Holy Cow! How Harry Caray Made Me a Better Dad
~By Andy Goldstein, The Dadconteur
I’m a fairly new parent. I have two beautiful sons, the older born on Valentine’s Day of 2011 and the younger in March of this year. I know what you’re thinking. Was I sick the day they talked about sex and babies in health class? Perhaps I was. I tried to make up for it by reading stacks of books about pregnancy and parenting after conceiving our first, but nothing seemed to stick.
Then I had an epiphany. The parenting advice I was looking for wasn’t written in any book. I had already absorbed it all through television in the summer afternoons of my youth. That’s right — you guessed it — I learned everything I needed to know about parenting from Harry Caray. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Here’s a quick rundown of Harry Caray’s timeless parenting wisdom:
If you want something from your child and he or she is in no mood to comply, forget angrily counting to three. Instead, try Harry’s seventh inning stretch approach and belt out, “OK kid, let’s get something goin’ here! A one … a two … a three!” If this doesn’t yield results, the ridiculous amount of enthusiasm in your voice and sheer increase in volume may at least get you a laugh or two.
Speaking of rough singing voices, it doesn’t matter how good or bad your voice is, as Harry displayed during his many rousing renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” As long as you have fun and thoroughly enjoy singing to your kids, they will totally dig it. My voice makes One Direction sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but I love singing the alphabet and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to my boys as much as Harry loved singing to all of us. And my sons are thrilled with my performance every time.
Harry was completely uninhibited when rooting for his home team, and you should be the same. Whether you’re at the park, the playground, or reading time at the library, other parents need to know that your kids are the best, and you should root for them openly to succeed above all others. Take this lesson in jest, of course, but if executed well this strategy could score you a lucrative Budweiser endorsement like it did for Harry.
Harry once said that he trained himself to use his most famous expression, “Holy Cow!” to avoid accidentally using profanity on the air. I’ve tried to adopt this philosophy around my kids, but every time I slip a little and drop the teeniest little curse word instead of saying “Holy Cow,” it’s immediately followed by an automatic volcano of profanity in response, similar to the spewing that accompanies my falls over toys in the living room. This lesson is still a work in progress for me. Old habits die hard.
Harry wasn’t the only great broadcaster with the Caray name, of course. His late son, Skip, was a terrific broadcaster with the Atlanta Braves, and of course Harry’s grandson, Chip, also called Cubs games in his career. So the lesson here is that if you want your kids or grandkids to follow in your footsteps, show them how much you love what you do.
Stay tuned for future Cubby-inspired parenting installments, such as “All I Really Need to Know about Teaching My Kid to Throw a Baseball 190 mph I Learned from Shawon Dunston.”
Andy is the mastermind behind the hilarious and insightful blog The Dadconteur.