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Daddy Destinations

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  • This site has no agenda, and its author has no chip on his shoulder. He promises not to whine about "fatherhood equality," and he'll do his best not to sound superior. He is, afterall, just a dad. Instead, he promises to tell good stories about his three kids. That's about it.


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My son had (or quite possibly still has) the makings of a great athlete. He was born big and strong. The kid had muscles at 3 years old. He was always the tallest kid in school, sports nearly everything. His body is built like a machine and his stamina and athletic ability for the most part is impeccable. He was the kid that coaches sought after. I even once witnessed a very heated argument between 2 coaches over who’s team he should be on. I would be lying if I said all this attention wasn’t flattering. However because of it, the bar was set very high for him.

It hasn’t been until recently that I realized height, ability and strength frails far below willingness and confidence. After that one coach fought tooth and nail to get my son on his time he would later find out that he did not live up to his potential from tryouts. Disappointed and frustrated he just simply gave up on him, causing my son to give up on himself. All too often I have witnessed my son experience his highs and lows. 5 home runs one season to almost not hitting at all the next. Starting every game and leading in PPG for basketball one season to being dwindled down to practice player and benched the next.

All those years of playing league ball, AAU, travel teams - sacrificing money, time and overall well being, did not lead to what we thought would have been the ultimate payoff. Although he is only in his first year of high school, because he didn’t start out as the “Super Star” everyone thought he was going to be; this has lead me to finally realize that my son is not a machine, but just a boy. Trying to find out who he is and what he wants, not what others want him to be. I realize that I have to learn how back off and let him come into his own, how to NOT make it seem like it is the end of the world because the promise of potential is starting to shift. How to not “Over think things”. Maybe he will live up to his potential or maybe he will do just fine not being that athlete.

I don’t have any answers for you, because I feel I am still learning myself, but what I have learned so far is that the expectations we put on him just might be what is causing his inability to fully succeed. I agree with the Author’s point on to not think too much, and just let them do it. I know that if he wants it for himself he will get it. If he doesn’t I have to know that he is still a great kid regardless.


This is something I know my fiance will struggle with too. He pushes himself very hard...and he pushes me very hard when he feels I am not living up to my potential. It kind of worries me that he'll push our child a bit too far. Of course he means well, he just wants everyone to do their best, but not everyone responds to that sort of pressure in the same way he does.

That said, I was involved in sports my entire life, and I feel my dad did a great job of encouraging me, but not pushing me or pressuring me. He was always my softball coach and expected a lot out of me, but I always like trying to live up to those expectations. He had that balance down.


Thanks for these two honest and thoughtful responses. Like most everything else with parenting, I think this is something that has to be learned as you go. The worst case scenario for me would be if my daughter wanted to stop playing a sport because I kept it from being fun for her. Thankfully, though, Alison has begun to recognize the difference between her best effort and something that falls short of that. She prefers being on the court to sitting on the bench, and she understands why her coaches play some girls more than others. What I really hope then, is that this new awareness causes her to push herself, which would be much more powerful than anything I might do.

Mary Lee

I've read Oilestad's book... what a childhood HE had! YIKES!

We did not push our kids in sports, but we supported them.

If practice is what can turn "good" into "great" the desire to do so should come from within the child. The ones who have that inner desire. . . wow! It's sort of like writing. Some people want to write; others want to have written.

The effort comes from within.

(Love your bog title, by the way. :) )

Michael Duenes

Great thoughts, my friend. I'll have to check out the whole interview. I think about this some now, even though my boys are still toddlers. I know I will face it, but fortunately I've been around sports enough and have seen what some fathers do, and I do not want to emulate them. I honestly feel that if neither of my boys likes sports, that would be OK with me. But that's now. The test will be when they are old enough to actually play sports. We'll see if I'm true to my words.

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