Rule #9: Boost Your Crappy Self Esteem Through Your Children

Your kid gets a trophy - and you get a boring story to tell. Ahh, vicarious living.

Your kid gets a trophy - and you get a boring story to tell. Ahh, vicarious living.

Sure, you never played sports, and you regularly get stomach cramps just from walking in circles muttering to yourself. And sure, your understanding of sports is kind of hazy, especially when it comes to rules and, well, how to actually play anything without looking like a wounded chimp.

Which is exactly why you should prop up your child as the athletic prodigy that you believe he or she truly is. It’ll make you feel better, almost like you’re the one wearing the nice uniform or scoring the winning basket or goal yourself. This is vicarious athleticism, and it’s a great position to be in. Better yet, all this attention will make your children feel even more important and talented than they really are, boosting their ego beyond all reasonable levels.

This Is Your Glory (Well, Sort of)

To impress upon friends and strangers alike that you and your child are both gunning for the same athletic promised land, it’s important to be demonstrative about it, including:

Use the inclusive “we” when talking about your child.

For example, you should say, “We swim for a top-ranked club team, and it’s something that we really like. But, wow, the early morning workouts are brutal on us.”

If your child plays for a travel team, weave it into every conversation.

A friend could be talking about the threat of global warming, and you can keep things light and say, “Yeah, too bad about the ozone, so I guess that means we’ll have to wear lighter-weight jerseys on our travel soccer team, you know, to combat the heat and still wins games. We play lots of travel soccer, like, all the time. It’s a select team, which means we had to be selected to be on the team. That’s why they call it select and all…and we have pricey jerseys, so this global warming will impact what our travel team wears when we play other teams whose players were also selected for, um, select travel. Wow, what a toll this will take on us.”

Make signs and placards for every game to promote your association with your child.

For example, “I’m Clare’s Mom” or “Clare’s Mom Is in the House” or “Did I Mention That I’m Clare’s Mom?”

donning ridiculous facepaint and spirit gear

Nothing displays self-worth quite like donning the apparel of your child's winning team.

Dress yourself in the team’s spirit wear.

You child may just be playing for youth-league or high-school team, but it’s not unreasonable to have expensive custom-made spirit wear created to support the cause. This is where you can really feel like you’re part of the squad, as you squeeze into replica jerseys, shorts and pants, and wear them to work or any social event where your overall worth is being questioned.

Paint your face, shave your head.

Nothing shows how committed you are to the cause than smearing your face with heavy, pore-blocking paint and wearing it for hours on the hottest days of the year.

And if for truly committed parents, consider shaving your child’s uniform number into your head or, for hirsute dads, your chest or back hair. The message: “Hey, it may look like I’m struggling with my own self worth, but by sacrificing my personal appearance and, in all likelihood, being skipped over for promotions at work because of my asinine behavior regarding my kids, I still have an 9-year-old child who makes me feel special because he can run from first to second base without tripping and wetting himself.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Keen Observer November 4, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Wow, welcome to Northern Virginia!! Don’t forget about the dad’s who almost had a “moment” in the athletic sun! They really like to further their egos through their children’s successes!

Don’t forget the added bonus of the fathers who make good coin! You can find their sons’ teams decked out in the finest uniforms money can buy, plus, they have the ‘ever-important’ professionally made banner!

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Richard Cranium November 14, 2008 at 8:06 am

I can’t believe someone would bust on those of us who push our kids. I am hoping my little GT soccer player gets that scholarship. Lord knows, I’ve earned it.

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edie January 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm

i learned a new word: hirsute

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odin February 17, 2009 at 7:19 pm

America’s sports teams are horrible organized, and the parent’s are insane.

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Lucy October 27, 2009 at 7:09 am

When we lived in Northern Virginia there were apparently two local (elementary school) soccer teams called “the all-stars” and “the nationals”. They weren’t any different from any of the other soccer teams, nor were they more select or anything. But I stupidly thought (for years) that when people said “My child is playing for the Nationals” or “My child plays for the all-stars” that it meant they were nationally ranked, or all stars or something. That just kills me. Name the team any damn thing you want, so you can brag some more, Miss Braggy McBraggerson. And when did they start making spirit wear in adult sizes anyway? Did you know that when you child makes all-stars in swimming, YOU can buy yourself a shirt and wear it to lord it over the other parents? I guess it’s a good warmup for when you buy yourself that Harvard sweatshirt — LOL!

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Lucy M June 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

This is even better advice when you have two daughters and desperately want one of them to fill the empty void where a son ought to be.

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