Playing or following sports is an excellent way for
a Stay-At-Home-Dad to keep in touch with his Inner
Gladiator. Before a man runs out and joins the
nearest croquet league or buys a game-worn jersey
of his favorite bowler, he should first analyze the
sport to see if it qualifies as Manly. Some do
Running. Running is not a sport. It is exercise.
Exercise is work.
Work, in this context, is bad. Track and field
events have similarities to both gladiatorial games
and caveman activities, but running is just too
hard to be any fun. The biggest flaw in running is
that there is no goal. You run in order to run.
Its a futile cycle. You can compete in races,
where the object is to run faster than everyone
else, but that is not much different than running
alone. You cant even touch another
competitor, much less hit them, so that element is
completely missing. You do sweat when you run, so
thats a good thing.
Bicycling. I have enormous respect for Lance
Armstrong, but until the Tour deFrance allows a
demolition derby category, biking does not work.
Bikes are useful for going to the store, going on a
stroll, or just exercising (see above). While all
of these are valuable, they are not Manly Sports.
Besides, those little seats and spandex pants can
make things really uncomfortable.
Bowling. I have heard that there are more
bowling alleys in Michigan than any other state.
There are also more golf courses. That does not
bode well for the Wolverine State because bowling
does not measure up as a Manly sport. It does have
contact. The ball smashes into the pins and they go
flying in every direction. However, the bowler is
not touching the ball when it does its damage. The
ball probably has a great time demolishing the tidy
pyramid of pins, but the person bowling has already
relinquished control over it. The competitive
strategy is too simple to count: knock down more
pins than your opponent. You do have to aim
properly to pick up a spare, but that is
competition with the pins, not your opponent.
The only redeemable feature is the ability to
trash talk. The strutting and dancing that bowlers
do in the faces of their enemies can be beautiful
things. However, that alone is not enough to bring
it up to the level of Manly.
Croquet. Any activity you can play while
listening to the theme to Masterpiece
Theatre cannot be Manly. Yes, there is a
mallet, but the restraint you have to employ when
using is emasculating enough. You are allowed to
wallop your opponents balls out of play, but
you cannot gloat about it afterwards. Overall, this
might be the un-Manliest sport there
Golf. This is a difficult game to categorize as
a hunting or fighting game. However, so many men
play it, there must be something there. We simply
have to think outside the playing field. The object
of golf is to use a club (think weapon) to hit a
ball into a target. This is very similar to an
artillery crew attempting to knock out an
enemys position. The differences are that
innocent people usually arent killed if you
slice, and no one is shooting back at you when you
are lining up your putt.
Golf has three major drawbacks. First, it is not
essentially competitive. You could play it all by
yourself, so there would be no victory. Secondly,
golf etiquette prohibits trash talk. You are not
allowed to get into the face of your opponent when
he chokes and misses an important putt. That takes
out a lot of the fun.
Finally, the better you get at golf, the fewer
opportunities you get to hit the ball. In fact, the
winner is the one with the lowest score. What is up
* * *
Women, it's true, make human beings, but
only men can make men. - Margaret Mead
Phillips is a Stay-At-Home-Dad and freelance
writer. Along with raising his four children, he is
developing a franchise called The Vacuum IS a
Power Tool. It is designed to help SAHDs
maintain that which makes us men, instead of hairy
Mom-substitutes. He earned a B.S. in
Communication/Theatre Arts and teaching
certificates in English, public speaking, and
psychology from Eastern Michigan University. After
six years as a high school English teacher and
Director of Dramatic Arts at Powers Catholic High
School in Flint, Michigan, he changed careers and
became a Stay-At-Home-Dad. www.TheVacuumIsAPowerTool.com
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