Sometimes Being a Fan is a Problem

It’s funny, I look back at the last 13 seasons of being an Arizona Diamondbacks fan and I realized my children have literally grown up at Bank One Ballpark/Chase Field. At Opening Day in 1998 I was in the stands with my wife and my son who was less than a year old.

Now in 2010 my son is 12 years old and Chase Field is like a second home. He knows most of the ushers on a first name basis and lives in the kids’ zone on the upper deck. He has a knack of being in the right place at the right time appearing on dbTV with game hosts Mike and Vanessa.

He attends more than 50 Diamondbacks games per season and knows as much about baseball as anyone his age. You would think with that kind of background that he would be a diehard baseball fan like his dad.

While he enjoys going to baseball games each season, my son’s real love is soccer. From an early age he began playing organized soccer and now plays on a tournament team and is quite successful.

Our baseball world and soccer world usually live in harmony but there are times when these two worlds collide. My wife and I try to attend all of his games although during baseball season I admit I have sent my wife and the video camera to the soccer game while I went to Chase Field.

With baseball season looming on the horizon I am getting in as many soccer tournaments as I can before Opening Day. When attending these tournaments, I still wear Diamondbacks gear such as hats, sweatshirts, shirts, etc.

The other parents on the team have come to accept that and I think they would be disappointed if I arrived in anything but Diamondbacks apparel. This weekend though there was a slight problem.

My son was playing in the Arizona Open Cup soccer tournament with other teams throughout the state. Before each game the team would check in with the officials and prepare their line-up cards.

As they were waiting to check in, I had my camera out to document the game. I was standing behind the boys when the opposing team came to check in. I glanced over then did a double take.

The other team was named the Diamondbacks and they were wearing jerseys with the official Arizona Diamondbacks logo on both their shirts and shorts. The uniforms were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

How in the world did this team ever score such great uniforms and be named after my favorite baseball team. Clearly I had a dilemma. On the one hand I had my son who was playing his heart out for a local team. On the other side was a team wearing white and Sedona Red with D-Backs emblazoned across their chests.

For the first time in my life I was faced with the possibility of cheering against the Diamondbacks. No one should ever be put in this situation. It was like a cruel joke being played by the Baseball Gods. Why oh why does life mock me like this?


6 Comments

  1. Isn’t soccer season in the fall?

    • Historically soccer season is in the fall but as players become more developed, it tends to become a year round sport. My son plays in a fall league that runs from August to November then he begins tournament season playing on a traveling team which plays from December through May. Soccer camps begin in June and he takes roughly a six week hiatus before the process begins again. I had no idea how much soccer there was. As a boy I did a similar routine but for baseball. It can be a lot but the rewards are great when you start to see some success from all of the team’s hard work.

  2. Charlie W.

    Might I suggest the following article by Morgan Ensberg:

    http://morganensberg.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/may-i-have-some-money/

    • Thanks for the article. I would agree with most everything listed. Having gone through this myself at a young age playing organized baseball since I was five, I know first hand how time consuming youth sports can be. Now as a parent I am faced with a similar dilemma with my son and soccer. On the one hand I want to feed his love for the game while tempering it to make sure he does not get burned out. At the conclusion of each season my wife and I sit him down and discuss the season. What went well, what didn’t go well, and how much time it consumed. We’ve built up a trust that he will be honest with us and we will do the same. At times it has been tough such as last year when he was invited to Europe to play soccer. I felt he was too young to be exposed to that and we declined much to my son’s dismay. On the other hand there have been times when he has come to us expressing how he is overwhelmed with his other activities at which point we adjust the amount of playing he does.

      Another important aspect that I didn’t get from the Ensberg article was to maintain a well-rounded environment for the kids. Having their lives consumed with one sport is detrimental to their life experiences. I’ve played with teammates who all they do is live and breathe the sport. Once their playing careers are over they have nothing but a void. That is why we always try to balance the kids’ experiences to extend beyond sports. We try to focus on education and other extra curricular activities such as music, art, community service, etc. The key to all of this is balance.

      I’m not suggesting I am a model parent by any means. We’ve just been lucky that our kids have accepted our guidance and recommendations to build a healthy love or passion without locking them into a competitive cage where we as parents live vicariously through our kids.

      • Charlie W.

        Great response Jeff. I sent that article to a friend who has 3 girls, all in sports and the oldest two quite heavily in them. It seems like they are constantly traveling for either softball or soccer. Its usually close (in state or CA), but still. I wonder if parents who were really into sports, and played rather competetively (at higher levels) growing up, tend to push their kids more? I played some high school sports, but it was a small school and unfortunately my dreams of the NBA (MLB dreams came later) never materialized (luckily I was never fooled into thinking slow, short, poor shooting white guys would be in demand).

        Well anyway, enjoy the blog. My kids are not quite of the age to push them too much yet.

  3. Yes this post was written entirely tongue-in-cheek. Although the D-Backs soccer uniforms were pretty cool and I am definitely going to look for them at the Team Shop on April 2.

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