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Fathers and Sons

My son, Jack, was very, very, happy. He’s not much of a trash talker. Rather, he carries himself with a quiet resolve. But you couldn’t wipe that grin off his face. For the first time ever, he beat me in a game of one-on-one basketball (I need to stress here that it was one game out of three. I still beat him overall that day − and yes, I am aware that the mere fact that I felt it necessary to state that speaks volumes in and of itself).

But the writing's on the wall. I only beat him because I’m about five inches taller than him and I outweigh him by over 80 pounds. He’s super quick and is a far, far better ball handler than I ever was. And I was trying… really, really hard (not “Great Santini” hard, but you get the picture).

So it won’t be long until he beats me regularly, and then has the difficult decision to make, whether or not to throw a game or two to spare my ego. He might. He’s very thoughtful. But I hope he doesn’t. My philosophy in this regard comes from my father, who didn’t really care for games, but never went easy on me on those rare occasions he did play. Like him, I always play to win.

Even so, as a father, I hope and pray that my kids excel beyond me in every way possible. It’s okay if Jack is a better basketball player than me. It’s more than okay that my other son, Bram, is a black belt in karate (and very close to becoming a second degree black belt) − something well beyond my capabilities.

I love that all my kids’ school marks are higher than mine were (though not my wife’s… and despite my suspicion that the Toronto District School Board has been inflating averages). The one sore spot is height. I have mixed feelings about that. I’m 5’11 ¾” (so easily, 6’ tall if I had any hair left on top...alas). Bram is 17 years old and about an inch shorter; so he might squeak past me. And Jack, who’ll be 14 this month, has lots of time to catch up. As a father, I want my sons to be tall and strong. I just don’t want them looking down at me until maybe I’ve shrunk a bit from old age. There’s some serious psychological subtext that I don’t want them to be literally “bigger men than I”.

In the March issue of Tonic, there’s lots of great information on how you can be bigger men (and women). Marni Wasserman writes about superfoods for super men (p.37). Carlyle Jansen discusses erectile dysfunction and ways to keep “it” up (p. 26). Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant question whether a man’s diet needs to include meat (p.35). And, speaking of food, Naomi Bussin provides some great resources for those wishing to stretch their grocery budgets and still cook interesting meals (p. 12). As always, if my raging egotism of this note has put you off, or if you’d like to discuss anything else in this issue of Tonic, please feel free to contact me.

P.S. The best outdoor yoga festival in Toronto, OmT.O., is back! Save the date: Sunday, June 19. Over the coming months, we’ll be telling you all the new initiatives for the day. For now, mark it in your calendar and tell your friends.