Thursday, September 10, 2009


I abhor me they are amongst the lowest form of playground that...they ARE the lowest form of playground life. Regardless of the underlying reasons, taking pleasure from being able to intimate others its a perverse and anti social form of behavior that ought to be confronted wherever it is exhibited.

So that I have climbed up on my soapbox I have a story to tell. My oldest son plays football. He is 12 years old and stands at about 5ft 5in and weighs around 140 pounds. He is a solid kid who knows how to use his strength. Moreover, he also knows how to use his brain. Oliver has encountered on his team someone who, for whatever reason, does not like him. Oliver plays offensive line and this kid lines up on the defensive side of the ball against him. They have been going at it for about a month. This kid has tried to intimidate, bully, and belittle my son. Oliver, to his credit, has handled this situation on his own and has told me about his reactions only after the fact.

Now...I have always advised my kids to use words rather than their fists to resolve conflicts if for no other reason than because unlike when I was growing up when conflict would escalate from words to fists, nowadays conflicts can often escalate from words right to knifes and guns. Besides, my kids are all pretty smart and should be able to talk their way out of most situations.

So I was proud of Oliver when he tried to ignore this kid and when that failed, tried using humor to disarm him and cut him down to size. From the sideline I could hear Oliver tell this kid "lighten up Br***, you are with your team so you don't need to be such an assh***." Maybe that helped escalate things, but again, Oliver was being pushed into a corner...and son has his Dad's potty mouth.

Finally, on Monday, Oliver had had enough. This kid had done something during a play that Oliver did not like. So on the next play, Oliver slammed his left forearm into this kids' chin and his left fist into his side. The coach knew what was going on and told me that he hoped that this would end things. As we left practice Oliver and I talked about what had happened. Oliver told me that he realized that for the bullying to end he needed to show this kid that not only could he physically take care of himself, that he could also hurt this kid. What I had witnessed over these last few weeks compelled me to agree.

So it did, or so it seems. Yesterday I watched Oliver and this kid talk about the Red Sox and their upcoming game against Scituate. You would have never known that they had been going at each other for a month. It reminded me that in parenting you are never dealing in absolutes...and that there are times when your child will have to stand up for himself and use his fists....the trick is teaching your kid when to recognize exactly when that time is.


  1. Very well written... I totally agree. This has happened on our sons football team... and my son, being the smallest one on the team, has learned to stand up for himself.. the outcome.. My son is now the most popular kid on the team and at school.. the boys respect him for standing up for himself!