Tich’s Take

I do not have kids. I have no wife, full-time job or house. I am not ready to raise a child.

But I already know what sport he or she will be playing.


So what, I like to plan ahead a little bit. It is not a bad thing for me to be looking out for my future children, right? Almost every child who grows up playing a sport dreams of playing that sport professionally at some point during his or her naïve childhood. Very few of those kids end up playing that sport in college, let alone going pro.

For most, making the professional ranks is an impossibility, but for some, it may have been the wrong choice of sport. If a six-foot-seven dude with a 42-inch vertical leap chose to be a hockey player, he probably picked the wrong sport.

My athleticism genetics trend more toward Jack Black than LeBron James. I am a notch over six feet on a bad hair day. Hibernating bears have better agility than me. Unless I marry Elena Della Donne — which I am very open to — my children will never sniff playing basketball past high school.

What about football? Considering I would like my child to remember my name when he comes home from school, I would say football is out of the question. With every new horror that concussion studies bring to light, the more I want to keep any child away from football. I remember getting knocked out in practice when I was 9 years old after a helmet-to-helmet hit and it was treated like it was no big deal. Sports that do not involve losing consciousness are ideal.

Baseball is a possibility — it was always my best sport — but there are so many things that could go wrong. Unless the hatchling Tichenor has world-class hand-eye coordination and vision, he will never be able to hit elite pitching. And just about every kid who pitches blows his elbow or shoulder out without the precisely
correct care.

The big three American sports are out. So which other sport has minimal injury risk? Which sport can people excel at despite being limited athletically? The
answer: golf.

Many people find golf boring, but most of those people have never golfed. There is nothing quite like standing up on the tee box on hole one, surveying the expanse of the course and smelling the freshly groomed grass. Even the most seasoned golf curmudgeon could fall in love with the course itself.

One small problem — golf is not a sport for children. No matter what, young kids are probably not hitting the ball more than 100 yards. But there are many different aspects of golf children could work on before hitting their drives like Bubba Watson.

Tiger Woods’ dad taught him how to putt before he learned anything else. So while it was impossible for little Tiger to make the ball fly very far, he was already on his way toward mastering putting before he ever touched a driver. Just like young baseball players begin their careers hitting off a tee, young golfers must begin with the very basics.

Not to mention, if a golfer wins a single pro tournament, he becomes an instant millionaire. Pops probably could use a new car by then.

Yes, I have put a lot of thought into this. But to be clear, I will not force my children to play golf while they are clutching a basketball or baseball, screaming to play those sports. I have been around kids who are forced to play a certain sport and it not only ruins their passion for the sport, but their relationship with their parents. That is the last thing I want.

But if my kids ever have dreams of becoming a professional athlete, they should adhere to the old adage of “father
knows best.”

TICHENOR is the sports editor.

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