Free Advice Friday: Kids Playing Sports

It’s Friday! And that means for the dozens… AAAAND dozens of my fans, it’s Free Advice Friday.  Let’s go!

Dear Jake,

I’m a father of an 8-year-old that I recently got involved in football. I wanted to get him into team sports because I feel they teach kids important lessons that make them into successful adults. However, some of the parents think I’m forcing him to be out there and also think I “cheer too aggressively”. I just want him to win and be happy. What should I do?

Allen M.

Allen, this is an excellent question.  And you couldn’t have brought it to a more qualified single, childless 27-year-old who can barely take care of himself.

First off, an excellent choice having your boy play football. The man’s game. The ultimate team sport. I agree that it’s important to learn lessons playing sports, and there’s so many he can learn playing football that he wouldn’t anywhere else.

But, what do you do if your child isn’t putting the effort into it that he or she should? How do you even know if he is or not? What do you do about those other parents sticking their nose in business it shouldn’t be in?

Don’t worry. I’m here to help.

Little League Sign

At the end of the day, you want the best for your child. What’s better than them being the best at everything they do? You want your child to win and be the best, don’t you?

Of course you do.

I know you want your child to win every game they play, but if you want them to play their hardest, nothing works better than screaming at them at the top of your lungs.

Let me finish…

Children are liars. Children are sneaky. Children spread scabies. That last one has nothing to do with this particular subject matter, but hey… rule of threes.

The point is, kids are not trustworthy. They, by nature, are pathological liars. They tell you that they didn’t eat the doughnut you left on the counter when you didn’t eat it and the chair was moved over next to the counter and they have white powder on their face, so unless they have a horrible drug habit, you know damn well it was them. I WAS SAVING THAT UNTIL THE COFFEE FINISHED BREWING.

Anyway, you can’t ask a child if they were giving all their effort, because they will just simply lie to you. However, if you angrily scream at them and make vague threats about having to maybe walk next to the car on the way home because only winners ride shotgun, you might see what they can really do on the field.

You may get stares from the hippie parents that “would never do that to my child”, but you just have to press on. Instead of breaking apart dried, white animal poop they find on the sidelines, their kid could take notes while yours runs for a 43-yard touchdown on a toss sweep.

Sometimes yelling isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to be psychological. Make sure they know they’re not only playing to win, but they’re playing for your love.

“You not wrapping up on a tackle is the reason your mother and I fight, son!”

Tell me he’s not going to have perfect form in week 2.

Kicking and Screaming

Kids are kids. To them, it’s just a game. It’s just time they get to play outside, have fun with friends, and make new ones. But, you and I know that it’s more than that. It’s not just a game. It’s a lifestyle choice.

It’s all about winning.

You grow into adulthood. That’s what you have to live in. You don’t stay in your childhood forever, so who cares if they have a good one? Prepare them now to have a good life later.

Just look at the 1984 classic The Karate Kid. Remember the bad guy in that movie? What was his name… Daniel Larusso? Yeah, he won the tournament, but he cheated and robbed the beloved protagonist Johnny Lawrence of his rightful first place trophy from the All Valley Karate Championship and stole his girlfriend. But, I guarantee Johnny’s a more successful adult, because fear did not exist in his dojo.

Parents, when your kid grows up to be a successful investment banker or sports agent or corporate raider involved in hostile takeovers, I highly doubt they will remember for one second that their parents screamed at their ballgames, embarrassing them and themselves in front of everyone present. I doubt they will remember at all that their parents molded them into future douchebags by acting like total b-holes at a children’s sporting event.

I’ll bet they remember that first place trophy you’ll still keep above the fireplace and talk about every Thanksgiving. I’ll bet they remember their parents being loving, tender motivators.

I’ll bet they remember being a winner.

So, it’s really all up to you, Allen. If you want your child to become “well-rounded” by learning leadership skills, teamwork, self-discipline, patience, perseverance and the importance of respect, then be uninvolved and unenthusiastic like the rest of the do-nothing parents that let their child learn that “on their own”.

But, if you want your child to be a winner, then keep doing your thing, my friend. Scream and yell, verbally express your disappointment, and show them they can get what they want by disregarding how they behave in private and in public.

Yeah. You may scar them and make them terrible people and they may very well hate you for the rest of their lives, but at the end of the day, they will be a winner.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

If you seek wisdom or have any question you would like Jake to answer, email him at CupOFourtay@gmail.com with the subject “Free Advice Friday”.

Free Advice Friday: Coaching and Discipline

Yeah, yeah.  I’m back.  Get over it.  Let’s get to the reason why we’re both here.  And by both, I mean me and you, the one other person that reads this.

Dear Jake,

I am a football coach with a bit of a problem.  See, I have this sophomore starting quarterback on my team that is incredibly talented.  The thing is, he has a serious attitude problem.  He’s a constant distraction to the team, on and off the field. The governing body over our sport had a chance to punish him, and they gave him a slap on the wrist.  I’ve even sent a note home to his parents, but he just signed it himself.  I feel pressure from both sides to play him and bench him but we have a big game coming up and I don’t know what to do.  What do you think?

Kevin S.

 

Kevin, I’d be more than happy to help you out.  Being a football coach’s son myself, I’ve experienced my fair share of chewings and up-downs, but it sounds like Lil’ Johnny here may be a next level d-bag.

It seems like traditional ways of disciplining football players won’t do in this case.  He sounds like a spoiled little rich kid who’s had everything handed to him and expects the world to bend to his will because he’s currently the flavor of the month.  You’ve got experts that want to grab him by the facemask and scream at him and boosters that want him to play.  Tough situation to be in, I’ll grant you that.

But, here’s my advice: Let him play.

If this game you have coming up is as big and important as you make it sound, then he needs to play, and I’ll tell you why.

I’m assuming what you’ve done is schedule a few cookie-cutter teams at the start of the season, because you wanted to give the impression that your high ranking was in no way undeserved because you destroy teams that have no business being in the same stadium as you.  Why schedule a worthy opponent at the start of the season anyway?  Cementing your dominance at the start of the year just sounds like too much work.  Besides, you wouldn’t want a team to expose your weaknesses early on to determine what needs to be addressed the rest of the season.

So you played the kid week one and two.  Good idea.  Best to let him get some confidence against some weak opponents, because clearly, if there’s one thing this kid is short on, it’s confidence.  But, just when you thought he had learned his lesson, he’s getting you unsportsmanlike penalties on the field and talking trash.  He’s acting like a turd, which would be a hysterically ironic thing to be called if it was said by someone who is a spokesman for UGG Boots.

Some people say he’s just a kid being a kid and that somehow makes it okay.  Just because you are young and have talent doesn’t give you a write off on being a b-hole.  He needs some class.  He needs some humility.  He needs to get hit in the mouth.

That’s why you let him play.

Because letting him play in that game, I assure you, will be more than enough punishment.  The second someone puts a helmet under his chinstrap, he’ll straighten up.  That’s how some punks need to be dealt with.  They need some sense knocked into them so they’re better people in the future. That’s how it works in the movies.

The bottom line is, Kevin, sometimes the only way to put out a fire is let it burn itself out.  But, don’t you worry.  I have a feeling a Tide will wash over that fire very soon…

Free Advice Friday: Growing a Mustache

Jake

My boyfriend Nick has been growing a mustache for the past month and it has to stop. I can’t stand the way he looks with it and it creeps me out. I asked him once to stop growing a mustache and he just said “You first”. Could you help me please?

Kaitlyn P.

Oh, Kate. Can I call you Kate? Well, I’m going to anyway…

First off, Kate, give Nick a high five and tell him I said “nice burn”, because that was really funny.

Nonetheless, I’m willing to help.

This is all dependent on how far along his condition is, because talking someone out of growing the ol’ Lady Tickler is like talking someone out of suicide. You have to be very careful not to let them go over the edge. If he’s just got a crustache, there is hope to bring him back. But, if he’s got a full on upper lip bush… then you can kiss him goodbye. Except, don’t, because he has a mustache.

Personally, I’m frightened by a man with an MO (mustache only). If comic books have taught me anything, it’s that a men with a mustache and/or a bald head are untrustworthy and evil.

The trouble here is telling him to stop growing his cookie duster is creatively stifling even if he does look like a creeper. A man’s facial hair is his personality’s canvas. His “manvas” if you will. His Facade’s First Amendment. The window dressing of the smile.

I fear the option of talking him out of it is long gone. Likely the only option you have is to “take care of it yourself” as he sleeps. But be prepared to face the consequences, because you will forever be the Delilah to his nose caterpillar’s Samson.

Few men can properly wear the 'stache with such grace and dignity.

Few men can properly wear the ‘stache with such grace and dignity.

If you seek wisdom or have any question you would like Jake to answer, email him at CupOFourtay@gmail.com with the subject “Free Advice Friday”.

Free Advice Friday: Declaring a Major

Dear Jake,

I’m about to graduate high school and enter college, but I’m not sure about what my major should be.  I have a lot of different interests and would be pretty happy with whatever I choose.  I have quite a few dream jobs, but one of the biggest factors going into this decision is my likelihood of employment out of college.  Would you please advise me on this?

Ben L.

Oh, Benjamin… Long gone for me are the days of scholarly pursuits.  Of course, I never really pursued things of a scholarly nature to begin with.  I mean… I write a blog and I’m an actor in Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, I am completely qualified to answer this question.  I’d be delighted to step in as you academic adviser.

First off, stop saying “dream job”.  In this economic climate, having one at all is a dream.  A fantasy, really.  No, no, no, my friend.  College is not the place to realize and discover your dreams.  College is a place to make stupid decisions, like putting ketchup on ramen noodles, or going to a women’s rights demonstration in the hopes of meeting girls, or saying “You know, English Lit sure sounds like a fun major.”

The minute you go into college hoping for the best is the minute you realize you do look like a doucher with that faux-hawk and that Julia dumped you because you drive a 2001 Ford Focus with a hatchback.  It’s like a good friend of mine once said, “Hope is just Stage One of disappointment.”

Your first mistake is even going to college at all.  In 2012, the average student loan debt after graduating was $27,000.  If you’re not going into any kind of medicine or engineering (and judging from your indecision, you’re not), then you better plan on driving that Focus for a while, because your checking account is going to take a fat potato straight up the tailpipe.

Stressed Student

“But, Jake. What about the old adage that you have to spend money to make money?”

Good question, my undeclared friend.  Ask the US government how that’s working out for ’em.

The only profitable majors in college are football or high level administrator.  So, if you’re not the dean of your college or Robert Griffin III, then you might want to consider working for your uncle at his cement plant full time.

Look, Ben, I’m not trying to discourage you.  I’m just simply trying to soften the blow if things don’t quite go the way you anticipate.  It’s like being slapped before you’re shot in the face.

The best advice I can give you is this: Enjoy college and don’t take it too seriously.  Do whatever is going to make you happy, because at the end of the day that’s going to be better than any paycheck you’ll ever get.  Taking joy in your career will outweigh the hard work you’re going to have to endure to get and keep a job, because unless you’re running for the US Senate, there is no job on Earth where you can get paid for doing nothing.

If you seek wisdom or have any question you would like Jake to answer, email him at CupOFourtay@gmail.com with the subject “Free Advice Friday”.

Free Advice Friday: What to Give Mom

Dear Jake,

I don’t know if you knew, but Mothers’ Day is this Sunday.  Well, I slipped up and haven’t gotten my mom anything yet.  Any advice on what I could give her?

Maggie B.

What are you, a Google calendar? Of course I know Sunday is Mothers’ Day. I’m not the horrible, ungrateful child that forgot it was this weekend.

Nonetheless, Maggie, I’ll give you a hand.

The most important thing to remember when selecting a gift for your mom is this: Picking something better than everyone else.  How mom would like it is a distant, distant second.

Most people are going to go the traditional route this Mothers’ Day. They’re gonna give her flowers or chocolates or a grandchild. But, odds are that stuff is picked over by now and it’s kind of thoughtless at this point. The term “traditional gift” is pretty much a synonym for “I was too lazy to think of something you’d really appreciate, so I got this crap”.  It’s really just a step away from giving your mom cash and telling her “Don’t spend it all in one place.”

No, your mom deserves something special. I’m assuming… I really don’t know. You’re mom could be a real a-hole.  I mean, her child is because she forgot Mothers’ Day, but that’s neither here nor there.

What you need to do if you don’t have the time or brain function to come up with something thoughtful is to give her something that has the appearance of being thoughtful.

Mom’s love being told how great they are.  They’re vain like that.  So, my suggestion is to give her a card or note or whatever that tells her how you feel about her.  Now, this is likely quite difficult for you because you can’t think of a simple gift to give her, but that’s where I come in.  I have written a Mad Libs Mothers’ Day letter of sorts that’s just specific enough that she’ll expect you really did write it.  Just select the options in the letter that apply to you, hand write it yourself, and watch as she tears up with joy.

Mom,

Wow, what a (year/wild ride/crazy life) it has been.  I know I usually get you some kind of (fantastic/thoughtful/cheap 99 Cent Store) gift, but this year that didn’t seem to tell you exactly how I feel. Do you remember my (pick year or status) year of college when I was having problems with my (boyfriend/girlfriend/grades/career choice/sexual preference/acne/eating disorder/roommate constantly stealing my Double Stuf Oreos)?  I remember like it was yesterday when you called and told me (It gets better/Keep your head up/Everything’s gonna be alright, rockabye).  I hung up that phone feeling (much better/on top of the world/confused about why you quoted lyrics from Shawn Mullins’ “Lullaby”), and those words, mom… those words really (changed my life/stayed with me all these years/would look great embroidered on a pillow).  Anyway, I hope you have a fantastic Mothers’ Day and always remember that (I love you/You’re the best mom ever/I am the greatest gift you ever recieved).

Happy Mothers’ Day!

If that doesn’t trump every gift your mom receives, well… maybe you shouldn’t have written it in crayon, Maggie.

Happy Mothers’ Day to moms everywhere!  Except for Casey Anthony…

Mothers

If you seek wisdom or have any question you would like Jake to answer, email him at CupOFourtay@gmail.com with the subject “Free Advice Friday”.

Free Advice Friday: Sharing the DVR

Hey there, faithful readers!  Apologies for my absence, but I’m back and ready to improve your lives.  So, let’s go!

Jake,

My boyfriend and I often have disputes about what to DVR.  For example, on Sunday nights I like to record Game of Thrones and he records Army Wives AND Real Housewives of Atlanta, both of which conflict with Thrones, and when I go to watch, I see that he has canceled my recordings and kept his. We can’t seem to agree on how to handle this. Help!

Ginnifer S.

First of all, the way you spell your name is just obnoxious. Nonetheless, you seem like a nice person, and I’m going to help you out.

So, you can’t watch Game of Thrones because your boyfriend is DVRing Army Wives and Real Housewives of Atlanta? Sounds to me like you two need to have a bigger discussion that just what to DVR…

On one hand, you could get the Genie from DirecTV to solve your problems. Or the Hopper from Dish Network. I don’t really care which one you pick. Unless one of the two fine companies chooses to email me to work out some kind of deal… In which case I will gladly inform you of my endorsement.

But, I digress.

Ginny– Nope. I refuse to spell it that way… Jenny, I really think you just need to take charge of all DVR operations. I’m surprised you keep being pushed out on the recordings, because your BF sounds like the kind of guy you’ve had to explain to numerous times how to use it in the first place.

But, you need to put your foot down. I’m guessing you’re the one that wears the pants in the relationship. I may be wrong, but it sounds like your “man” is into more of a skinny jean or some kind of tasteful capri.

I know relationships are supposed to be all about give and take, but there are and should be exceptions to that rule. I’m sure you compromise with him all the time like when share your apricot exfoliating facial cream. But, there’s no reason you should have to do that with quality television.

So, that’s my advice. Take control of the DVR and tell him to deal with it. Also tell him to get his ass in the kitchen and make you a sandwich.

If you seek wisdom or have any question you would like Jake to answer, email him at CupOFourtay@gmail.com with the subject “Free Advice Friday”.