Thursday, May 24, 2007

Varsity Dad: The OFFICIAL Launch launches: After more than four months of test-posts and other distractions (like the parenthood that inspired it), I would like to announce the "official" launch of my new blog project, Varsity Dad.

( For convenient viewing, bookmark it and/or add it to your RSS feed:

Varsity Dad is dedicated to the intersection of sports and parenting. The mission is simple yet critical to so many of us: How to raise a great sports fan.

(That's right: Don't expect discussion of how to raise some kind of super-athlete -- unless I'm mocking. In short: I'll take youth-sports participation for the fun of it plus all-star sports-fan status, rather than the other way around.)

Here's the blog's original post that lays out what I'm trying to do and why I'm doing it. As you'll see from the nearly 50 posts already in the archive, I have stuck to and strayed from any sort of strict premise in equal parts. (Yes, I recognize I have been quietly promoting Varsity Dad posts here for a few months now. The difference between "soft" and "official" launches of a blog? Eh: Level of self-promotion.)

So: Whether you have a kid yourself or can simply relate from your own experiences growing up, you're invited to check out Varsity Dad. And, as always, please forward along to any friends you know who might like it.

Thanks, and if Varsity Dad is of interest to you, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy putting it together. We'll see where it goes.

(P.S.: The new blog won't affect my output on this blog in the least. Some of you might ask: "What 'output?' That one post a day?" And I tip my hat to you for that.)

Just to show the Varsity Dad commenters how it's done (and because a slow day like this needs a big question), I'd like to throw out a Varsity Dad-related question to this blog's commenters. It's something we've talked about before, but it's always an epic comment string:

What is your strongest team allegiance and where did it come from: Parents' influence? Geography? Some impact memory from childhood? Alma mater? (Um, by marriage, like some kind of LOSER? Yes, beat you to it...)

-- D.S.


I'm not lazy, I'm an effort minimization expert. said...

Until last year, I would say Denver Broncos - since I mostly grew up in Denver during the '80s and '90s. From the lean Morton and BeBerg years, through the Sammy Winders and Gerald Wilhites, and finally, to Super Bowl Glory (TD validates Elway!!) But now, I have to go with a very Shanoff-like marriage allegiance. Go Badger Hoops (hard to even follow other sports in the Fall when the new father-in-law is the coach.)

John said...

Mine is the Buffalo Bills and it came from childhood memories. Jim Kelly, the K-Gun offense, those Super Bowl losses. We never lived close to Buffalo, my parents are Steelers and Giants fans and I still love the Bills. (Yes, I'm pretty young.)

Danielle said...

THE Ohio State Buckeyes....I am from New Hampshire but my dad and his family are from Columbus and they live and die by the Buckeyes. Myself and all my siblings were told since we were very young that we would be shamelessly devoted to the Buckeyes and hate Michigan with unending passion.

Clinton (Indianapolis) said...

Purdue Boilermakers...that's where my parents met, so all things Purdue were prevalent in the house growing up.

My other sports allegiances (Cincinnati Reds, Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Colts) are all geographical, i.e. those were the closest major league teams to where I was born and raised.

Thart said...


If you hadn't heard...

Batgirl the Twins blogger has decided to hang up her keyboard and mouse. She posted yesterday this news.

Unknown said...

Miami University Redhawk

My alma mater.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

New York Mets. My parents took me to my first game when I was less than a month old because our apartment had no AC, and they figured if they were gonna be hot and sweaty, they might as well watch a baseball game while they were at it.

Geoff said...

It would have to be Michigan. I grew up spending every Saturday with my dad watching Michigan football games and we watched most of the Michigan basketball games. That kind of thing sticks with you.

BD said...

I grew up a Badger fan as aresult of living in WI, and having a Dad who went to Madison. I am proud to now be an Indiana Hoosier fan, my alma mater. I really don't understand how someone can't feel a greater connection to their school, where lets face it you had the best time of your life, as opposed to some professional team full of millionaires woned by billionaires.

CoCo said...

My strongest allegiance is to the New York Yankees. My dad is a Yankee fan and since I'm a daddy's girl I had to be a Yankee fan. I grew up in Alabama and as you know we don't have a pro team (unless you count Auburn and Alabama) so I could root for whomever I wanted to. It's the Yankees all the way!

Corey said...

Texas A&M football. Grew up an Aggie fan, despite no on in my family (prior to my generation) attended A&M. We just all hated UT. Then my brother and most of my cousins went there, followed by me some time later. Late 80's and early 90's were some good years for A&M football, we dominated UT (and the late-SWC) for most of that stretch.

Next would be Dallas Cowboys. Born in '77, I missed the great 70's teams, and was way too young to suffer the dejection of "The Catch" against the Niners in '80. Had to deal with some really crappy late-80's teams, and then watch them completely turn it around under Jerry & Jimmy. Jerry sure has tried my patientence the past 10 years or so, but I am still loyal. Besides, I live in Houston now, and who can really get behinde the Texans?

CMFost said...

Mine is part Geographic and part love of sports that my Father and Grandfather gave me by taking me to games and playing sports.

Red Sox
Braves(my Grandfather use to tell me about when we had 2 teams in Boston)
49ers - My parents used to live in San Fran.

J Fitty said...

Growing up in Fairfax Virginia, my strongest allegiances are my "hometown" teams...
Bullets (yes, they will always be the Bullets to me)
DC United
Georgetown and Maryland hoops

Because it's my wife's alma mater (and we have season tix) Virginia Tech football

Because it's my dad's alma mater...Wisconsin football and hoops

My alma mater...The Tribe of William and Mary

k said...

For the NFL it's the Redskins as I grew up in DC and was a wee girl when Riggins told Sandra Day O'Connor to lighten up. That sort of thing, and winning! winning! stays with you.

The last two days are apparently what I needed (after 7 years of living in Portland) to become a Blazers fan. Greg Oden! At PDX! On the front page! Above the fold!

pv845 said...

Pittsburg State Football. Winniest D2 program in the nineties. Allegiance comes from being a 3rd generation player with uncles and cousins that have or are playing there. Nothing like hearing the Pride of the Plains Marching Band making fun of the other team's gooseegg on the board. As much fun as going to 120k games is in CFB, I still would take 12000 of my closest friends cheering at PSU games.

Hostyle Takeover said...
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Hostyle Takeover said...

My allegiance (and its a tough one to maintain) to the Northwestern Wildcats basketball team comes from two years I spent as a manager for the team during my time as an undergraduate. Spending that much time at practice and on the road with the team and I can't help but pull for the them to finally make it to the dance one day soon.

Other than that, I attribute my professional sports allegiances to cable television, the WGN superstation, and the prospect of catching some afternoon baseball when I got home from school growing up - that's right, my other allegiance to a nearly equally futile team lies with the Chicago Cubs.

Matt T said...

Atlanta Braves - before I moved to Atlanta, I lived in VA Beach, with no pro teams, but we got TBS, so I got to watch the Braves all the time and came to love them.

UGA - where I got my degree and marched for 4 years.

Chris said...

Florida Gators! Except, unlike some, I was born and bred. I come from four generations of Gators and grew up in the Spurrier era with a hero worship of Danny Wuerffel.

I just graduated from UF, living as a student through the lows of the Zook era to the highs of Billy and Urban. Luckily, I met my fiance at school, so our future kids are destined to be Gators.

Chris said...

Most of the teams I am a fan of are geographically based and since I'm a resident of PA they are as follows:


Now I'm also a fan of the Red Sox and unlike Shanoff (and his Gator slurping) I didn't jump on their bandwagon in the past few years. I was raised on tales of Yaz and Ted Williams from my father. Since I was old enough to walk we would travel to Baltimore every year to catch a weekend series vs. The Sox. While I do root for the Pirates in the NL I'll always love the Red Sox thanks to my dad.

Last but not least, the team I root for most of all in every sport is Penn State. Why? Because I'm an alum of the school. My wife is an alum of Maryland but I would never jump on the Terp basketball bandwagon even though PSU's basketball programs is almost completely irrelevant. I still root for the PSU hoops team as well as any other sport they play. You take the good with the bad. Well, unless, your Dan, then you shun your school to jump on another schools bandwagon. That isn't be a fan, that is being a total poser.

bird said...

First, last, and always: the Gators! I became a UF fan way back when I was in middle school (in those days, it was junior high) and there was an annual junior varsity (anyone old enough to remember junior varsity in college sports?) football game between the University of Florida and the University of Miami. These shindigs took place at ye olde Orange Bowl, and just about every youth group in South Florida got tickets for the game. Playing quarterback for the Gators JV that year was one Steve Spurrier! After that, it was a foregone conclusion for me that I would (a) attend the University of Florida, and (b) be a Gators fan for life! My Gatorhood is also enhanced by the fact that so many of my family members are very proud Gators!

kway34 said...

The Ohio State Buckeyes. Both my parents went there and I grew up near Columbus watching them every Saturday and going to games at the 'Shoe.

Following closely is my alma mater Ohio University. While I root for the Bobcats, they are unable to match the live and die nature of my allegiance to the Buckeyes.

Can't tell you how I ended up as a Bengals fan...apparently I needed some punishment.

ndyanksfan05 said...

geography - Yanks, giants, rangers
alumni - ND
other - Sabres (not when they play the rangers and only to see Drury tear it up as he went to my high school)
NBA sucks and I have no allegiance since the strike.

Anonymous said...

Born in Birmingham, Alabama the day before #1 vs. #2 battle (USC & ALA) in 1978...back then every child in Birmingham got a mini-Crimson Tide football...even though our family lived there for 18 months I kept that football forever and despite growing up in the heart of Ohio State country remained an Alabama fan (for better or worse) to this day!

Sheldiz said...

My strongest allegiance is probably to the Ravens... followed closely by Villanova, the O's, and Maryland.

Not a banner year for any of my teams so far.

Larry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheldiz said...

oh, i forgot one... Tennessee Football. I went through a Peyton Manning phase when he was there and it just stuck.

Larry said...

Montreal Expos (still, but not the Nationals; because if I don't root for the Expos, who will?). 1978. Ross Grimsley's hair on a baseball card. Loved it. Got a perm myself.

UNC, via Atlanta Falcons (I lived in ATL from 1st-3rd grades; saw my first NFL games in Fulton-County Stadium). My favorite player was Buddy Curry. His alma mater was UNC. Thus, I was a UNC fan. I'm thankful for Buddy Curry, because rooting for UNC helped off-set the pain of rooting for the Expos and Falcons.

PhilCatelinet said...

It's part geographic and part parental influence. I got my Steelers and Pirates allegiances from my parents. My father grew up in Pittsburgh and my mom not far from there. They both went to college in Pittsburgh. I may have been swaddled in a Terrible Towel.

Natsfan74 said...

My sports loyalty knows no bounds -- georgraphically or otherwise.

College -- tOSU (grew up going to games there), West Point (alumni), and now Virginia (have season tickets, wife went there).
Baseball -- CUBS -- always the Cubs (spent summers with grandparents in Chicago), and now the Nats (I have season tickets)
Hockey -- St. Louis Blues (went to HS in St. Louis when I learned about hockey)
NFL -- Raiders. I was 5 during Super Bowl XV. I pretended to be asleep on the couch so I could keep watching the game. The Raiders won, I was hooked for life.

ToddTheJackass said...

I grew up in Southern California but never had any geographical loyalties... so when I moved to Boston for school (Go BC), I went with the regional teams. I was a Red Sox fan before I came out here, but a huge part of that was that my dad's a Yankees fan, and I loved Nomar and Pedro. So moving 3,000 miles away and becoming a huge Red Sox fan only made sense.

I still have a hard time rooting for the Pats though, since I hated Drew Bledsoe and since I've been in Boston, they've won 3 Super Bowls. So I don't feel right about cheering for them with all my heart just yet.

So my loyalties are:
#1 Red Sox
#2 Any team playing against the Yankees
#3 BC Basketball
#4 BC Football
#5 BC Hockey

I also get along really well with Mets fans too, since they hate the Yankees too.

marcomarco said...

How about a shout out to the MMA "fight of the year" this saturday?

Chuck Liddell vs. Quinton Jackson

UFC 71


BLT said...

My allegiances come from not wanting to cheer for the same teams as my brother. He is a Michigan fan, I'm for the Irish. He is a Lions fan, I'm for the Packers. He is a Dodgers fan, I'm a A's fan. He is a Sonics fan, I'm a Nuggets fan.

I think most of you will be able to tell the exact dates when those happened.


ToddTheJackass said...

Umm... Dan... we beat you to the "being a loser" by vicariously rooting through your wife thing a long, long time ago.

Brother Squin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brother Squin said...

My dad taught me basketball using Russell, Cousey and Hondo as examples of how to play, thusly I grew up a Boston Celtics fan, but out here in California. It was a little difficult, but my first year that I really remember basketball on TV was 1986, the last of the C's championships. Yeah, some really lean years since, but every team goes through that.



Brian in Oxford said...

I'm a geographically-determined fan.

Red Sox (since late July '78, actually...Mom had a game on her TV)
Bruins (with a sabbatical after the Whalers came into the NHL in '79, only to pick them back up in '97)

Teams on local TV - radio all the time...although the Celtics were the preeminent team back in the day, that couldn't have mattered, since the Pats were only slightly above average at best of the time.

Not A Gunslinger said...


What "output?" That one post a day?

mirthywvu said...

Without a doubt mine is the West Virginia Mountaineers...even though my parents were both born and raised in Pittsburgh, they raised me for the first 13 years of my life in WVa and I grew up watching Major Harris redefining the QB position. I moved to PA when I was 13, but always have come back to WVa, going to WVU and I consider it my home. And even though I teach in the city of Pittsburgh, I still proudly have my flying WV huge and displayed on my classroom door!

Unknown said...

In order of importance:

1 - Jets - started in 1993 cause i hated dan reeves and phil simms
2 - Devils - hometown team, and first Fan Championship
3 - Mets - mainly to bug my parents, who adopted the yankees when they moved to NY in the mid 70s
4 - Rider University Basketball - my alma mater
5 - Rutgers football - bit of a bandwagon choice since they've stunk until last year. but Rider doesn't have a football team and rutgers is the closest program.

Unknown said...

Jumping in late although nobody is going to read this.

Yankees were my first love as a young child just because everyone else was a Met fan. However, I will root for the Mets now unless they play each other. I am more of a Jets fan than Giants. Basically just root for all the NY teams except for the Knicks lately since Isiah became GM and coach.

College I root for Syracuse since I lived there and got my Masters from there. I'll root for Cornell, my alma matter, when I get the chance. Since they are in the lacrosse final 4 this weekend - Go Big Red!

Rickey said...

Rickey's seriously looking forward to dipping his balls in this blog on a regular basis.

Mikepcfl said...

Come on Dan making a Friday post. You have no idea how bored I am at work today. It is DEAD!

holtzab said...

My parents grew up in Detroit, and I was born there, so I'm a die-hard Detroit sports fan. Even though we moved away when I was 5, my parents made sure I cheered for the Wings, Tigers, Lions and Pistons.

I grew up mostly near Cincinnati, so my (distant) second choices are the Reds and Bengals. I'm more of a Buckeyes fan than a Michigan fan.

And of course I always root for my alma mater, Miami University.

German Rodriguez said...

That would be the Mets; growing up in Queens, I lived down the block from this kid, who I ultimately was very good friends with, who was a huge Yankee fan. After some kind of argument (the kind only 6 year olds can have), I needed some way to needle him. I picked up a baseball bat and took a clean swing and said "that's a George Foster swing," then I took a wild crazy, swing and proclaimed "and that was Don Mattingly!"

In hindsight it was 1985 and I probably could have made a better choice than George Foster, but it was the first name that popped into my head. My goal of getting in this kid's head was accomplished, and I had the mets to thank for it...and so a fan is born.

FreKy J said...

The Varsity Dad thing is a neat idea, but c'mon.. Dan can't even hardly keep up with his own blog, so he decides to add another one?

You're as bad as the US Government trying to blow up Iraq before Afghanistan is finished burning.

thistlewarrior said...

I am most die-hard w/the Bengals. It started as proximity, but it developed well despite the fact that my dad is a Browns fan. I grew up a Reds fan b/c of both my dad and location. My parents started taking me to games when I was just a toddler and my dad always (& still does) tells me stories about the Reds from his childhood and old Crosley.

My Michigan fandom more stems from just wanting to be different & my general dispisal of John Cooper. And of course I will always support my alma mater Western KY.

Jen said...

I'm the most "die-hard" Buckeyes fan. My mom spent the longest time of her childhood (Grandpa got relocated a few times) in Columbus and was an huge Buckeyes fan. I met my husband who is also a die-hard fan, so it clicked. Now our 2-1/2 year old already knows their fight song and can recognize their logo and loves Brutus the Buckeye.

I am definitely a faithful hometown team fan too. Browns, all through the rough years of The Drive, The Fumble, Art the Ass Modell. I love the Indians, moreso during the nineties (only to get my heart broken with them too) and even the Cavs, even though I hate the NBA.

Like someone else posted, I will always cheer long and hard for Ohio University, my alma mater, but they just don't have much to cheer about--except a beautiful campus, great bars, and the best memories. And yes, my son just wore a "Property of Ohio University" tee yesterday, so we will give him a choice come college time.

I knew the Notre Dame fight song when I was three, thanks to my wonderful Grandma who just passed away in March. She had a tape recorder with a microphone and would record me singing it. When we'd go visit them in Indiana, we'd always go to the campus. My brother wanted to go there until he realized that you had to have great grades to get in. He went to UD instead! ha

I give huge props to my mom, who as a single mom, would take us to Indians and Browns games as kids. She definitely instilled the love of sports in me. I sound like a guy when I watch sports on TV. I'm always in the room with the TV at a party, especially during football season.

Sorry for the long post! I just love being a sports fan...I sure hope my son plays at least ONE sport I'm interested in! HA