It’s morning in our house, before breakfast, and my three boys alternate a lazy stagger down the stairs and into the kitchen or family room. Some days He with the Iron Man Pajamas wins out and the familiar tunes of Tasha, Tyrone, and company sing out from the television. Other days, He with the Bare Chest and Tony Hawk Pajamas or He with the NFL Team Pajamas makes it to the couch first and takes control of the remote. And this is where things have recently changed.
Where Scooby Doo and Phineas and Ferb once reigned supreme, the tube is now often filled with Plays of the Week and other highlights from ESPN’s SportsCenter. Which I will admit makes me smile. As a dad and sports lover, it’s fun to see my boys come down and on their own want to watch the sports highlights or study the baseball standings in the newspaper. It reminds me of my own days (although a bit older, I’m afraid) watching Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann rattle off their one-liners as fast as the balls were being thrown. These days, the boys often know more than I do about what’s happening in the NBA Playoffs or who is leading the American League in home runs.
The other day at breakfast, my son grilled me about if Arian Foster, All-Pro running back on the Houston Texans, was to play hockey, whether he’d be an All-Pro on ice as well. A challenging question to provide a satisfying answer to an eight-year-old. “Well of course he could skate Dad, he’s Arian Foster!” he exclaimed.
As much as I enjoy them watching and learning about the wide world of sports, some mornings have dicey moments when certain commercials or segments come on. Do I really want them hearing the latest accusations of a coach doing something terrible to a kid? Or the other day in the car, my son started talking about the commercial he saw for what he called the Texas Chainsaw movie. The what? “It was freaky!” he says. Ya think? I’m afraid to ask how many times Hangover 3 has been advertised, or Viagra, or Victoria’s Secret, or – the list could go on. We’ve had TIVO for a very long time which has done a great job shielding them from most objectionable content. In fact, they just realized in the last year or so that there was a difference between recorded and live TV and I think I’ve been spoiled by not having to watchdog things as closely.
In the end, I’m not sure which is winning out. I pray that it’s the sports, and by all indication it is. I hear the boys in more discussions about how many strikeouts Justin Verlander has than walking the halls at midnight with nightmares about chainsaws. I hope that we’re instilling some ability in them to make good decisions so that they might actually be pausing the commercials if they know it’s not something good for them even if I’m not in the room. (But Dad, they argued when I suggested such a plan, what if we pause it right on the scary part…)
I guess we could just let the little man win out and mandate that they all watch the four-year-old’s Backyardigans every morning, but I have a feeling that “Boinga” will only get them so far in their 2nd and 3rd grade sports discussions at recess. In fact, it might get them smacked. But at least not with a chainsaw.