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Blog Post #4: Little Girls Are The Biggest Bullies

As my blog subtitles alludes to, I am a middle aged fellow.  So with that personal timeline reminder, I am able to look back and compare things from a few decades of experience and comment on the things that I believe we might be missing in the bigger picture. 

Now that the school year is almost complete, the activities of the school day will be replaced with the thrill and freedom of summertime.  Parents change gears and begin to schedule and organize the neighborhood “play-date.”  This is simply a time for the adults in charge to know where all the grass stains and scrapes will take place.  Besides the everyday neighborhood summer play, the other things to be scheduled are the day camps, outings, swim lessons, and then to end the day there is always baseball or softball practice for the rest of the evening.  Coaches everywhere are teaching proper batting stances, fielding, and throwing to their teams.  It won’t be long until games will be played every night of the week and the lights over some ball fields will be brighter than all the street lights for miles.

I played a lot of little league baseball in the 1970’s and early 80’s.  When it came to your defense in the field, my coaches told me to pay attention and focus on the batter and get ready for the swing.  Be ready to know what you would do with the ball if it was hit to you.  Also, coaches would yell out to their players that they wanted to hear some “chatter.”  This amounted to the chant of “Hey batter, hey batter, SWING!” or some versions sounded more like “Aye batter, Aye batter, SWING!”  With the shout of “SWING” players would pound their gloves and crouch down just a little lower and get ready for the crack of the bat.

Well fast forward 30 years… when my two daughters played organized softball; I heard this “chatter” become very negative.  Its intended purpose was to be cute and get the girls focused but what I noticed in the stands were many of them were anything but ready for the ball to come to them with all the little limericks being chanted.  It wasn’t long before I told my girls to not participate in that “chatter.”  I wanted them to be ready and focus on their position and I wanted my girls to give positive and encouraging talk to their pitcher and other players between balls thrown. 

Some of the sample “chatter” in those middle years of 2000 was:

● My name is _______ and you know what I got?  I got a team that’s hotter than hot.  Grand slams and homeruns too, uuh-huh uuh-huh!  We are going to beat the woopings out of you!

● Hey pitcher look at me!  I’m a monkey in a tree!  Oh-ee, Oh-ee.

●Hey pitcher what’s the matter?  Can’t you stand a little chatter?  High ball, low ball, inside outside – High ball, low ball, inside outside.

My girls grew up and didn’t continue to play organized softball.  They moved on to other sports and music.  So my time was finished with seeing the development of young ball players until our best friends in the neighborhood had their second daughter seven years after our youngest.  It gave me a chance to watch some more ball!  When Haley was old enough for softball, I looked forward to her games.  I sat way out in the outfield and just wanted to smell the fresh mowed grass and see what this generation of ball players looked like.

To my surprise in seven years the “chatter” got worse.  It was outright bullying.  I was the only one apparently disturbed that little girls were being encouraged to say these bullying chants from the field and from the bench alike – the louder, the better!  Gone was the time for the player to focus on playing the field and encouraging their pitcher.  It was all about trying to be ruder and more obnoxious. 

Time to share some of the more outrageous ones that are out there today:

● Hit it hard, down the middle, make the pitcher bend a little, make her (clap, clap) eat some dirt.

● Strawberry shortcake, banana split, we made your team look like – shift to the left, shift to the right, stand up, sit down – fight, fight, fight!

● (To the pitcher with high balls) Everybody!  Someone call the doctor she’s throwing up! (players make vomit sound)

● My name is ______ (sound of bats cracking fence).  I’m feeling fine (bats crack again).  You mess with me (bats crack), I’ll blow your mind.  I said bang-bang choo-choo train, wind me up, I’ll do my thang.  I know karate, I know kung fu, you mess with me, I’ll mess with you.

● Down by the river (repeat), took a little walk (repeat), met up with (other team) (repeat), had a little talk (repeat).  Pushed ‘em in the river (repeat), hung ‘em out to dry (repeat), we can beat (other team)(repeat) any old time (repeat).

●Error, error, whoo-whoo.  Error, error, whoo-whoo.  You did it, you did it, you might as well admit it, ‘cause one you make an error, we won’t let you FORGET IT!

● (Your player’s name) is a friend of mine.  She can hit it anytime.  Put a bat in her hand, she can do it, yes she can.  Hit, na-na-na!  Rip, na-na-na! Hit it hard, hit it fast.  Knock that pitcher on her… na-na-na-na, na-na,na,na.

Is it done with fun intentions?  Well yes, I hope so!

But just as we ask of all our umpires who work behind the plate calling balls and strikes….  Call them as you see them.

Okay, I will – this is not good!  It does teach bullying which is the most important message of this post, but secondarily it upsets me because it doesn’t teach the girls to be ready for the play.  People think you have to have girls learn a sport with cuteness and these ridiculous cheers for them to stay with it.  I disagree.  If that is what it takes, then why do the silly cheers and chants stop when the girls get into the older leagues?

Bottom line:  It doesn’t work!  When girls are learning the game, there are a lot of mistakes.  That is exactly what learning a sport and honing your skills is supposed to be as you get smarter, stronger, and faster to playing the great game of baseball/softball. 

Question for the coaches:  Coaches why encourage your team to ridicule other players during their development years?  Does it make you and your players feel good?  Well guess what?  

Congratulations – You are subscribing to the act of athletic bullying.  I guess it is easier to teach your team the latest cheers than how to play the game with passion, sportsmanship and respect.  

 

 

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.

Blog Post #3: "It's Spring - Where's My Bike!"

If you have spent any time above the Mason-Dixon Line, Spring is so welcome when it finally gets here and STAYS!  You can expect to see kids on their bikes all throughout neighborhoods everywhere.  Even if Dad didn’t get to pump up the tires yet, it was time to take off and meet up with friends after-school or on the weekends down at the cul-de-sac, park, or at the house that had the biggest concrete or blacktop driveway.

Riding bikes for those in elementary grades have always been a big deal.  It is one thing that has remained constant over the course of time.  There may be some newer variations of the concept of independent mobility, but for the foreseeable future, fathers and mothers will want to provide steadfast guidance with teaching the next generation how to peddle, balance, and steer all at the same time (which is key)!

I grew up with a brother who was four years older.  Like most younger sibs, I wanted to do everything he and his friends were doing.  This included riding bikes.  I had just mastered riding my bike the year before, so I was excited about this “new year” of bike riding season to prove that I could keep up with the “big boys.”   I had a pretty well-used bike as it turned out and no one gave it a look over to make sure it was road-worthy.  My brother and his neighborhood friends took off toward the end of our cul-de-sac circle, racing, skidding, popping wheelies and even jumping off homemade ramps.  Everything I was certain I could do – And would be great at!

Well, I’m sure my brother dreaded seeing me trying to catch up with his friends but I was in my glory peddling my fastest to close the gap.  As those older boys that I looked up to sat on their Schwinn and Huffy bikes seeing me getting closer and closer, I knew I had to show them my bike riding skills.   So with all my might, I jolted back and pulled up on the handlebars of the bike to pop one of the greatest wheelies that a six or seven-year-old could ever do.  As I was in the middle of the bike stunt, it was if I began to see everything in slow motion…  my front wheel fell off and with wide eyes I watched it roll past me…. I knew that coming down from this perfect wheelie was going to be painful! 

Gravity assisted me nicely and I dropped with the bike forks plowing in the gravel road and me being thrown up and over the handlebars.  Good thing it was early spring and I didn’t have on shorts and a short sleeve shirt, but I still felt the cinders tear up the clothing I wore.  After the slow-motion stopped and I put my askew glasses back on my face, I realized that my brother and his friends were all laughing hysterically at my giant fail!  As I picked myself up off the road, I wanted to leave the scene of the humiliation as quickly as possible as I felt the rush of embarrassment and tears began to set in.  Right before I returned to our driveway, I looked back to see my brother still laughing but carrying the unfortunate “unicycle.” 

I don’t remember much more from that traumatic incident.  Did my brother get in trouble for making fun of me or did I need any bandages?  I am not sure; but I think the lesson that I grabbed hold of that day was I needed to find a group who I could connect with, not because it was my brother’s group and I wanted to be like him.  Well, the lesson stuck.  From that day forward, I left his friends alone and only ran around with kids closer to my age, a very natural and sensible outcome that I understood to be for the best.

Or maybe… on that “finally spring” day, did I have an older brother get out my dad’s wrenches for a little sabotage.   Hmmmmmmm?!??!?

Doesn’t matter….. lesson learned!  

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.

Blog Post #2 – “Blame or Bloom: The World Will See"

My mom always has the best flower beds around. After retiring from being an office manager, she fulfilled her dream to become a master gardener. She knows her stuff! Also as I said in my bio, I grew up on a small family farm. Besides his white collar job during the day, my dad would lead the charge with all the work for the family to get done for the farm. The crops we grew were corn, oats, wheat, soybeans and then cut hay. So I consider my mom an expert in growing landscaping plants and my dad an expert in growing crops.

It is no wonder that one of my hobbies or interests that I love is plants and landscaping. It takes me outdoors with the beautiful things God created and gave us to grow and enjoy! Also I have to mention that something must have rubbed off from my side of the gene pool, because my oldest daughter will soon have her four year degree in Botany and looks forward to pursuing plant studies for her advanced degrees.

Having said all that…Let me get to the main point of this blog post. It takes extremely hard work to have great looking fields (and flower beds) and high yielding crops. It takes so much blood (sometimes ouch roses!), sweat, and back aches to achieve optimum results. All the weeding/tilling, the fertilizing, watering, did I mention WEEDING!!!!!!! It takes a lot of work.

I think we can all agree that “bad things happen to good people”. If you are alive and part of humankind, bad things can happen in one of three ways: Brought on by you/me, by others, and by those “acts of God.” How about some examples…..

  • Brought on by you/me: running a stop sign (ticket and/or accident), failure to perform a job duty (written up and/or fired), not paying utility bill (late fee/cut off).
  • Brought on by others: being in a car going through the intersection when someone runs a stop sign – CRASH, someone breaks into your house and steals your property, someone lies to slander your character.
  • Brought on by an “act of God”: a terminal illness, a sudden death (heart attack, stroke) natural disaster.

When bad things happen to us, we have the choice to make a natural response (EASY and popular) or the Christ-like response (HARD WORK, not popular).

Let me continue the trend of using the “letter B” to finish my illustration….. When the bad happens, I would bet everyone’s initial reaction is to bristle. I would immediately say, “Wow, I can’t believe that really happened!” I think that is a very natural reaction. From this initial reaction, we must then be aware of our attitude that sets the course to the final response. Please excuse my vulgar slang, but I want to be “real” to make a point; if bristle gives into bitching then we have an attitude of pride and a spirit of complaint – focus on me/you. However, if bristle gives way to an attitude of bowing then there is humility and a servant’s heart that begins with prayer.

Once you’ve determined the bitching or bowing attitude, then next comes whether you bite or bless. Those that bite will bring their venom and vitriol. They will let the cruel and bitter criticisms fly. All the poison they can shoot. Those that want to be Christ-like will turn to the Spirit of God living inside them and verbally with volition, choose to bless God and be a blessing to others. Finally, we then see the results play out with a life that either is living to blame or bloom. Those that blame will always show signs of atrophy in their spiritual life, as you go to a darker and more bitter place. On the other hand, those that have this servant Christ-like attitude and response, they will see huge growth for God!

It takes a lot of work to bloom. The easy way out is to blame.

Don’t forget about what Jesus said about being His disciples, they will

deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Matt 16:24-25, Matt 10:38-39, Luke 9:23

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.

Blog Post #1 – “My Flux Capacitor Is Ready!”

Hello and welcome! Thanks for making the best ‘clicking’ decision of your life.

How’s that for setting expectations!

Oh no, excuse me, I think I need a paperbag. I’ll be right back… Now that I’ve caught my breath, let me start over. Thanks for making the best ‘clicking’ decision of your day. Okay, that’s more in line with a middle child’s personality.

I will be offering my thoughts (sometimes rambling and rants) in a very conversational way as I comment on living in this world but trying (by the grace of God) not to be of it. I pray my words speak the truth in love.

So again, I welcome you and look forward to this journey together as we are challenged and inspired to be more Christ-like along with a healthy dose of reminiscing humor.

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Tim has much more to say about his blog topics. You may send him an email to discuss speaking opportunities or go to the Speaking sub-tab under Press and fill out form.