Just in case you don’t follow football, the Super Bowl is tomorrow. Everyone’s putting up their finest Super Bowl related articles about how to tiptoe around dads while the game is on. One such article is by Forbes blogger Justine Rivero titled “My Dad’s Guide to Watching the Super Bowl.” As you can tell from the title, it’s supposed to be a light-hearted to-do list for not pissing off dad and getting the most out of his attention while the game is on. Oh, and it also perpetuates the idea that dad cares more about football than family, and the only way to bond with him is to feign interest in his team of choice and make sure you’re cheering when he cheers.
You know, because if you don’t, you risk a beating and a lifetime of wondering how to get your relationship out of the s**ts.
I gotta say, I disagree with these sorts of sentiments. Sure, they’re good for a quick laugh. When my toddler throws a ball inside our home and it barely misses the television, I jokingly declare, “don’t make me choose between you and the TV,” usually just as a way to lighten myself up. But I’d never put that out here as an official opinion or a how-to on parenting. “My Dad’s Guide to Watching the Super Bowl” really does make me feel like if Rivero didn’t pretend to like football, she’d be out of the family – and to me, that’s no joke. I know, I know, lighten up, right?
Rivero starts out solid. She talks about her first Super Bowl with her father, and about her father’s die-hard football fandom. Nothin’ wrong with that.
But the story changes quickly with her list of tips:
- Do not talk when the game is on.
- Don’t be the lame.
- Follow dad’s lead.
- Demonstrate total loyalty.
- Let dad have his moment.
Aside from #5, I just don’t see this as a daughter having fun with dad. Rivero does, to her favor, intersperse good commentary here and there. “the Super Bowl becomes an unexpected time to stand by your loved ones,” says Rivero. “Dad does it when he sleeps on the mall bench like a hobo while my mom shops, and Mom returns the favor when she grabs him a Diet Coke and chips when his team misses that perfect pass. Take note: this is how to make a marriage last.” True, even if I’d like personally to make the perception of dads not liking to go shopping disappear. Then again, I’m the on that not only goes shopping alone, but makes my wife uncomfortable when we shop in her stores together and I raid the cheap-panties bin right in front of her. “Put those DOWN,” my wife whisper-yells at me, and I answer, “I’m just helpin’ you pick out the good ones.” Pro Tip: don’t ever pick up a handful of panties in a ladies’ store and exaggeratedly smell them because that makes no one comfortable.
In any event, I’m not saying Rivero’s a bad person. In fact, she’s a great daughter for wanting to be a part of her dad’s life and traditions. But personally, or IMHO, as they say, I just don’t subscribe to the school of thought where dads need silence and servitude while their team is playing.
Also, we need to be reminding these fathers that this is how their family feels around them. I mean, again, I know it sounds like I’m taking this too seriously. But if a father is literally intimidating his family into submission for a sporting event, something’s wrong. And like I mentioned in the first place, these articles and “how to survive” guides are funny at first glance, but illustrate a real stumbling block for fathers and their families. I realize that older fathers are still in this generation of “don’t talk to me, the game’s on,” but our generation has a real chance to obliterate that untouchable persona. Dads, don’t be that dick. Involve your family, and you’ll be more likable and won’t have your daughter putting you on blast before every big game.
Finally, here’s 8BitDad‘s official guide to watching the Super Bowl:
- Have fun with friends and family.
- If you don’t understand something – ask! Dad will be proud that his family wants to be engaged with the sport he loves.
- Whether you do end up watching the game in the room or playing cards with friends in the backyard, dad still loves you the same.
Enjoy the Super Bowl, folks!