out there that love and understand football.
Why not my girls?
From that point on, I set a course for them to love the game. Along the way, I picked up some awesome pointers to share with those of you out there that face a similar set of circumstances.
Here is how I taught my girls about football:
I let them fall in love
People that are allowed to naturally like something are much more likely to want to learn about it. Most men force football on the women in their lives and that only creates resentment. Allow them to see why you love it and let them learn to love it too.
Okay, so that is easier said than done. My wife started loving the St. Louis Rams because they had “cool” uniforms and they were from her home town. Fashion aside, the hometown team angle is a solid one to build a loyal fan.
Take them to a game and let them see why it is so awesome. Explain the rivalries and why teams don’t like one another. If you can build the urge to cheer, then you are off and running.
Stick to the basics at first
If you jump right into the complicated rules and aspects of the game, you will bore her to tears. My little girls wanted to know two things when they first watched football with Daddy…
They wanted to know why the men were hitting one another and why they were chasing that little ball around.
Leave it to little girls to ask the questions that really need answering, right?
I simply told them that the men were all trying to carry the ball into their own end of the field. When they did, they got points.
The girls were perfectly happy with that for a time. Eventually, they started to ask for details and I had to get more specific. Why do players sometimes kick the ball? Why do the men only get a couple of tries sometimes and then lots of tries other times? Why do you get less points for kicking the ball?
The questions kept on coming. Clearly it was time for some hands on training…
Time to train
It is one thing to explain football rules to your girls and quite another to show them. Take your girls out to the football field and show them. Not only will they gain a new perspective and respect for what these guys do, they will also have a heck of a great time.
It is much easier to explain first down, second down and so on when you are standing on a football field. Let them experience it up close and personal.
Another great way to do this is to take them to a high school football practice where you can talk and hear one another. You can explain the ins and outs of the game from the stands without anyone there drowning out your conversation. If they get distracted, allow them to do so. It can be a winding road but if they make it there in the end, that is all that matters.
Get them Madden 25 for the Playstation 3
The video games today are so awesome and fun that you can’t find a better way of helping them learn. You have no choice but to figure out the rules of the game when you play Madden 25. Sit down and take advantage of the awesome technological advances of the day.
The final tip I would give to you guys out there that want a woman or girl in your life to love football is to be patient. If you invest in the time to patiently teach, they will usually at least learn to accept it at a minimum. Most gals will eventually grow to love the game just like us.
Don’t ever force feed the game to anyone, however.
They will end up a Steelers fan. (Love ya Mindi!)
Living in Greensboro, NC, Rodney Southern has been living the writing dream for over a decade. He is a father to two ten year old twins and a husband to his beautiful wife Julie. His work has appeared in The Sporting News, Nicean Magazine and countless other online venues. He also won a National Call for Content award in 2008. After spending time in the Army serving his country as a medic, he focused his attention on the challenges of parenthood and the difficulties and blessings that can come with it.