Indoctrination 101: What’s the Secret Password?

There are certain areas of life where beliefs must be arrived upon using one’s own freewill. Padres baseball is not one of those areas.

I recently found that a disturbing number of young people don’t know the name of Tony Gwynn or his historical significance to the city of San Diego. In fairness to these children, the overwhelming majority were born during 2001 when Tony was riding off into the sunset. I don’t blame these kids. I blame their parents. How could you raise your children in the city of San Diego and fail to teach them about one of its most famous citizens? That’s a rhetorical question – do not try to answer it – accept that you are a terrible parent and try to fix your deficiencies. For the children.

The easy solution to this problem is to simply pull up some video on YouTube or to take your child to a game and show ’em Gwynn’s statue out in the Park at the Park. But before you get to the park why not try something easier? Begin by incorporating Tony Gwynn into an everyday activity around the house.

What I’ve come to see is that through socialization at school, children engage in activities like tag, hide and seek, and a host of other time honored kids’ traditions almost immediately upon enrollment. So when I stood on the sidewalk and blocked my youngest from passing her response seemed almost instinctual. She looked up at me and calculatingly said, “You have to tell me to tell you the password!”

“OK. But I don’t know the password.” I answered.

She smiled. “That’s OK. Make one up and then tell it to me.”

I said, “OK. The password is Tony Gwynn.”

“Tony Quinn?”

“NO! Tony GWYnn.”

Ever since that day the password in our household has been Tony Gwynn. Now when I block the kids from either entering the door to their room or leaving the gate to play in the backyard or just messing around with them in general while also teaching a profound lesson in San Diego’s history, I can demand, “What’s the password?”

The logical progression is to introduce some new names to the mix. I’m not sure of the direction I should go though: Those with retired numbers or current Padres?

Gotta think this one through.

I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM where I judge overzealous little league dads, 7 days a week

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