This is the seventh installment of my 10 QUICK RULES FOR RAISING DAUGHTERS WHO WANT YOU IN THEIR LIVES AS KIDS, TEENAGERS and ADULTS. I began with Rule #1: Never criticize “the boyfriend.” Next came Rule #2: Never diminish a broken heart. Then Rule #3: Do not show up at Parents’ Night in slippers. And Rule #4: Get your daughter familiar with the three important words – Honest, Honesty and Honestly. And #4.5: Don’t trust Daddys to be objective when it comes to their daughters! And then #5: Daughters and their dogs – not just puppy love. And #6: Teach your daughter proper manners.
And now we are at…
Lesson #7: TEACH YOUR DAUGHTERS THAT SPORTS ARE A GOOD THING
Last Thursday evening, my husband and I went to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston.
It was a perfect night for a ballgame. Warm, beautiful wind. Pink and purple ribbons of clouds blending into darkness.
Beer. Peanuts. And Cracker Jacks.
What I should tell you here is that Fenway Park is wonderful. It is “real.” It tastes and smells of baseball’s history.
And the seats are crowded together like you’d expect at a ball field built in 1912.
So it is no surprise that I heard snippets of conversation all around us. But one couple near us was particularly easy to hear.
I could tell that this couple was a “new” couple. She leaned in. She laughed. She touched his arm. He smiled. He ate popcorn from her popcorn bag. He leaned in.
Then she said it. Not, “I love you” for the first time. Not, “I’m going to throw up after all this popcorn, peanuts and beer.”
But something almost incomprehensible.
With the bases loaded, and a three and two count on the batter, she said, “If the pitcher walks the batter, where do the other guys on base go?”
Stunned silence. It was enough to put a complete and sudden stop to “the wave.”
Finally, he answered, “Well, the guy on third comes home and scores a run and the other guys advance.”
Ahh… girls who know virtually nothing about sports. Not a good thing.
Which brings me to Lesson #7 – Teach Your Daughters That Sports Are a Good Thing.
Not knowing about sports can be a deal-breaker – in school, at work, in relationships, in life.
Audrey and Jane grew up with two older brothers. I grew up sandwiched between two brothers.
From day one, I felt that it was important that my daughters feel comfortable in a “man’s world.”
That may date me, but I didn’t want my daughters to feel uncomfortable and out-of-place at an event where sports activities were being discussed or taking place.
Whether they were at an elementary school function, a high school picnic, a workplace activity, or with their new boyfriend’s family, I wanted them to hold their own if somebody pulled out a baseball bat, a volleyball, a tennis racket, a boat, water skis, snow skis, croquet, badminton or a basketball, etc. etc etc.
Even the most academically inclined girls need a sport. An activity. An art. A passion.
Anything from ballet to extreme skateboarding.
And at the very least, a basic knowledge of common sports (aka when the bases are loaded and a guy walks, the guy on third base scores a run!).
There is always an element of delightful surprise when a girly girl can crack a home run in a whiffle ball game.
Or strap on a pair of skis and traverse the moguls.
Or spike a volleyball on an unsuspecting burley brother of the boyfriend.
Sports and activities give girls a quiet confidence.
A girly girl must be able to hold her own with boys. And I must give myself a little pat on the back for raising a girly girl like Audrey who can raise three boys who will have to keep up with their Mommy!
So, moms and dads, teach your daughters the importance of sports and physical activity.
You do not want them to silence an entire baseball stadium someday with their deal-breaking question. Although I really hope the guy still loves her, and gives her a chance to learn!