No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

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No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by Earl on Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:48 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-foreman/no-my-son-doesnt-play-sports-really-its-ok_b_9059040.html

No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!


Kerry Foreman
Psychotherapist, Writer and Speaker




A visit to the doctor, orthodontist, school function or anywhere really, will alert you to the fact that people don't know how to talk to your son, if he doesn't play sports.

Our society is programmed in a way that a boy who doesn't play sports is an anomaly. What can we possibly have to say to a boy, if we can't ask him about football, basketball or soccer?

My son not only doesn't play sports.... he doesn't watch them either. GASP!! I know, it's a tragedy right?

My son has a deep abiding empathy for others.

My son is a critical thinker.

My son is constantly questioning the world.

My son is not a box checker.

My son has a thirst for knowledge about space that won't quit.

But the world has no questions for him except for, "so.... do you play basketball?"

REALLY? This 13-year-old boy, who could change the world, has to constantly answer why he isn't interested in sports. Can't we do better than that?

Until age 11, I watched my son pick grass on the baseball field. I watched him run half-heartedly down a basketball court and cheer for his teammates every single time they scored. Like a good American, we tried every single sport there was, encouraging him to get involved, and choose from the buffet our country offers.

The looks I get from other mothers when I say that I gave him the choice at age 11 whether to play sports or not... is one of reprehension.

How dare I guide and support instead of mold him in the image that is expected for our boys.

I get it, I really do... our boys are to follow a plan set out for success right? We believe that you get them involved in sports, they play through high school, gaining popularity and acceptance along the way. This quells our fears. Society has instilled a fear in us that if our boy doesn't play sports, than he is uninvolved. He is clearly sitting around doing nothing.

We ignore the statistics behind head trauma.

We ignore the statistics regarding how many of those boys actually play in college.

We ignore whether our children are enjoying themselves.

We ignore what their true passion might be.

We ignore that competitive sports keep them so busy, they have little time for much else.

I am not saying that sports don't have absolute value. They do. Especially if your son or daughter loves the sport. They push themselves, they learn about themselves, they challenge themselves and meet those challenges. All really good things.

If your son or daughter doesn't have passion for the sport, I mean real passion. Then what are we doing?

Why not look deeper? Why not look beyond societies expectations.

To what degree does your child's involvement in sports have to do with YOU?

What if, we got to know our child? What if we asked them if they wanted to play sports or get involved in robotics, student government, forensics, or the like?

What if we said, who are you and what do you like?

What if we said, it's ok to not like sports?

What if we said, whoever you are is enough?

What if we put our desires aside and opened the door for more?

The self-worth gained from a parent who says "you are enough" is valuable beyond measure. That parent opens the door to more. That parent learns more about their child and more about themselves than ever before.

We owe our boys more than funneling them into a system they don't fit into. If your boy isn't an athlete... guess what. It's okay. They are going to be okay.

You are enough, and so are they.

_________________
"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.  You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!" -- Dale Hansen, Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA
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Re: No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by Earl on Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:00 am

Here is a copy of the reply to this article that I posted at Huffington Post:

Kelly, as a 65-year-old father of two children, I deeply appreciate your article. You express a point of view that would otherwise be completely ignored. At the age of 57, I started working with a personal trainer on a bodybuilding program. I continue to work out to this day. But I have never had an interest in sports. The games actually bored me when I was a kid, but I didn’t dare let any of my classmates know that! I’m firmly convinced that the culture of school sports has had (and continues to have) a pernicious impact in the lives of nonathletic boys, who are marginalized by many sports fans. I have never looked down on any guy for participating in a sport, but seemingly many people in the sports crowd look down upon nonathletic boys for supposedly being deficient or effeminate. A mindset based upon mindless stereotypes and lies.

What hypocrisy! Those who denigrate nonathletic boys should clean house. Except for a handful of innovators and reformers today, the phys ed establishment has never been truly concerned about promoting fitness for nonathletic students. Their actual intent has been only to promote sports. Historically they have only cared about the athletic students while viewing the nonathletic students with disdain. In fact, the phys ed establishment has been one of the biggest enablers of bullying in the schools. (By the way, I get more exercise in a single workout session than I ever did in all of my mandatory phys ed classes combined; and I’m not exaggerating!) Many high schools put sports before academics, and athletes are given preferential treatment often at the expense of other students. Sports fans have also created a horrendous rape culture. If a teenage girl or young woman has been gang-raped by members of the local high-school, college, or university football or basketball team, she will be subjected to vicious persecution (even death threats) if she even dares to say that she was raped. Even if there’s a conviction (such as in the Steubenville case), the victim will still continue to be persecuted by sports fans. So, I’m sick and tired of the hypocrites who insist upon denigrating nonathletic boys and demand that they be shamed if they are uninterested in participating in sports. Clean your own house, people!

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"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.  You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!" -- Dale Hansen, Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA
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Re: No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by Earl on Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:17 am

Among the comments to this article is a rather infuriating message that was posted by a jerk named Kevin W Hardin.  I’ve copied and pasted his post below:


I have to assume that you never playes a sport either, Kerry? I do love your article. I have a 13 yr old son that is exactly as you describe. As an ex pro athlete, it is a small part of me that longs to show him the amazing aspects of competitive sports. You touched on some great negatives about sports, but you miss a encyclopedia length of great things about playing a sport, even a sport that you don't like nor are good at.

Sports teach something that schools and frankly, today's busy parents cannot. Teamwork. They learn how to lose, win, strategy, supporting others as part of a team, acountability. Not to mention the positive aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

I don't think kids, that grow up having never played a sport, are going to be losers. But, now 50 yrs old and running a law practice, I can identify, quite quickly, those that have never played a sport and they are significantly handicapped in today's society. How they react to not getting their way, losing a case, crunch time for work, strategy etc, is quite telling.

It is for that reason I work with my son and will continue to work with him to attempt to provide some of that value of sports provides by directing him into opportunities that can create a parallel benefit, albeit, not physical. I strongly believe that a child that neither plays a sport, nor gets an opportunity to get these similar experiences, is bound for massive frustration and failures in their future adult self.


And people don’t understand why we’re not sports fans!  Notice he talks from both corners of his mouth.  What a bigot!

I had to respond to this garbage; so, I clicked on his username and accessed his Facebook page
( https://www.facebook.com/KevinWHardin ), where he had copied and pasted his post at Huffington.  I posted a lengthy reply to his post.


You seem to contradict yourself.  You say you appreciate Kelly’s article; but I suspect you’re prejudiced against nonathletic guys, boys and men, and consider them to be effeminate.  I’m quite familiar with the mindset.  In school all of my mandatory phys ed coaches viewed nonathletic boys with indifference or contempt.  They didn’t offer any fitness programs for them, and they didn’t even teach us about sports.  When I was 15 years old, a psychologist sent me to a judo instructor, a white guy who had previously played football at a local university.  I always felt like an outsider at his dojo.  After I had graduated from high school, I found out why when he made some interesting comments to me in private conversation.  First, he said that he had saved me from homosexuality!  (Tell that to my wife.)  He believed that only athletes and blue-collar workers were “real men.”  He disregarded the great courage of the Soviet human rights activist Andrei Sakharov possibly because he was jealous of him.  (I wonder if Sakharov played sports when he was a boy.)  He also had no problem with bullying.

The truth is there are many extremely successful men who never had an interest in sports when they were boys.  They contradict the mindset that is so prevalent among many fans, coaches, and athletes that nonathletic guys are inferior.  You wonder why some guys don’t like sports.  It’s because they are painfully aware of the bigotry on the part of those who view them as being deficient.  Nonathletic boys don’t care to hear they’re “unmanly” simply because they’re not interested in playing sports.  I wish you knew how emotionally painful that is to kids.  Has it ever occurred to you that many nonathletic boys are bullied simply because they don’t like sports?  Some people obviously don’t respect the personal preferences of others.  I’ve never looked down on any guy for participating in a sport, but a childhood friend of mine who played football at another school would tell me decades later that most of his teammates had viewed the nonathletic guys at their school as being inferior.  I take comfort in the fact that there are athletic guys who don’t share your dismissive attitude against nonathletes.

I see that you are Jewish and therefore assume you’ve heard of the “Righteous Gentile” Raoul Wallenberg, who was one of the greatest heroes of WW2 (even though he was a noncombatant).  He worked under horrendous stress and risked his life repeatedly to save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews.  Undoubtedly, some of the men whose lives he saved were physically stronger than he was.  But he saved them when they were helpless.  You might be interested to know that Wallenberg, according to his half-sister, “detested competitive team sports.”  Was Wallenberg a wimp?  Did he know nothing about “teamwork”?  The next time you’re inclined to look down on nonathletic guys, please remember Wallenberg.

By the way, as a middle-aged man, I’ve taken up bodybuilding as a permanent commitment.  I’ve already spent a small fortune on personal trainers.  But I would not set foot in a health club until I was 57 years old, and one of the reasons why is because I believed (wrongfully) that health clubs were the exclusive property of guys like you who had a dismissive attitude towards nonathletes like me.

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"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.  You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!" -- Dale Hansen, Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA
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Re: No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by Skul on Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:54 pm

Sports teach something that schools and frankly, today's busy parents cannot. Teamwork. They learn how to lose, win, strategy, supporting others as part of a team, acountability. Not to mention the positive aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

Ah, yes. The old "sports teach teamwork" nonsense. You mean the teamwork of athletic kids bullying non-athletic kids?

They teach you that if you lose, you're worthless. They teach that winning is the only thing that matters.

Making a ball move = strategy.

Supporting others... unless they're not athletic. In which case, denigrate them.

Accountability — "We lost because of you!"

And apparently, the risk of head traumas, broken bones, missing teeth, and countless other injuries is a healthy lifestyle.

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Re: No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by Mrs. Earl on Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:54 pm

I especially like the part about school athletes learning how to lose.  It makes me think of Coach Vince Lombardi’s famous statement “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  Yep, they learn to be real gracious losers, don’t they?
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Re: No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by Earl on Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:58 pm

Well put, Skul.  Smile

I spent over 30 minutes yesterday carefully writing a response to your post on a composition page of the forum, and then something happened.  I accidentally touched one of the buttons of my laptop – I don’t even know which one it was because it was an accident – and all that I had written vanished!  It was quite frustrating.  I should have set up a word-processing file instead (as I’ve done now) and copy and paste to a composition page.  As it turned out yesterday, I ran out of time to write.  So, that’s why I haven’t responded until now.


Ah, yes. The old "sports teach teamwork" nonsense.


Hardin’s claim is nonsense.  Sports aren’t unique in this regard.  Other extracurricular activities involve teamwork as well.  I’m sure a lot of teamwork was involved in the production of each episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Were any of those people former athletes?  Well, maybe Mike was.  I’m just guessing.  I don’t know whether he is or not, and I don’t care.


Supporting others...


What you said.


Accountability — "We lost because of you!"


I’m reminded of what once happened to poor i_like_1981 when he was a kid.  (Don’t mean to bore you, Skul.  This isn’t the first time I’ve repeated his story.)  ‘81 is an Englishman who attended school in London.  Of course, his mandatory phys ed class resembled mine in the U.S. of A.  In other words, no fitness or self-defense classes were provided for nonathletic students – those who would have benefited the most from them.  Only forced sports – useless for non-athletes.  One school day his mandatory phys ed class was divided into two teams for a game of cricket.  (Of course, ‘81 didn’t even want to be on a team because he couldn’t play cricket well.  Besides, he just wasn’t interested in the sport.)  Anyway, ‘81’s team lost; and one of the athletic students on the team (who, if I remember correctly, would become a professional rugby player years later) blamed him for their team’s loss.  He walked over to ‘81 and smashed him in the face with a cricket bat, breaking his nose.  (Hey, Kevin, what were you saying about how sports teach kids how to lose?  Hey, buddy, do you consider what happened to ‘81 to be a good example of “sportsmanship”?)  The young thug “student athlete” was merely suspended from school for a few days, which undoubtedly seemed like a holiday to him.  (If someone walked up to you and smashed you in the face with a bat, you would take him to court; and your assailant would likely end up in jail.)  When the young thug returned to school, he showed his remorse by shoving ‘81 into a  locker.  By the way, how many sportswriters or sports columnists would ever report such an incident?  The problem with so many fans is that they have a “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” attitude about athletes.

Accountability, eh, Kevin?  How about holding individual school athletes (as well as professional ones) accountable for mistreating others away from the game?  There’s ample evidence this often isn’t done.  I wish I had a link for the reader to click on, but statistics show that nonathletic men accused of rape are much more likely to be convicted than athletes accused of rape.  I wonder why.  Could one of the reasons be that juries get packed with sports fans who are willing to pervert justice?

By the way, Kevin is too busy denigrating nonathletic boys to even acknowledge that there’s a very serious problem with the rape culture that sports fans have created in regard to such sports as football and basketball.


Not to mention the positive aspects of a healthy lifestyle.


What you said, Skul.  There are cases of athletes who have ruined their health.  Ask Dave Pear.  Years ago I had an online exchange with a former Olympic weightlifter who had become a sports psychiatrist.  In other words, there’s also a problem with sports-related mental illness.  (I’m speaking sympathetically here.  I’m glad this sports psychiatrist treats athletes who need help.)

The author of this “HUFFPOST PARENTS” OP is Kelly Foreman, who is a psychotherapist.  She honored her young nonathletic son and defended other boys who have no interest in sports.  I was quite impressed when I first read it.  There have been only a very few people who have publicly defended nonathletic boys – most, if not all, of whom encounter problems as they grow up in a society whose popular culture is saturated with sports – problems for which these boys are not to blame.

Then along comes Kevin Hardin (whose opinion is not solicited) who claims to like her post while saying that all boys who refuse to play sports are deficient (with the clear implication that they’re inferior)  – thus insulting her son and all other boys who have no interest in sports.  I wish I had posted (among other comments) “Kevin, you’re a bigot” – which is the truth.  By the way, there have been former professional athletes who’ve had trouble adjusting to life after their playing careers have come to an end.  What about that, Kevin?

I must point out that there are decent athletic men who don’t subscribe to Kevin’s meathead mentality – but, in fact, reject it.  For example, I told the manager of the studio where I do my bodybuilding workouts about Kevin’s comments.  He was appalled.

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Re: No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by Earl on Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:43 pm

One more comment (at least for now):  People like Kevin Hardin with their meathead attitudes give athletes a bad name.  This is unfair to the decent ones who object to this ignorant, bigoted mindset; but, unfortunately, that's the way the real world works.  Sometimes innocent individuals are stigmatized by the misdeeds of their fellows.

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"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.  You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!" -- Dale Hansen, Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA
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Re: No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by greencom on Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:58 pm

Hi all,
Honestly... I haven't yet met an athlete or sports fan that wasn't a meathead.
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Re: No, My Son Doesn't Play Sports... Really It's Ok!

Post by Earl on Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:12 pm

Hi, greencom!   Smile   Delighted to hear from you.  It gets lonesome to hardly have anyone to talk to around here.   Mr. Green!  

I would have responded sooner, but my laptop went on the fritz.  So, I'm replying to your post via Mrs. Earl's laptop, which she doesn't use anymore since she's lost most of her sight.

I know what you mean.  I must admit that I've lived a life as a middle-aged guy that is more sheltered than yours.  The relationship I've had with my personal trainers is different from the relationship I would have with sports fans I'd have to deal with as fellow employees in a business office.  I also find many sports fans to be irritating, if not downright obnoxious.  You have my complete sympathy in that regard.

I'll send you a PM when I get my [expletive deleted] laptop fixed.  

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