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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Scariest Things Dad Has Ever Seen by Eli

What's the scariest thing you've ever seen, dad?

Grace, age 9, has epic timing.

She asked this question as I watched the quarterback Andrew Luck score on a 10-yard run to put the Indianapolis Colts up 33-14 on my Denver Broncos a few weeks ago. I gritted my teeth, ran my fingers through my hair, and answered, "right now, probably that run right there. That's dang scary."
As always, Grace's question got me thinking.
This, from the kid who's asked if I'd die for her, if cavemen are real, and if a woman who isn't married can get pregnant.
I know.
In the spirit of Halloween, here are just a few things that I've ever seen that are pretty downright scary.

Naked offensive linemen

The life of a sports writer has its perks, sure: Free access, free meals. Did I mention free meals? I act all grown up and professional, but the 12-year-old in me keeps saying "!" Until the lineman come out of the shower and walk to their lockers. I've learned this is a good time to stare at my shoes.

Fins, sticking out of the ocean waters

From a distance, I challenge you – any of you – to make a distinction between porpoise fins and tiger shark fins, especially when you're frolicking on a cheap paddleboard. I saw fins. I did what came naturally: I fled like a scared sea lion. Hey, at least I took you out of the water with me.

You, and any of your sisters, on big playgrounds

I hated this when you were toddlers. I have no problem sending you onto a soccer pitch to play against kids with sharp elbows (who know how to use them), but let you go, as a toddler, on a big-girl playground all by yourself? The thought of it gave me eye twitches and indigestion.

By far the scariest: You, on a stretcher

The day you suffered a concussion in a soccer game and had blurry vision? It felt surreal. It was like I was above you, watching the doctor administer concussion tests and medics strapping you to the gurney. Did you know it wasn't until I got in the car to follow you to the hospital that I cried?
So relieved you were fine, and back to your sweet and goofy self in a couple of days. Who else is going to ask me the questions you do? Doing this without you is pretty scary.
Scarier than NFL locker rooms and playful porpoises, that's for sure.  

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When he isn't answering questions about his arrest record (he has none!) or dealing with his own fears, Eli writes a blog about fatherhood, food and futbol, called Coach Daddy. Follow him on Twitter.


  1. When our kids are sick or hurt, this is truly the scariest thing in the world!

  2. I think even the *thought* of our kids sick or hurt can be scary enough!

  3. I will never forget the fear I felt when my oldest was born and didn't cry immediately. That was definitely one of the scariest moments of my life. And the relief I felt when she let out a monster wail? EPIC! As always, love your writing Eli! I'm right with you on fins in the water and the death trap known as the playground!

    1. That is scary - my second girl was blue when she was born, and no breathing. The nurse asked the doctor, "should I call the team?" he said no, gave her oxygen, and she turned pink. The wail was heavenly, as you well know.

      If I were president, I'd require all playgrounds to have 2 feet of pillows and foam around the base.

  4. She is a very clever girl to ask such questions! Be proud! I'll agree with the toddler playground scene. As Lil Mister pushes 3 years old's crazy how scary a slide can dangerous! But you had me in tears at the stretcher. I've had my son admitted un hospital for 5 days and I think I've never cried so much!