I missed the first little bit of the Super Bowl. But my five kids under 9 did not miss a second. When I popped back in I asked what I missed and one casually said, “Oh, just Travis Kelce screaming at his coach and pushing him around.” Ummmm, what?
I sighed, again, because I know what NFL players do might not have more weight than my own parenting, but it sure does carry some substantial weight. And I know that last weekend, I had to put out a fire with my own son pouting about a coach’s decision on the bench. So, Travis, can you help me out a bit?
Andy Reid wasn’t quite as mad about it, or at least didn’t show it to the country, and Kelce chalked his “apology” up to them being like brothers, or a father figure. “We’re good,” he said later, explaining that sometimes things get “wired” or heated.
But here’s the problem. Even if Reid and Kelce have some sort of personal agreement that screaming and pushing each other is okay to get what you want, the millions of little athletes out there headed into their own games tonight and next weekend don’t have that. What they do see is a role model freaking all the way out when he doesn’t get what he wanted, despite what might have been best for the team. It’s not the first time an NFL player has taught my kid to throw their helmet, get “big” on someone, or generally throw a tantrum when they didn’t get their way, terrible twos style.
I get it’s a show. I get it’s a game. But here’s the problem. Our kids see that interaction, but not the rest of the relationship to put it in context. In fact, the privacy of them resolving the issue even prevents it from being a true learning moment for kids.
Kids need to see coaches in a position of respect, and even though I genuinely believe Kelce does respect him, that’s not what he showed, and that’s now what the kids saw. And, of course, there’s no consequence, like actually being taken out, like there would be for my kids if they tried that. Instead, he gets put back in, he gets the ring, he gets the girl, and he even gets a little belly rub at the end to go with it. Then, of course, he gets to laugh off the whole incident.
“You guys saw that? I’m gonna keep it between us,” Kelce said during an interview on ESPN after the win. Yes, Travis, we saw that. So did my 9,7,5, and even 3-year-old boys. But at least we have a great meme to show for it.