Sunday, April 09, 2006

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

Initially I was not going to post regarding this subject matter since it has nothing to do with knitting, but something has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks.

I was doing my usual I have all of my things completed, I have nothing to do for a while routine of knitting and blog surfing when I came across a blog that basically slams others. This blog was judging others by nothing other than them having so many kids, a woman gaining weight after marriage, etc. Now don't get me wrong, I love my tabloids and joking with friends about this and that. I am not prude, but I have to say that this was the most judgmental blog that I have ever come across. I am hoping that she is tongue and cheek, but I have been wrong before.

So anyway after reading a couple of her posts, turning off the computer and dwelling on it some more, I am brought back to the computer regarding something that happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

My older son started his first year of baseball/t-ball in early February. He is the second youngest child on his team having turned 5 mid-February, the oldest children are a good 2 years older than he is and have been playing since they were B's age. He is also the second smallest child on the team. The only child younger than him is actually one of the oldest on the team. The point is my son is one of the youngest and smallest children on the team of 14 children. That is something that we do not have a problem with, it is what it is.

As I was saying, my son started playing when he was still 4 years old. Being four, his skills aren't that of some of his team mates, meaning he doesn't throw the ball quite as far, does not always catch the ball, etc. I will say that he is not at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to playing, but he is definitely not the star at this point either. In fact I would say that he is in the middle if I had to compare him to his team mates.

I am one of three team moms for his team, so I have been at every practice helping out where I am needed. At the last few practices, though I have been there, I have been pre-occupied with my younger son because I could not arrange childcare for him. Well two weeks ago my husband and I noticed that my son started having problems throwing the ball. For the life of me I could not figure out what had happened. B went from being able to throw the ball relatively decently to hesitating and shuffling his feet so much that it looked plain strange and awkward when he would throw the ball. During this time, we were not able to work with him outside of practice or the house because there was a lot of other things going on (me having the stomach flu, rain, B having the stomach flu, rain, and more rain) that prevented us from doing any legnthy type of practice. So for a few weeks we were kinda dumbstruck. My husband did however, practice throwing with him inside the house (they were soft balls that would not damage anything). Hubby practiced with B and what little time he/we spent did seem to help. I would shout out little pointers from the couch B would listen, hubby would reinforce. It was all good.

Two weeks ago I was at practice again with my younger son, when I happend to notice that one of the fathers was working with my son. I was about 30 or so yards away as I looked at the two of them working together. I see this man, whom I really don't know instructing my son on how to throw the ball. I see him pick up the ball and tell my son to SHUFFLE HIS FEET not once not twice but three times before he throws the ball. WTF?!? All of the confusion on why B was having problems throwing the ball was no more. I finally got it. So me being me, walks over to where they are and as politely as I can start talking to B, but also to the father. I casually say, "B, when you are throwing the ball you are taking too long to throw it, you need to throw it as fast as you can." My son says to me, "Okay mommy." The father looks at me and snaps saying, "I am trying to teach him the right way to throw the ball!" I must have looked at him with the most blank and surprised look ever. I stayed silent for a good couple of seconds and then told him, "Oh?" And he came back with, "See he is throwing the ball straight now." Me, "I see," in a really that is what is happening tone of voice because my son was throwing straight until he became your pet project. At this time the kids were all called in by the coach for some batting practice, I sent my son on his merry way, but looked at this dad who was looking at me with the type of look that you can not mistake. You know the look that is basically saying what does she know, a woman trying to teach this little boy how to throw. That was the look. I was so stunned by this exchange, I really did not know what else to say so I just walked away.

I know I could have been a be-atch and told this man to #*%& off, but children were present and like I said I was stunned. I was also insulted by his sexist attitude. First off this man was rude, he undermined me as a parent in front of my child. Fortunately my son did not really understand this mans blatant disregard for me. Second, the man does not know me or my background. Who was he to judge my abilities?

What this man did not know at the time was that I, a woman, have been playing baseball/softball for the majority of my life. When I was my son's age I played baseball up until junior high school, that's right baseball. When I got to high school I played softball for one year. I have never been away from the sport for more than a year or so at a time and the last time I did not play was because I was pregnant and the doctor told me that I could not play during pregnancy, not that I didn't want to. Another thing that this mad did not know was that before I had children I was in education, not just in the class room teaching, I was a physical education teacher to elementary school age children. Yes, I taught elementary school PE. You should have seen the look on his face when he found all of this out, not from me mind you.

This man was offensive for many reasons, but the thing that gets me is this, I am very reluctant to coach other children on the team unless asked to by their parents or the coach. I would never go up to a parent and tell them they are doing things wrong on any subject matter (unless health and safety were a concern), I am not that child's parent. I know from having lived life, that parents no matter what their personal skill levels, will get offended especially if someone tries to teach their children another way to do something and are treated rudely when this person is doing so, especially when they do take the time to work with their kids and are at practices with their kids. As bad as you may want to show kids something you think is better, you sometimes have to bite your tongue and just let it go. The only one that should be showing the kids what to do at practice is the coach and anyone he decided should be helping the kids or that kids very own parent, not just the person who went to the local sports store, purchased a glove, can catch and kinda throw, comes to practice, and plays themselves off as a coach. Because you did this doesn't mean you are capable of teaching kids (although getting a degree saying you can doesn't either). But the thing is this, you don't just assume that your way of doing things is the right way and don't assume that because someone doesn't fit the "profile" or the stereotype doesn't mean they aren't. In other words just because I am a woman doesn't mean I don't know anything about sports or physical activities.

I could go on and on about this, but hey this is a knitting blog. And now for your knitting pleasure:

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