What My Daughter Taught Me When She Punched Me Out


Generally when I compete against my kids I don't always play to win. During foot races I tend to slow down at the end so that we tie. If playing cards or a board game, I point out their mistakes and give them "do-overs" and use it as a teachable moment ("had you moved your Knight there you could have taken out my King").

It's not that I am not a competitive person. At work, I want to be the best. As a parent, I keep waiting to get the World's Greatest Dad trophy. When I play video games, I get excited when I move on to a new level of Candy Crush.

Yet with sports, I am more into the love of the game and the enjoyment of playing. When playing team sports, I don't get stressed out if I lose. Perhaps it comes from the fact that I wasn't the best at hockey or baseball and that I would take a lot of crap from the other kids who were faster, more coordinated and more talented than I was.

So when it comes to my kids - especially my girls - I have a huge soft spot for them especially when competing. I am sensitive to their feelings. I don't want to crush their spirit or discourage them. I don't want them to give up before they have begun.

And it's because of that soft spot that I got my a#$ kicked.

I first came to the dawning realization that my kids did not play by the same rule book as me when I competed against my 9 year old daughter in a game of Punch-Out!! on the Wii. For those of you who don't know it - Punch-Out!! is a boxing game that was released over 30 years ago. In the game, you play an up-and-coming boxer named Little Mac who fights his way to become the heavyweight champ.

As a kid, I was pretty decent at the game and that, plus the Rocky movies, got me into boxing, a sport that I dabble in to this day (though mostly with a heavy bag in the basement). Needless to say, when I played the game head-to-head against my daughter, Veruca, I considered myself to have an advantage.

As soon as the bell rang to mark the first round, I let Veruca's fighter hit me a couple of times. Just to get used to things. And then when I went to hit her back, not only did I miss but she hit me in the stomach. Then she kept hitting me until I went down for a 3-count.

Figuring the lesson was over I tried to fight back, but it was no use. She was just way too fast. On top of that, she managed to power up to become GigaMAC - a hulking version of her character - and continued to hit me with superman punches on top of my head until my fighter went down for a KO.

I'd gone easy on my daughter. I thought she was soft and couldn't handle losing. I was wrong. As much as I cared about her ego, it seemed she had little regard for mine. I still can hear her laughter after laying down punch after punch on me. She was faster than me and had a killer instinct.

Now when I compete against my kids, I treat the experience differently. I respect their abilities by giving my all. Not because I am trying to beat them, but because I know that they will one day be stronger and smarter than me.

I know they have it in them to take on the world, one round at a time.


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Picture of Mark Medland

Author: Mark Medland

Mark Medland is a 40 something father of five who lives in Mississauga, Ontario. When he is not working at one of the big Canadian banks or raising his kids, he likes to cheer for the Habs and eat amazing food with his wife Vanessa.

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