I assure you that I am indeed thirteen years old, albeit nearing fourteen. I've scored a 2260 on the SAT's, on my first time--no joke!
But, I digress. My father does have one prime sporting interest: ping-pong, a sport to China much like football is to the United States. To say the least, he's very good at the sport; despite being in his mid-forties, he still manages to routinely whip other players ten to fifteen years his junior, at the local community center. Age has evidently not taken the same toll on his ping-pong prowess--but I do not think the same can be said for shooting. I mean no offense to all you older shooters out there, but I've read countless threads about older, blurry eyes--hence why I want to start early and not wait until I hit the magic age of eighteen. However, I am nearsighted and wear prescription glasses--so that's probably a moot point anyway.
Unfortunately, I have already attempted this ping-pong route with my father. I have tried likening the purchase of a .22 rifle to the purchase of a new ping-pong paddle, but he still stubbornly believes that having a rifle will inevitably lead to an accident. Recently, as I have described, I have made some level of progress in my goals; he reluctantly agreed to take me to a local range for a basic safety class, and in the future, use rental firearms on a semi-routine basis. Though I have decided to leave him alone and enjoy these spoils of war, lest future argument destroy them, I still desire my own firearm. In fairness to him, I'll admit there's some logic in having a beginner use an entry-grade firearm for some time, as any inherent accuracy in the firearm will be lost in the inexperience of the shooter. Furthermore, as we live in a suburban area, storing the firearm at home does not make sense either, as the firearm will be used only at the range anyway.
My intended compromise is to store the rifle, ammunition, and accessories in a rented range locker, to avoid the "inevitable tragedy" that my father goes on about. I have made this offer to no avail, but I will try again in the future--this time with the child-father sporting argument that you brought up; I thank you for the idea. It is a shame, too--we actually relate very well, even to the point of political discussions.
Once again, I thank you all for your help.