One of the things I love most about being a father is passing down my tastes — especially the particularly geeky ones — to my son.
So far, he’s picked up on my love of comics, Star Wars, GI Joes and legos, among others.
Soccer, the love of my life, has been hit or miss. He played one season of outdoor and one indoor, deciding resolutely that he liked indoor better because he could be the goalie.
He liked diving for balls — “just like those guys do on TV,” he told me — and the position seemed to tear him from the timidness he showed during outdoor when he was playing with kids a year older and much larger than him.
He even got into practicing goalie in our backyard with the little PVC goal I purchased at a thrift store for 99 cents.
Watching soccer is an acquired taste for him though, as it is for most people really. One day I was watching the Columbus Crew on TV and he asked me who the good guys and bad guys were. Put in those terms, it was easy for him to follow along.
He’d look over at me occasionally to mimic what I was doing and at one point he got into the act by yelling at the other team to get off of the Crew players. He threw a few air punches to accentuate.
Another night however, I told him I was heading to my room to watch shows and asked if he wanted to join me. He groaned, “We’re not watching soccer are we,” and flopped his hands to his knees, his shoulder slumping to his belly. “We always watch soccer.”
I laughed and assured him we weren’t.
There is a slight problem in all of this though.
Last week while in Wal-Mart looking at cheap movies, he grabbed one and started the Toddler Pleading. Instinctually I said No. But daaaad, he said. I looked down and felt an immediate pang of doubt. In his hand: a copy of “The Labyrinth.” You know, the one with David Bowie and all those live-action animatronics.
I was never so torn with pride and grief. I love the movie, but hate giving in to his constant requests to buy toys and movies at the store. If I buy this one, what will I have to buy next? It would be never-ending.
And that’s when it hit me. Part of being a geek is collecting, hoarding, storing, buying, coveting. He must have sensed this too for the next words out of his mouth were But daadd, you love it too. Can’t we get it, please please please. No. I held my ground. For now. I’m debating about going to the store, you know, to see if it’s still there.