Arizona Cardinals fans are used to disappointment. Unless you’re a bandwagon fan, rooting for the Big Red is an exercise in patience and loyalty, and it does some pretty funky stuff to the cardiac health of half the county. But teaching a kid to be devoted to one team — in good times and in bad — is a classic father-to-child legacy.
For one thing, a solid allegiance to one team makes your family easy to shop for at Christmas and on birthdays. It also provides a convenient, pre-determined color scheme for that guest bedroom you’ve always wanted to paint (disclaimer: common sense requires that you get your wife’s approval before starting this project). But I think that the greatest benefit for teaching team loyalty is that it models for your kids the value of sticking with something or someone even when things get rough.
In today’s world of feelings first, the practice of sticking with something or someone even when you don’t feel like it is really losing ground. Loyalty is a lost art form, and a lack of loyalty in life negatively affects marriages, friendships, and work. Now I’m not saying that being a loyal L.A. Clippers fan is automatically going to make your child into a better spouse, friend, or co-worker, but that sort of die-hard loyalty is an important character trait in raising happy children.
The fact is that sports are a good model of how life is. Sometimes things are going well and you’re on top of the world, other times you can’t get a win no matter how bad you want it (Colts fans, can I get an amen?). No marriage is awesome all the time. Your friends will let you down. Work is going to burn you out from time to time. The true measure of one’s character is how tough times are handled, so why not be intentional about laying the groundwork for raising a loyal kid early on?