I have a problem.
I want to beat my son. I want to beat him so bad that he falls to the floor moaning about how awesome I am and how stinky awful he is.
But it won’t happen because the little guy has something on me I can’t touch. Time. He’s got it and I need it. Perhaps I should explain.
Santa brought our family a Nintendo Wii this past Christmas. It was a gift for everyone — but it was Cole, our oldest, who leaped to the front and really grabbed onto it with both hands.
And so it begins
He plays that thing constantly. In the morning, after school and even before supper, if we let him. He trains on it like he’s possessed. Memorizing moves and perfecting his game so he can positively wallop my behind when he suckers me into playing him.
It’s painful to endure. He stomps me into the ground in tennis. Makes me want to cry in bowling. Caused me to twist my back in baseball, and completely humiliated me at boxing. There I stand beside him, two feet taller, much stronger, physically able in every single way yet totally subservient to a 62-pound spaz who seems to know exactly what it takes to embarrass his old man.
I pretend I don’t care, acting like losing is no big deal even as I offer excuses to anyone who will listen. I explain how I wish I could play more often and that if I could get some decent practice time I’d be way better. I casually suggest the game may not be reading my “moves” properly or that it somehow penalizes real athleticism. I have even gone so far as to accuse my own son of cheating as he stomps me. I am beginning to realize I may be attempting to create a fantasy world where such a thing is actually occurring.
The Wii saboteur
This is difficult to admit, but I have taken to sending my son to bed early just to hinder his practice time. I have even given the speech about wasting his life in front of video games and how he should be outside. I cannot believe the depths I have sunk to in attempting to sabotage him. In my heart I feel truly guilty for not being able to enjoy the success Cole is having. I am officially competing with my son.
When the house goes silent, I now train in a late-night attempt to improve. To ready myself for the showdown. I played so long the other night that I hurt my arm and couldn’t lift it the next day at work, which led to my missing the one cool assignment offered all year because I couldn’t physically raise my hand.
It’s pathetic and I know it. I have to step back and get some perspective. This is my son. He is not my competitor. I should want him to excel, to surpass me. He needs to win a few so he can learn how to succeed and be confident.
But until that day officially comes, I will march his little butt into bed early so I can improve my odds of wiping that satisfied little smirk off his face at least a few times in the next few years. There are other lessons he can learn. Things like humility, respect, not giving up, character. These are linked closely with losing so in reality I am doing him a favor. Besides, I see no reason to give up my top-dog position just yet… at least until I have to.