What is a dad to do?

Responsibility of a Sports-Dad

We are living in uncertain times my friends. No, I'm not talking about Coronavirus – I'm talking about being a sports-dad during these trying times for Houston sports. With one young son and another soon to arrive, I am now faced with decisions on how to be a good steward of their sports fandom.

My son will turn two next month, and he already loves sports. Outside of Mama and Dadda his first word was "ball". He wants to play with his tee ball set all the time, and during the season he would sit and watch football (even the XFL) yelling "catch" and "tackle" at the TV. Even when playing with his cousins he yells tackle and then goes in for a full wrap-up and pull down tackle (very good form). What he hasn't figured out yet though is what being a fan means, but I know that is coming soon.

Over the past couple of months with the Astros cheating scandal I have at times wondered if it makes me a bad parent to encourage him to root for them. I have come the conclusion that it does not. By the time he is old enough to understand what happened the scandal will be many years in the past, and frankly the team composition will likely be very different. I would not want to miss out on opportunities to take him to games, or just sit on the couch on summer nights watching baseball because people got all bent out of shape about sign stealing. While I certainly won't tell him he has to be an Astros fan, I won't discourage it either. Speaking of discouraging things - this brings me to my main sports-dad area of concern.

What is a dad to do about the Texans? For a while I have thought about whether I encourage my son to be a Texans fan – I was on the fence about it until this week. Instead of having him grow up and letting his fandom fall where it may, I have now unequivocally have decided to actively discourage him from being a Texans fan. As his father I feel it is my duty while he is still young and malleable to steer him away from a path that will undoubtedly bring a lifetime of disappointment.

I myself have become much less invested in the team over the past couple of years despite still loving football. Texans games are no longer appointment viewing for me and their blunders have become comedic rather than painful (I couldn't help but laugh when they blew the 24 point lead to Kansas City). Despite those personal feelings, I always hoped my son would love watching football like I do, and figured he would probably root for the Texans if for no other reason than they were the local team. The actions of this week though have made it clear the organization does not deserve my son as a fan, and they sure as hell do not deserve my money as the parent of a fan. As a father I hope to spend many future Sundays watching football with both of my boys , and we will be doing so as fans of a team not named the Texans.


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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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