I limped into the house after a long and brutal practice session; the evening’s injuries included a throbbing left hand (stomped on by a cleated shoe), two long, angry red contusions running down my left leg (the result of another cleated shoe, possibly the same one, being dragged down said leg), a credit card-sized bruise on my side, and a still-numb left ear (apparently this happens when someone steps on your head. The More You Know!). My son ran over to greet me. “How was practice, Dad?” “Good,” I grunted. “Did you score?”, he asked. “Yep. Three times. Paid for it, too.” Ibuprofen, a spell in our tub, and a 22 0z. bottle of Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale were on my mind. “Awesome!”, said the boy. “Did you get hurt?” I laughed. “A bit.” “Well”, he said, “that’s rugby. Right?” Of course he’s right; it’s what I tell him and the other kids on his team when I coach them.
As a dad, I’ll freely admit to wanting both of my kids – the son and the daughter – to emulate me. When Zoe tells me she wants to play soccer, I heartily encourage her – I loved soccer as a kid. When Lucas sits down and starts penning his latest short story (his most recent offering, “Zombie Underwater City”, is about “when San Francisco sinks into the ocean and everyone drowns but then they come back as zombies only they’re underwater zombies because San Francisco is underwater and everyone wants to move there because it’s an UNDERWATER CITY, DAD, and then the Navy SEALs have to fight the zombies. Oh! And Aquaman shows up to help!”) I can’t help but beam with pride. And when the kid found out a couple of years ago that I play rugby, he wanted to try it out. He just finished his second year, and is pretty flippin’ good, if I do say so myself. Yes, part of the desire to see my kids follow in my footsteps stems from my massive ego needing to be fed, but the other part is that sharing a passion for something – sports, art, music – with your kids brings you closer together. You’ll always have that to bond over, even when – as is inevitable – they grow into their own skin.
On the other hand, there’s this. It seems that the adult children of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr want to form a band.
James McCartney (yes, Paul has a son), Sean Lennon, Dhani Harrison, and Zak Starkey have apparently been kicking around the idea of forming “The Beatles – The Next Generation” (oh God please don’t call yourselves that – sorry, getting ahead of myself). The four are all musicians – Starkey has even played drums for a Beatles tribute band called Oasis – but their individual successes have not quite been at the level of their dads’. McCartney fils believes that if the Postfab Four unite, that could all change. He told the BBC that he’d “dreamt of being better than The Beatles” but, recognizing that if one dreams about being better than The Beatles one had best wake up and apologize, dialed it back a bit. “If anything, I’d love to be equal to The Beatles” (pause for a shot of Bono, shaking his head in sad agreement) “but even that’s quite tough” (camera back on Bono, sighing in sad agreement).
It’s a bit hard to wrap one’s head around the whole thing, unless you’re the guy who books bands for state fairs and Indian gaming casinos, in which case you’re probably yelling “GO FOR IT!” at your screen right now. One wonders what Paul and Ringo think of all this. The idea of anyone, even the rightful heirs, claiming the title of “The Beatles – The Next Generation”, is laughable – after all, The Beatles were the band who invented modern pop rock and whose influence is still being felt today. But Paul and Ringo are dads, and they’re probably stoked that their sons are pals and hang out and do stuff together. On the other, um, they’re the goddamn BEATLES. So maybe “The Beatles – The Next Generation” should hold off until Paul and Ringo join John and George in Rock and Roll Heaven.