Commentary by Danielle Wilson
I spend a great deal of time judging other parents. I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help myself. Criticizing their decisions and actions makes me feel better about my own insecurities. My latest “issue” with certain moms and dads regards football. With all that is known about head injuries, I cannot understand why parents allow their boys to play, even at the pee wee level, and especially when there are less potentially-brain-damaging sports out there. And the coaches are just as culpable. Forcing kids back on the field after sustaining hard hits, shooting them up with cortisone to mask the pain . . . I drooled over Paul Walker in Varsity Blues; I know what happens in the locker room!
Anyway, the other day I overheard two of my kids comparing their bodily ailments. Tiny Dancer was describing the acute pain she experiences in her right knee whenever she pliés, while XC Runner was trying to one up her with his probable shin splits. This was my first thought: “Suck it up, people! Nobody likes a wuss!”
And then I realized: I am just as bad as the football parents.
How often have I openly expressed disapproval when one of my kids bails on a practice or game because of injury or sickness? Gasp! The answer wasn’t just “frequently” but “usually.” And the few times I do manage to miraculously suppress my initial response, I’m still thinking to myself “Quit your complaining and get out there.”
What is wrong with me? When I consider the situation rationally, I know the right call is to listen to my children and ensure they receive the necessary treatment. But my gut reaction firmly steers me in the opposite direction. Whether I learned it as an athlete growing up or in my brief stint in the military, somewhere along the way weakness of body became equated with weakness of person. And that is simply unacceptable. Shame on me!
So my sincere apologies to all the football parents I’ve badmouthed recently. It seems I also have some “issues” to work on. Peace out.