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Stay-at-Home Dad: Jocks & Geeks

I'll bank on the future of a scientist over an athlete, especially here.

Stay-at-Home Dad: Jocks & Geeks Stay-at-Home Dad: Jocks & Geeks Stay-at-Home Dad: Jocks & Geeks Stay-at-Home Dad: Jocks & Geeks Stay-at-Home Dad: Jocks & Geeks

I hate to be the one who has to inform you that most likely your child will not be a professional athlete.  

As a coach I have seen some great child prodigies over the years; they make monumental contributions to their teams, and elevate the play of others. In the long run they turn out fine, maybe even get a college scholarship, but never seem to make it to the professional ranks.

Scarsdale High School has a tradition of academic excellence, but most people forget that, like in the ivy-league, few athletic greats.

The Scarsdale sports Hall of Fame reads like a who's who of people that you have never heard of.  There are even many parents around who have played competitive sports at different levels. I have encountered fathers who played football in college and even one that played minor-league baseball.  

On a daily basis I get to see tons of mothers at the gym waiting in line for the hot new aerobics class. Oh, and they dress well. Matching warm-up suits, tops, socks and sneakers. It sometimes looks like a casting call for a lululemon outlet advertisement.

I'm sorry to inform you of this too, but a pair of spandex pants doesn't make you an athlete. In most cases it doesn't even make you look good. Especially while shopping at Balducci's in the early evening.

Scarsdale loves its athletics.

The fields are manicured beautifully, the teams have great uniforms and parents love to brag about the grueling schedules of the travel team. As a parent who has seen all the sides of the spectrum, team sports are a great thing.

Although... the mystery of elementary-school team selection seems to go like this: Guy in charge of the league pretends that he is fooling everyone, puts his child on a team with all the best athletes, and imagines that nobody notices. Kids often pick up on the inequality of these teams, but still rise above it to come together and learn to play hard. 

Unfortunately team sports are not for everyone, and I don't think that Bill Gates ever made a travel team.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have two boys. 

One loves his sports and the other loves his science. Last week I witnessed my older son participating in the New York State Regional Science Olympiad. In Science Olympiad, dozens of teams participate in events such as Robotics, Ornithology, Ecology, and the grueling Elevated Bridge. A list of all 46 events can be found at  http://soinc.org/event_info.

As competitive as the events are, the teams all share a common enthusiasm and competing schools even support each other. More impressive is the manner in which Scarsdale performed. They placed two teams in the top five, and came in first overall. There was exuberance as the team collected its trophy, although I think some of the celebration may be about the overnight trip to the state tournament.  

How much trouble could a group of science Olympiads get into? Sounds like the plot of a John Hughes film.

During a celebratory dinner, I asked my son what his career scientific goals were.  He told me that he aspired to one day be known as the "father of teleportation."  I am completely on board with this, as it would make me the "grandfather of teleportation."

On the other end of the spectrum is my younger son, who still thinks that he will play professional sports. He talks about "schooling" Kobe Bryant with such mater-of-fact conviction that I just go along with him. He sometimes has trouble sleeping the night before a game and practices judiciously for whatever sport is in season.  

I may have done him a disservice by only practicing with him myself. You know these days it seems that the old-fashioned father-and-son catch may do more harm than good.

I often see kids getting their private lessons in sports. You name it and you can get a coach for it.  There are soccer tutors, baseball skill building lessons, fencing instructors, and even a guy I know who charges $75 an hour to teach your kid how to punt and kick field goals.  

No, you can't have his number!

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