Helping your child love football, one game, nacho plate at a time


Well, that little experiment didn’t work out.

I’m talking about the one in which I mold my daughter — from her first breath on — into becoming a passionate, die-hard football fan, the kind who paints their face, who chest bumps other fans, who chugs beer, or in this case, strawberry Juicy-Juice.

She was going to know and love the game while dominating her preschool’s fantasy football league.

And if her preschool didn’t have a league, she was going to start one and take all the other kids’ money. (“Mommy! Marilee Beauregard took my shoes as collateral. What’s a vig?”)

That’s why I’ll never believe those child development specialists who preach that gender differences are a result of environment.

I did everything I could to twist her environment to match my tastes. I even took her to a Broncos game — three months before she was born.

Granted, it’s probably not healthy for your six-month pregnant wife to be surrounded by 75,000 loud, drunk maniacs, but we were just following our pre-birth bucket list.

You parents out there know how it goes: When you’re expecting, every other parent you meet suggests (and sometimes demands) that you as a couple complete a litany of fun items (like going to movies, eating out, etc.) while you can before the baby comes, after which (they warn) you’ll spend all your time at home having someone pee on you.

So I took Marie to one last Broncos game B.K. (Before Kids). Why not? Those pregnancy books claim that singing to your unborn child helps, so I figured some Mile High magic, or at least a few chants of “IN-COM-PLETE,” would infiltrate the womb. And it may have if I were the one pregnant.

Instead, all our daughter inherited from the pre-natal road trip was my wife’s love of nachos and Dip-N-Dots.

Once my daughter arrived, I dressed her in orange and blue onesies. During bottle feedings, we’d watch NFL Live on ESPN. And later on she’d wear the Broncos cheerleader outfit I got for her, which is more than I can say for her mother.

Perhaps I was in denial, but until last week, I thought there was still a bit of hope for a future in which we’d bond over football.

We were driving home when I told her the first preseason game was coming up and we should watch it.

“I don’t like football,” she said. “I like princesses.”


It’s difficult to truly express the pain I felt when hearing those words. I liken it to your wife coming home from work and saying, “I don’t love you. I love Jerry in accounting.”

It’s not fair. She owes me. God knows I’ve had to sit there and watch the endless hours of crap she loves.

Yet she refuses to sit for even a couple of series of one game, when I’ve had to endure so many viewings of “The Little Mermaid” that I now support commercial overfishing of mermaids.

She doesn’t like football. OK. Sometimes you have to accept your children as they are and love them unconditionally.

Of course I’m joking.

You need to force them to be what you want them to be.

Which is why I lied to her. “Cinderella LOVES football!” I said. But she knows that’s not true. We’ve watched Cinderella and both sequels over 50 times each, and there’s never a scene where she and Prince Charming are plopped down in front of a 52-inch screen with a bucket of hot wings.

So four years of endless brainwashing and propaganda efforts have failed miserably. Despite our ideological similarities, I’d be a horrible Nazi.

Still, I think I can turn the tide and get her to sit down and enjoy the games with me. If she’s not willing to do it voluntarily, I may have to pull out the secret weapons:

Nachos and Dip-N-Dots.

Reach Steve at


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