I'm not a rah-rah-rah, all-kids-should-get-an-A-for-effort, and a trophy-just-for-tryin' kind of a gal, but you know what sets my blood boiling on a Bunsen burner? PE teachers and coaches who still encourage the practice of picking teams. Especially now, when kids are heavier and more lethargic than ever before, and physical activity is being squeezed out of their lives by television screens and video games ... I KNOW WHAT LET’S DO! LET’S HUMILIATE THEM INTO SHAPE. THAT SHOULD WORK! We’ll let the cool athletic kids decide who’s worthy of a good workout, and make sure the uncool and uncoordinated ones know how much their peers devalue them! Then we’ll let them play and have fun!
In what back assward universe does it make sense for a child to start a game feeling like a loser? Picking teams is not an exercise in sportsmanship or “manning up”, it’s institutionalized bullying, and it’s barbaric. How in the world are we supposed to end bullying in schools when teachers are mandating it on the playing field?
I’m not talking about something that happened to my own kids, or to kids at their school, I just realized recently that picking teams is still a common practice and it makes me ... FEEL VERY UNFUNNY. Kids are committing suicide because of bullying. Children are taking their own lives, because other children have made living unbearable for them. Grownups need to grow up and take charge and root out bullying of EVERY kind. It’s not an excuse to say “life is unfair and kids need to know it”. Especially when we’re the ones making it that way.
Speaking of bullies, I don’t even know what to make of this video that’s making the Internet rounds right now. As much as I’d be tempted to insert my own boot in the ass of any child who would abuse or ridicule another, and as much as I don’t blame the bullied boy for doing what he did (and as much as I don’t understand how someone could stand by and VIDEOTAPE this incident), the site of that bully’s knees (or maybe they were his shins, I can’t watch it more than once) being cracked on the pavement is so physically disturbing to me, I don’t see how people can revel in it. I felt lightheaded watching that boy try to walk.
Have we really arrived at a place where we’re comfortable witnessing violence as long as it’s deserved? And isn't that a big part of the problem?
Have kids always had this potential for cruelty or do you find yourselves, like me, looking around helplessly and wondering what the hell happened here?