Give me Jordan, Bird, or Magic at the peak of their careers - none of them could have beat my dad's go-to move in H.O.R.S.E. on our driveway hoop and wooden backboard. Clad in a straight brim mesh ball cap, shades, dungarees, and a v-neck sweater, the guy we affectionately called (and continue to call) "Clark" had a banking hook shot that never missed as long as he was smoking a cigar and holding a glass of wine in his left hand at the same time.
I can appreciate my dad's style and hoop skills now but my 13 year-old self was a little less tolerant. For me, public appearances with my parents as an adolescent were as comfortable as walking onto a stage during a school assembly with my fly down or toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
Waiting for Clark to pick me up from little league practice one day, I stood in horror when he arrived wearing a "wife beater" undershirt (way before it was fashionable) and dark socks (again before it was fashionable) with shorts. Hoping that the guys would not be around to witness me entering the family truckster, I ran back to the dugout looking for a batting glove I had not forgotten. Still, one of my teammates recognized my dad. Clark was waving and yelling to get my attention. My cover blown and my senses mortified, I slouched into the car and questioned Clark about his sock selection.
When does that switch flip when dads suddenly become so not cool? That can't possibly happen to me, right? I'm cutting edge. I'm a fashionista. I shop at thrift stores. Maybe I'm not a hipster, but I'm still pretty cool - I think.
Alright, I'm beginning to understand. While there are mostly positive side effects to a man's skill set that accompany fatherhood (old man strength, unquestioned sporting of mustaches, mastery of cooking breakfast), becoming uncool is just a momentary hiccup in the course of a dad's relationship with his kids. It's just a temporary stage. Like Madonna's British accent.
Fortunately, I have an expert whom I love and respect dearly to prepare me for the challenge. Hey Clark! Pass me the ball and lend me a v-neck. I need to practice that hook shot.