Give Him a Round of Applause

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I think my son, Brayden, has a future as an athlete, and not just because he is big for his age. Brayden, who is almost 2, is three years younger but only three pounds lighter than older sister Sage. But this isn’t about his size.

I think Brayden will become an athlete because of his mental makeup. He responds to applause, just like an athlete. Have you ever seen the smiles on the faces of Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams and Smitty (Steve Smith) – and the fans for that matter – after touchdowns? Well, Brayden flashes the same grin after he is given encouragement, and the grin is leading to gains.

The little guy has gone from being a late walker to being a great walker. He used to be a picky eater, but now he’s more likely to pick at the food on my plate. My wife and I love it.

When we clap for Brayden, he wants to please us. So, I plan on using this plan over and over. Potty-training? “Woo-Hoo! Good job, Brayden.” Picking up toys? “You da Man Bray-Bear!” Not crying when it’s time to go to sleep? “ALL RIGHT … WAY TO GO!” Oops, don’t want to wake him. “All right … way to go (shhhhh).” It makes me realize that the saying “you get more with honey than vinegar” could not be more correct, unless of course I am eating a salad.

A few weeks ago, Brayden’s grandparents came to visit. They also were full of praise for their grandson. He became even more responsive. It makes me understand why football and basketball players like playing in front of bigger crowds. The energy level goes way up: the more fans, the greater the excitement. Brayden had more of his family around, and he responded in kind.

What if Brayden loves the applause, not because he wants to be a baseball or football player, but because he hopes to become an actor, singer or dancer? Well, he is handsome. Guess that would turn me from a sportscaster into a stage dad. Hey, that’s pretty perceptive. I should give myself a round of applause.

Bruce Snyder is sports director at Fox Charlotte. He and his wife, Charisse; 4-year-old daughter, Sage; and 1-year-old son, Brayden, live in Charlotte.