As a super-dad, sometimes I think that I am indestructible and can do anything and am perfect all the time. Just kidding, no parent ever thinks that they’re perfect! I was reminded of this over the weekend where I found myself apologizing for reacting in the exact way that I tell him not to react. I chose not to give any excuses and just tell him that I shouldn’t have acted how I did and no matter what other people do, I shouldn’t have lost my cool and I did.
I went to the Arena Football League game with my son, my brother and his fiancé. We were having a good time and since I wasn’t driving, I drank 3 beers. When we got to our seats, there were about 8 kids sitting behind us around 12 or 13 years old with 2 dads sitting down the row from us. One of the kids kicked my brother in the head a few times and he was very nice the first 2 times but the third time he finally told him sternly to knock it off. The two dads were unbothered by anything going on. One of our trips to the concourse, we saw some of the kids wrestling and running around acting foolish in crowds. Finally when they came back, I heard them whispering about who is going to throw it. Finally they threw something and it didn’t go as planned as it hit my son in the back of the head. As I got up and turned around, they acted like nothing happened and I called them out and turned to the dads and told them what happened and asked if they were going to do anything about it. That’s when it went downhill.
I will preface this with if I was to disrespect an adult and they told my parents, I would immediately be in the wrong and likely would be taken out of the game and wouldn’t be able to sit for a week. That fear of God mentality and how I was raised taught me manners and I always knew better! So these dads got up (with beers in hand) and said to the kids, “These guys obviously drank too much so leave them alone”. Are you serious??? I was shocked at first, and then came pissed! I should’ve let it go and shown my son that I’m the bigger man. I instead took the low road and told him that people like him that only babysit and leave the parenting to their mothers are the reason we have so many entitled little brats that need safe spaces and no manners. As he was leaving, I made the poor decision to pick up the water bottle that was thrown at my son and hit him in the back of the head. As he turned around, I told him “Sorry that you guys obviously drank too much and I shouldn’t be annoying you” as he walked away.
Many bad things could have happened and I was lucky. I was lucky that I didn’t get thrown out for throwing a plastic bottle 20 feet. I am luckier that these guys didn’t escalate the situation and actually try a physical confrontation in front of my son. If it was 10 years ago, I would have gone right at him, so I guess I can consider this progress but it didn’t feel like it. I was also lucky that I didn’t hit someone else and possibly hurt them. As we were leaving, my brother and I discussed how differently it should have gone and he laughed as he questioned if they would be waiting for us somewhere. I’m not proud of my decisions, but I am happy that it ended when it did.
I talked to my son the next day and apologized for acting like that. I told him that he would get in trouble for overreacting and that I should set the right example and I didn’t do that. He immediately came to my defense and said “Those boys weren’t listening and they were breaking the rules first”. While this is true, I told him that wouldn’t be an excuse for him and it can’t be for me. I explained to him that I would work harder and that parents aren’t perfect either. After talking, he decided that I didn’t need to be punished because I learned my lesson.
It wasn’t my greatest day, but it was a learning one. Stay strong, smart and humble out there dads!
I’m not a parent but I must say, I’m not sure how I would have acted if pain was inflicted on my child.
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It is a fine line to walk between protecting them and setting the right example… Trust me, I wanted to confront the dads more but knew it was a bad idea.