Tuesday, October 30, 2007

For the Sports Fans

Dads help daughters to believe they are just as capable as boys.

Darla’s dad is an avid sports fan; she remembers sitting on his lap while watching a sporting event of one kind or another on TV. He didn’t mind her constant questions throughout the game and patiently explained to her the rules of basketball, baseball, football, and boxing. Maybe it was because of her enthusiasm for the competition, or maybe she simply enjoyed the shouting and excitement of their daddy-daughter time, but one thing was certain – Darla loved all things related to sports, especially if it meant spending time with her dad.

During the early 1970's girls didn’t have the opportunity to play sports on little league teams. However, Darla’s dad was a baseball and football coach and, not wanting to leave his daughter out of the very games she had learned while sitting in his lap, he let her practice with his teams. He didn’t show her any favoritism, though. He praised her when she played well and gave her constructive criticism when she made a mistake. He even took her of the field a time or two, just like he did to the boys on his teams.

Darla never missed a practice.

Even though she knew her dad could not let her go onto the field during an actual game, it didn’t matter much to her. She didn’t have to be on the field to fully realize the degree of self-confidence her dad had helped her to build. Besides, she knew that she was one of his best players; he had told her so and that was all the proof she needed.

It was all the proof she needed because to Darla, being able to practice with the boys’ team was more than just evidence of her dad’s willingness to break from convention. It was a simple act of love that demonstrated the depth of their friendship, and the lengths to which he would go to help her enjoy her passions.

Today Darla has five boys of her own. She plays hard and often with them; she knows just what they like to do. Her dad had taught her well.

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