Necessary background fact 1: Fury plays youth lacrosse.
Necessary background fact 2: I'm not a sports dad, but I have this thing for focus and heart. As long as you try your ass off, even if you suck, I'm good. I've not been "good" at Fury's games.
Necessary background fact 3: As much as I want to fix #2, I don't want to push too hard and take the fun out of lacrosse for him.
Necessary background fact 4: Earlier this year, we took Fury to a collegiate lacrosse game to show him what it looks like when it all comes together. He ran into a kid who brought bubbles and spent the entire time chasing bubbles.
Onto the post...
On Saturday afternoon, Fury and I came across the NCAA lacrosse semi-finals while channel surfing. Knowing that he would never sit through an entire game, I offered this up:
"Fury, I know you want to watch other stuff, but I want you just to watch 10 minutes of this, so you can see real lacrosse in action."
whine, whine, whiney, oh maaaan!! this is boring!! whine whine etc etc...
"Fury, it's just 10 minutes. I'm making you watch just TEN minutes."
whine, whine, whiney, I don't care about watching unless I'm in it... whine whine etc etc...
"Fury. 10 minutes. And stop whining. If you say one more word, I promise you will hate your life. You will say nothing, starting in 3, 2, 1..."
"But Daaad I..."
"Enjoy the game, Fury. The entire game. And the next one too."
Yes, I realized that this move would kill background fact #3, and Fury would forever hate lacrosse. But I was over it. Hell, I've never even played lacrosse. I have no ties to the sport. And I was more than ok throwing it under the bus to show him that I mean business when I say stop whining.
In the past, our punishments have always involved taking something away from Fury. Problem is, the kid is a master at finding ways to entertain himself. No computer? I'll play Legos. No TV? I'll draw. No Toys? I'll read. But this time? He was suffering. There he sat. No toys, no Nintendo DS, no books, and 3 hours of NCAA lacrosse action to look forward to.
He was miserable. He was writhing in agony. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling a little smug.
Fury was lucky that the first game we watched was down to the last 5 minutes. That meant only a 30 minute pre-game show for Duke vs Virginia, followed by the game itself.
With tears of frustration, a broken spirit and what seemed like 3 lifetimes, we eventually made it to the second half of the game. A minute into the 3rd quarter, Virginia was leading Duke 8-5.
But then something happened.
Duke scored. Then scored again. And again. And again. And Fury sat up.
Then Duke scored once again. And Fury cheered.
Then Duke scored two more times. And Fury left the room.
When I caught up to him, Fury was in our bedroom, talking to mom. "... and then they tied it, and then they kept on scoring! Like 7 goals in a row!"
Then he ran back to the living room. "Dad, can I have some almonds?" I grabbed a bag of smoked almonds for him and cracked open a beer for me.
And then began the nail biting. After Duke's 7 unanswered goals earned them a comfortable 12-8 lead, Virginia struck back with a rally of their own, scoring 3 in a row to cut Duke's lead down to 1. At this point Fury was yelling "noooo!!"
"So, Fury, you like Duke, eh?"
"Yeah! I like their team name better!"
Good enough for me. Also, neither of us were sitting at that point.
With 1:21 left in the game, it was tied 12-12.
And it stayed that way until Duke sealed Virginia's fate with a goal at the 12 second mark. With cheers and fists pumping, Fury finished out the last 10 seconds of his punishment.
"Ok, Fury, you're done!"
"Dad, that was the best punishment I ever had! And I need you to record my next punishment."
I had no idea what that meant. "Huh?"
"The championship game on Monday. I want you to record it for me."
As I set the DVR I realized, you don't always have to succeed to win.