FOOTBALL BENEFITS BABIES AND DADS

The Center for Research on Paternal Issues (CRAPI) seeks insights on men’s evolution into dads. The impact of watching football together with their baby is a time-honored tradition among fathers. To measure the impact, we chose critical factors in the development of babies and dads.

The oxytocin (i.e., love hormone) generated in both dad and baby when he holds and cares for her is the key element in their bonding. The hypothesis is that dad/baby bonding is substantially enhanced in their extensive contact during a football game and her mirroring of dad’s emotional and intellectual commitment to his team.

Learning Conditions for Infants

Infants can perceive contrasting colors better and are attracted to movement in rational patterns (like music). The hypothesis is that football, with distinctive team colors that move in rationale patterns, will improve an infant’s ability to learn.

Methods

We asked 100 new dads of 2-month-old babies to watch football together and record both their reactions at two, four, and six weeks. For a control group, we also asked 100 other new dads to watch a blank screen for 3 hours when games were playing.

A scale of 1-10, with 10 being highest, was used by dads to report:

  • Baby’s focus on the game (when awake).
  • Baby’s enthusiasm re: touchdowns.
  • Baby’s grasp of the West Coast Offence.
  • Baby’s excitement when dad enters her room the day after the game.
  • Dad’s affection for his baby the day after.
  • Dad’s commitment to providing his child whatever she needs, no matter what.

Results

Dads reported an average rating of 9.8 on their babies’ focus on the game. The babies’ overall enthusiasm for touchdowns was rated at 4.7 but was 9.9 when Dad’s team scored and 0.1 otherwise.

Over the six weeks, baby’s grasp of the West Coast Offense increased from 0.2 to 9.6, baby’s excitement when dad entered her room rose from 5.2 to 9.8, dad’s affection for his baby rose from 6.8 to 9.9, and dad’s commitment to providing his child whatever she needs, no matter what, remained 10.0.

The control group uniformly said “F#ck off, I will not deprive my baby of football.” The study’s leadership concluded requesting a control group to do so was unethical.

Conclusions

Babies’ brains develop from watching football with dad as evidenced by their quickly developing grasp of offensive schemes. Their bonding with Dad was also enhanced, as was Dad’s. Overall their mutual bonding equaled that achieved by mothers and babies when breastfeeding.

Related research indicates that due to an infant’s developing eyesight, the bigger the TV screen size, the better. The reactions of mothers were split: some joined a trend of ignoring science regarding this study, while others, after exposure to the close and fun family time occurring during football games, also took up watching.

Next up: Benefits to babies from gaming.

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