You have a blog called Varsity Dad. What happens if your son decides not to be a Florida fan, or even not a sports fan?
As I typed out my answer, I felt like reprinting it here was the right way to kick of 2008 on VarsityDad.com. I have included the response in full, and I'd be curious for your take on it in the Comments.
Paying more attention to Varsity Dad is one of my biggest resolutions of 2008, because I think there's so much potential there -- and the reaction I got from fans who double as parents was so positive when I launched the site last spring.
And my own experience raising a sports fan is just now getting interesting. My son just turned 19 months and for the first 18 months, he basically sat around. Oh, sure, I could put him in a Florida jersey my in-laws bought him, but that was about it. In the last month, he has taken to shouting "Go Tebow!" -- at virtually everything. Now I can't shut it off, and it's like I created a monster. This is the hazard of imposing your sports fandom on your kid.
If my own experience over the last 6 years in becoming a Florida fan so late in life has taught me anything, it is that it is incredibly important for my kid to create his own sports allegiances, mindfully.
On the other hand, I recognize the limitations of my own fan situation – and the pivotal role that fandom can play when it starts in childhood, particularly through a relationship with a parent. Mostly, I have learned to be incredibly tolerant of anyone's current fan allegiance -- no matter how (or when) they arrived at it. Sincerity is where the authenticity comes from.
Sidebar: Take this "Pink Hat" civil war that the self-obsessed Boston sports fans got into over Red Sox fans. My favorite part is the way the Red Sox "die-hards" mocked the "Pink Hats"... as if ANY of them gave a rat's ass about the Patriots until the Pats won their first Super Bowl. If they say they did, they're lying or fooling themselves. And they gave up on the Celtics, too, right up until they traded for KG. Now, it's like they never abandoned the team (even though they all did). I just find it ludicrous that anyone would feel so insecure about their own fandom that they would make competing with others in the same fan base – who generally aren't competing back – into such a large part of their fandom. It's kind of pathetic, actually.
That's a roundabout way of saying: My son can root for Florida or not. I'm certainly not one to judge. (My wife, on the other hand, as a Florida lifer, would like to see him be a Florida die-hard forever. If he became a Georgia or FSU fan, I think she might disown him.)
However, I do think a parent and child who share the same fan appreciation and affiliation can create some very special memories together that transcend sports fandom and become integral to the relationship itself.
Now, if he didn't like sports at all? Tougher question. I actually think there's a certain minimum level of sports interest that anyone/everyone should have in order to simply function in society – particularly "guy society." Being able to talk about sports is social currency -- perhaps its most potent form.
I would much rather Gabe become a restrained polymath than a sports nut, to be honest. If he ends up a sports nut, that's great, but I hope he takes the time to try to understand other things.