by Edward Bloor
Paul's dad is unabashedly living vicariously through Erik. The Erik Fisher Football Dream is actually the Mr. Fisher Football Dream. He goes around telling everyone he's "always regretted not being big enough to play football" at college (1.3.37). He goes to every practice and every game Erik plays in, and is just as desperate to be friends with his coach as Arthur is with Erik. Everything he does is done to further Erik's football career—so he can get some of his reflected glory. Poor Paul isn't really important to him at all.
When his dad comes home after work, the day Paul escapes the sinkhole, does he ask his son if he's okay? Or to tell him all about it? Or even just give him a relieved hug? Nope. He's furious because he's being blamed for the sinkhole, since Old Charley Burns is out of town. It's all about him, and his dignity, and his feelings. Sound like anyone else we know?
Like Father, Like Son
Yeah. We're going to go out on a limb here and blame dad. (And partly mom.) For some reason, Mr. Fisher identifies with Erik. Any insult to Erik, like when the newscasters make fun on his slide at the football game, is an insult to him.
But here's something to think about. Mr. Fisher is as big a coward as Erik. He won't take responsibility for Erik's actions, just like Erik won't take responsibility. Erik makes his "sidekicks" do all the dirty work; Mr. Fisher makes Erik win all the glory.
Sounds like these two have a lot of years of therapy in front of them.