He loves football, for example, but if you say to him, "Hey Curt, do you want to go to the Blaze game?" he'll not only say that he doesn't want to go but rather "I never want to go to the Blaze game. Ever." After being rather stoic about it and then even aggressive (one of his favorite things is to crumple stuff up, like football tickets, right in front of your face in dramatic fashion), he'll usual give in and go. And then have a great time. (Though he'll never let you see him smile.)
He also loves playing baseball. But after hinting around about him playing in the summer tee ball league, we knew that he was not going to participate of his own free will. So we pulled out one of our favorite parenting tools: trickery.
We decided we simply wouldn't tell him that he was playing tee ball until we showed up for his first game. We were about a day away from a winning strategy when our plan was foiled by his cousin and teammate saying, "I'll see you at tee ball tomorrow, Curtis."
We thought he would go into his usual rage. But it was way worse. He started crying. Real tears. Real enormous, heart wrenching tears. He told us he was too scared to play tee ball. And despite our best efforts, he was unconsable.
We finally had him calmed down by bedtime. But then around 10:30 p.m. he came wandering back downstairs. "Dad, I'm scared about tee ball."
"What are you scared about?"
"I'm scared about the pitching."
"Well, it's your lucky day. In tee ball there is no pitching. You just hit it off the tee."
His eyes lit up.
"Well, maybe I'll play tee ball."
By this morning he was 100% onboard. And when we showed up at the field and he saw that his uniform was a Salt Lake Bees hat and t-shirt, he was nearly ecstatic (in a Curtis sort of way).
He played and had a great time. Then the first thing he wanted to do when he got home was to play baseball in the backyard. I happily obliged.
When we were in the backyard he said to me, "Which do you think is my favorite sport, Dad? Soccer or tee ball?"
"Is it tee ball?"
"Yes! But my favorite sports are soccer and tee ball!"
It was a good day to be a sports dad.