Mr. Dad

As we were shooting hoops with some new friends this past Saturday night, one of the other kids started assigning nicknames to everyone.

It was pretty funny to watch. We were playing Knock Out, a fast paced game involving two basketballs and a whole lot of catching and shooting. Kids were shouting at each other almost nonstop.

“Quick, quick! Get him out!”

“Toss it to me!”

“Knock ’em out!”

It only made sense that nicknames would work their way into the mix. When I had a ball, though, things got confusing.

“Get it, Dad!”

“Hurry, Dad!”

“Shoot from there, Dad! Shoot from – oops.”

The last quote was from the nicknamer, and it produced a round of laughs. I get called “dad” by other people’s kids all the time, but it’s still funny. Usually, the kid who made the mistake just pretends it didn’t happen. This time, though, the nicknamer wanted more.

“What should I call you?” he asked.

“Mr. Pat’s fine,” I said as I eyed the shot. “Mr. Matthews’ll work too.” I shrugged. “Whatever.”

I know, I know. Telling kids to call you “Mr.” sounds egotistical. But over the past ten years, I’ve come to appreciate the value of “Mr.” when kids are addressing adults.

I shot the ball and, surprisingly enough, it swished.

“Way to go, Mr. Matthews!” my oldest son shouted with a lopsided grin.

“Hooray, Mr. Pat!” his little brother added.

Sheesh.

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