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Get a Clue, Kid!

I’m typing this while watching the best basketball player on the planet abuse our hometown Mavericks. Yes, LeBron James is greatness. He’s an awesome physical specimen and a fantastic team player who actually enjoys passing. And he dunks so hard it’s as if he’s going to commit double homicide on the ball and the rim with every slam.

So, yeah, buddy, your favorite player is really, really, really good. But he’s no Michael Jordan.

As you might predict, this is a debate that will likely rage on until I’m in the nursing home. And I’m quite sure it will never have a winner. Of course anyone over the age of 30 – which means basically everyone reading this page right now – knows that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player in the history of the game. Six world titles, endless highlight film dunks and a library filled with game-winning shots prove my point without a shadow of a doubt. Yet, for a 9-year-old who is the biggest front-runner of his generation, LeBron is without peer.

So we’ll agree to never agree on this one. We still love each other. But this silly argument brings up an irrefutable point: Our kids are clueless and they won’t listen to reason. I’m sure my dad said the exact same thing about me when he was droning on about how Ted Williams was the greatest hitter ever, and I was telling him that Steve Garvey was the best ever. Chalk one up for Dad for the record.

Of course, it’s not their fault. When my little guy asked me if Troy Aikman played football before he was a Fox NFL announcer, it’s not a terrible question. As sad as it sounds, he’s only known Tony Romo to be the Cowboys’ quarterback.

It’s just impossible to convince kids that their Justin Bieber was our Scott Baio. Sure, I don’t remember Chachi urinating on stage during a concert or getting busted driving 700 mph in his Ferrari. And I certainly don’t remember wanting to deport Baio back to Canada, although I’m sure I wouldn't have voted against such an act.

When my daughter follows every move of the Biebs or Selena Gomez, she just won’t listen to my fearless prediction that Biebs is heading toward a starring role in Celebrity Rehab and Selena, who really seems like a nice kid, is destined for a rough ride that will end with a spread in Maxim. I don’t want that to happen, of course, but history dictates otherwise. Whether it’s Marilyn Monroe, who I’m not old enough to remember, or Drew Barrymore or Britney Spears, there are countless examples proving my point.

To borrow some Shakespeare: “What’s past is prologue,” I tell her.

Her very thoughtful response: “Dad, you’re lame.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yep, I’m officially old enough and have seen enough to clearly understand the meaning of that cliché. But here’s how I illustrate it for the kiddos:

  • You tell me how great Eminem is and I agree. Then I explain that three white rappers named the Beastie Boys also were pretty great in their own right.
  • You tell me that your Xbox is the best game player in the universe and I agree. Then I explain that my Nintendo 64 ruled my entire summer.
  • You tell me that you iPad is more important to you than breathing oxygen. I don’t necessarily agree with that one, but I do tell you that I could have gone pro in the Mattel line of hand-held sports games, especially the second version of the basketball game thanks to the introduction of the three-point line.
  • You tell me that President Obama sure gets attacked a lot by the press and by TV commercials and I agree. Then I tell you about Jimmy Carter and how my dad was forced to sit in a two-hour line to fill his gas tank. I also tell you about how we boycotted the 1980 Olympics instead of going over to Russia and kicking Soviet Union booty on their turf. Hmmm, glad that didn’t happen this time around. We would have been deprived of our ice dancing gold!
  • You tell me that it makes no sense to study algebra or geography because you won’t use it much in the real world. I don’t necessarily agree although I get your point. I tell you how a Canadian political science professor was surprisingly one of my favorite all-time teachers and compelled me to follow a path that helped build a comfortable life.
  • You tell me that you want to be a famous football player for the San Diego Chargers and I encourage big dreams. And I tell you that I would have been the starting second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers had I been right-handed . . . and was able to hit . . . and run . . . and play really solid defense. 

You get my point. I trust someday they will as well.

Rudy lives in Flower Mound, works in Fort Worth and plays everywhere in between. He has one wife, one daughter, one son, one published book, one obsession with sports and 20 million observations on marriage and children. Follow him on Twitter: Manifesto10. 

Published April 2014