Let the Dating Begin

Today my youngest daughter turns 16. This is a thought that scares her as much as it scares me. I am having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that my daughter is now going to be old enough to date boys and she has to come to grips with the fact that she will have to bring boys to the house and have them meet her dad.

Her older sisters have no doubt talked to her at length about what she should expect now that she is dating age. These discussions have probably been less about how to handle the boy on the date and more about how to manage dad so that you get more than one date before she graduates from high school.

It’s not that I am frightening or even that I give the boys a bad time. It is just that I have rules around dating my daughter. These are not new rules. They were first developed when my oldest daughter Ashley was reaching dating age.

Just before her sixteenth birthday I called a meeting with Ashley and Trina to try and set down the rules for dating. At the time Ashley was running high school track and had just recently set the school record in the triple jump for freshmen.

I explained to Ashley that Trina and I were both athletes. We met in high school where we were both running track. We both went to state track as sophomores and had some success. After high school Trina received a scholarship to play basketball at the college level. I went on and played semi-professional baseball finding some success.

My point was that Trina and I had established a strong gene pool for breeding athletes. I gave examples where each of the kids had found success in one athletic sport or another. I then stressed that in order to maintain this gene pool to produce future generations of athletes the kids had to be selective in who they dated.

I mean the last thing I needed was for one of the girls to bring home a guy that couldn’t chew gum and walk without injuring himself. Since Ashley was just beginning to date she could not be expected to evaluate the potential candidate.

In order to help, I developed a test to validate the legitimacy of a gene pool candidate. Ashley would bring home a boy and introduce him to the family. After a few questions we would take him out into the backyard and give him a bat. Dakota would pitch and we would see how well he could hit.

If the boy hit better than Ashley they were welcome to date. If not we would thank him for his time and send him on his way. And don’t even think about tanking, we will know if she is rolling over.

I think initially Ashley thought I was just joking. I remember her first date. She brought him in the house and we exchanged pleasantries. After a few minutes Dakota walked in with his ball, mitt, and a bat. We went to the backyard and this confused young man struck out on three straight pitches.

I patted him on the shoulder and thanked him for playing. I wished him the best of luck and sent him on his way without my daughter. I am not quite sure who was more shocked, the boy or Ashley.

When the first school dance came around and Ashley was asked to the prom I am not sure who was more nervous. With Ashley holding his tuxedo jacket he stood in the backyard peppering balls from Dakota.

This boy was a much better hitter and they went to the dance. It was only after they had left that Mallorie let on that Ashley and this boy had been going to the batting cages for the past two weeks just so they could go to the prom.

The younger girls learned from Ashley’s trials and some of them even used these rules to their advantage. The tales of batting tests quickly spread around the school. When Mallorie reached the age of dating, potential dates would ask what her batting average was before asking her out.

If it was a boy Mallorie was not that interested in she would inflate her stats to dissuade him from asking her out. These rules probably hurt Tiffany more than any of the kids. She is the most athletic of the kids and there just were not that many boys that could out hit her.

She likewise intimidated the boys with her baseball knowledge and the ability to rattle off Diamondbacks players and their statistics. Now it is Whitney’s turn. She has an advantage over her sisters. Whitney has focused on school work rather than athletics so she doesn’t hit real well.

Good looks and a poor batting average and she could very well have dates every weekend. I may have to add an additional rule that they have to explain the square root of negative two. Either that or Whitney is going to the batting cage, her choice.

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