Saturday, February 03, 2007

Why now after all these years?

I love this picture. It was taken during the World Cup last year. Of course these are Italians! I love Italians. They are so honest with their affection - so open and unashamed by it. This photo speaks volumes to me of my feelings for what I think a perfect world would be like. If all sports were this way, maybe I would have been more interested.

Which leads to the topic of the day: My father and I don't see eye to eye on many things. I wouldn't say that we are distant or that there is "no relationship" there, but we aren't what you would characterize as "close". I haven't really talked about him in my blog. I've tried to keep extended family out of it. But I had a conversation with him this week and it's still driving me crazy...

As my folks are getting up in years, they don't get out much anymore. They aren't as mobile as they used to be and so they live in front of the television. They don't live real close, so I see them maybe once a month at best, but we call and touch base with each other about once a week. Does that count as a close relationship?

It was on this week's call that my father threw a curve ball at me after all these years. We chit-chatted about the kids and the goings-on for the week and then there was a lull in the conversation. My dad then asked: "So, I know you don't like sports, you never have (accusingly), but don't you even like to follow them by watching on TV?"

I didn't know what to say. I haven't liked sports or watched sports (except BYU football) my entire life. I didn't like playing catch with my dad. I threw like a girl and he made sure that I knew it. He made me play little-league baseball, which I hated and was embarrassingly terrible at. He was extremely disappointed that I didn't play YM basketball. He took me to college basketball and football games and tried to get me interested - but it just wasn't there for me. I've always felt like I disappointed him that being the only son, I wasn't the athlete or the jock that he wanted.

But that was decades ago! We've moved on and life has rolled on. Or at least so I thought. And now, SUPER BOWL weekend, he asks me just because I don't like to PLAY sports, why don't I watch sports? And to throw salt into the reopened wound, he adds that "even your sisters talk to me about the NFL, NBA and college game of the week, and you don't!"

I didn't know what to say. I mean, why is this being brought up now? Why is this still bugging him after so many long years? I know - here I go - another gay moaning session about how crappy I was in sports, how misfit I was with my peers, how little relationship I have with my father - oh, boo hoo hoo - poor Beck is whining about his painful childhood again - he's going to stereotypically bemoan his gay-root causes.

Well, first of all - I don't give credence to those "theories", as stereotypical as they may seem. Second of all, haven't we moved past this by now? Yeah, I really don't care about the Super Bowl. And believe it or not, I don't watch TV. And even if I did, I don't have cable, satellite or any other contraption to get the hot game of the week. I'd rather spend my time bitchin' about sports-talk with my gay blog... How pathetic is that?! I mean, why is this still such a "missing link" in my father's life?

I worry about my son. He's not interested in sports. He hates watching sports. He goes to high school football games just to cause mischief in the bleachers with his friends. He's got a good arm and can throw really well (no thanks to any of my training). Have I corrupted him? I don't think so - just as my father could not pass on his love of playing sports to me, I can't pass on to my son the hate of playing sports either. He's good, but he chooses not to. He'd rather do other things that he's interested in... and that is fine with me. If he did choose sports, I would be right there behind him rooting him on as the embarrassing NO. 1 fan!

I can predict it already - There's going to be talk in Church tomorrow about getting out in freakin' time for the big game party! Give me a break! I think I'll go home teaching or schedule a meeting about the beginning of the 4th quarter. Only one problem: Can someone call me to tell me when that is since I won't be watching???

Now, if sports were like these two guys - and if I were half-way coordinated at all - maybe I would be more interested. Do you think so? I've done the water skiing, snowmobiling, cliff jumping, camping, hiking - and loved it all... but put a ball in my hands and I freak out!

Why is this stupid lack of skill so painful (especially with my father) after all these years?

Where's "Tim" around when I need a good wrestling match? Broken ribs anyone? Oh yeah, he's off to college. Shoot! Anyone game?

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, Dad!


Thrasius said...

Good post. Also, thanks so much for the comment on my was long, but expressed an important point of view. I don't think I fully understand how much the world has changed over the past few decades when it comes to this issue. The bad news is that it may become so acceptable that the church loses more people to it, but the good news is that as it becomes more understood then more people within the church can learn to deal with it in a healthy way with the church's support and not feel so alone. I am optimistic for the future.
Thanks for your thoughts, and please continue to comment and stay in touch. I have a lot of respect for you.

Thrasius said...

ps, I also love the pictures. Do you mind if I mabybe use them on my blog at some point?

Beck said...

"... but the good news is that as it becomes more understood then more people within the church can learn to deal with it in a healthy way with the church's support and not feel so alone."

I certainly hope so!

I certainly wish that I had dealt with it in a healthier way. It's not fun feeling like you're all alone because there is no support!

I'm sorry Thrasius for exploding a bit on your blog. You hit a hot button. Thank you for understanding.

Loyalist (with defects) said...


That is my sentiment on sports as well.


oh, goodness that going to keeping me smiling for some time.


santorio said...

my father played and watched sports; fortunately so did my brother so my father didn't need me to fulfill any need. then along comes my son, clearly without any direction from me, and he's total sports, could cite statistics from ice hockey which he never played or watched.

more choices now, a lot of us inept in the big three high school sports, now run circles around our overweight couch potato classmates.

Enduring Eric said...

My father loved to watch football, and I never got into it. It wasn't really an issue between us. He stated not long ago that we have different interests, but his statement wasn't a bad one, just a factual observation. I don't follow the regular season much, but I do watch the Super Bowl, more for the commercials and half time show than anything else. And I sometimes like the gathering of people to watch the big game, it's a social event for me.

SG said...

Could it possibly be that you and I have the same dad? My dad and all his brothers were major league jocks. Yet if they ever hold the run, catch and throw-like-a-girl Olympics, I'll be on the medal stand.

We're all quite a bit alike, aren't we? Thanks for being such an articulate and humorous voice for us!


Beck said...

I'm glad you all saw the humor in it - and yes, we are more alike than we are different, particularly on this sports issue - which in a certain way is very comforting and therapeutic.

But the non-humorous part is: I still can't talk to my father about hardly anything without disagreements, disappointments, misunderstandings, etc. It's sad that after all of these years as I've tried to please him, I can't and it bugs me. It bugs me a lot. Why does it bother me so much? Why can't he accept me and I can't accept him not accepting me as I try to accept that it's just not going to change - ever - do you know what I mean?