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Use kids' games as opportunity to learn more about sports

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Use kids' games as opportunity to learn more about sports

Bleacherville: Any advice for a girly girl who, 36 years into swearing off sports forever, finds herself the mom of two boys who can't get enough of them? My guys are enrolled in at least one competitive sport per season, and sometimes I think I'll scream if I have to spend another minute watching rugrats run around a miniature football field.

Carolyn: Kids just have no respect for their parents' comfort zones, do they?

First of all, sports at the little-kid level can be boring to sports fans, too. With no crazy athleticism to ooh and ahh, and no rivalries or prizes on the line, a mob of 5-year-olds chasing a ball is thrilling mostly in a "Go Pookie!" kind of way. Think about it — who's there to watch anyone but their own kid(s)?

If watching your kids work hard and acquire skills doesn't excite you, then start digging into the mechanics of the game. Football — since you mention it specifically — has a whole geek side to it. It's violent chess.

And for the other seasons: Swimming is a physics lesson with a shot of adrenaline. Baseball and tennis, among others, are total head games, about putting the ball where someone can't or won't think to hit it. Put anything on skates, from dance to hockey, and it becomes "How do they do that?" Soccer and basketball are about finding an opening that won't be there a tenth of a second from now.

There's a whole lot for the otherwise unimpressed spectator to hold onto, if you look for it. Not only will it give your mind something to do during the games, it'll give you a vocabulary for talking to your boys.

It's kinder and easier on you both if you're honest about date

First-date etiquette: I feel like I should know the answer to this question, but I don't. Last night I went out with a guy, just for drinks. I don't want to see him again. I'm worried that I gave him the impression that I enjoyed myself, but I was trying to be polite. I'm a drinker, and he drank me under the table (NINE drinks, NINE), there was talk of recreational use/abuse of prescription drugs and oversharing about his sex life.

Sorry, that's just not my bag.

Assuming he wants to see me again, what's the appropriate response if he gets in touch? Is there any possible way I can avoid the awkwardness of affirmatively shutting him down? Am I obligated to respond if he contacts me? I mean, it was just drinks.

Carolyn: Please, please, please don't avoid the awkwardness of "affirmatively shutting him down." You say, simply, "I'm sorry, I am not interested."

This is a gift to yourself. Giving people the correct, if uncomfortable, impression now can save you prolonged discomfort down the road. Now you don't need much explanation; keep bobbing and weaving while he keeps hitting on you, though, and you'll need to clean up your misleading mess.

You'd also be doing him a favor. He should know he bombed. In fact, ideally you'd have left when his drink count exceeded your limit. "Wow, okay then, I'm calling it a night. Thanks for (whatever he paid for), goodbye." The sooner he faces his bad impression, the sooner he cleans himself up.

Use kids' games as opportunity to learn more about sports 11/25/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 7:32pm]
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