10
   

A book on parenting long overdue: The Last Boys Picked

 
 
wmwcjr
 
Reply Fri 10 May, 2013 06:44 pm
http://www.janetedgette.com/2013/images/banner-boys.png

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/bullying-and-the-boy-who-doesnt-like-sports/2012/08/10/aa13b90e-e313-11e1-98e7-89d659f9c106_blog.html
Quote:
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 08/29/2012
Bullying and the boy who doesn’t like sports
By Janice D'Arcy

We are poised n the start of another school year, and with it comes an increased focus on bullying.

From the White House to Hollywood to a schoolbus in Florida and another one in upstate New York, attention to the issue has only ratcheted up in recent months.

A new book coming out next week looks at the phenomenon specifically from a boy’s perspective, examining bullying as part of a larger cultural problem that disproportionally rewards physical prowess and sports proficiency, leaving boys who aren’t drawn to athletics vulnerable.

The Last Boys Picked: Helping Boys Who Don’t Play Sports Survive Bullies and Boyhood, (Berkeley Books) was written by Janet Sasson Edgette, family psychologist and mother of twin boys, and Beth Margolis Rupp, an educator.

Edgette and I talked about her inspiration for the book, why we all seemed to have just woken up to bullying as a problem and why the “boys will be boys” mentality is dangerous.

Below are excerpts from our Q&A:

JD: Why did you write this book now?

JSE: I actually started writing this book seven years ago. I had nine-year-old twin boys; Austin was a terrific athlete, and Jake was not. For years I’d already been noticing that this difference between them in physical abilities was so much bigger than just a difference in what they liked to do, or in what they were good at. It was a difference that had meaning for a lot of things: how each boy viewed and thought about himself as well as his twin, how well each was included in games and jokes by the kids on the block, whether waiting at the bus stop was easy or an excruciatingly self-conscious experience. In grade school, Austin leveraged his physical talents commendably into an elevated social status, while Jake struggled to find a place of comfort.

There were no books to help me talk to Jake about the things he was experiencing and no doubt thinking about, and no resources available to help me shore up his confidence in a social environment that didn’t value his particular skills, most of which were rooted not in body-kinesthetic but in interpersonal, intrapersonal, and existential sensibilities. And yet I knew that he was far from the only boy experiencing this marginalization from his community of peers — kids who believed that the only boys you really wanted to be seen hanging out with were those who, like yourself, matched up well with the stereotyped image of aggressive, sports-crazed, thrill-seeking, risk-taking males.

So, I figured I’d go ahead and write the book I wished were available to me.

JD: Can you talk about how our cultural dismissal of boys who don’t embrace sports or are “picked last” is related to bullying?

JSE: Whether we like it said or not, our society makes kings out of certain boys who then become our leaders and standard-bearers.

If we’re ever going to be able to quash the bullying, we’re going to need to hold ourselves accountable for society’s role in institutionalizing and sanctioning victimhood for nonathletic boys. We already know that we need to speak up against the abuse of personal power among children whenever and wherever we see it.

What we haven’t realized yet, is how much we need to disabuse our fellow adults of their illusions that all boys love to play sports and other competitive or aggressive games, and that there’s something the matter with the ones who don’t. When the grownups stop their exaltation of the physical, and learn to appreciate and seek out males’ many other sensibilities, the children too will stop.

JD: With the increased focus on bullying in recent years, there’s been some push back, with certain parents saying that many incidents described as “bullying” are really just kids being kids. Where’s the line between bullying and immature behavior?

JSE: Bullying is immature behavior, so there really isn’t any line. But what this question brings forward is our population’s collective suggestion that maybe-- just maybe -- we should lighten up a bit on all this anti-bullying and understand it as an expression of immaturity in kids -- i.e., a normal phase (especially in boys), something they’ll grow out of.

What a slippery slope that is though. There is already too much disguising of downright bad behavior on the part of boys by simply describing it as immature, or a matter of “kids being kids.” In these situations, kids, essentially, are given exemptions from appropriate social behavior based on the assumption that they don’t know better, or are at the mercy of their unmodulated impulses and emotions. They do know better; to wit, they manage to control themselves just fine in all the contexts in which it matters to them how they are perceived.

… By “unpacking” the language surrounding bullying, we can see it for what it is-behavior that intimidates, reduces, humiliates, devalues a person’s sense of self, or induces fear. What becomes apparent is how different it is in intent from other types of immature behavior, some of which may appear goofy, irrational, or ill-timed. Bullying may be all of those things too, but it is also and always mean.

JD: Why do you think we are just waking up to bullying as a problem, has it intensified in recent years or have adults become more sensitive to its repercussions?

JSE: Many things have brought bullying forward and are exposing it in ways never before possible. Not too long ago, bullying was a problem involving two, three, maybe a handful of kids. It happened in places where nobody saw it, or it disappeared quietly with a visit to the principal’s office or a call home.

But now, with the advent of the Internet and cell phones, bullying has a new, higher level of visibility and a higher level of play, with its exploitation of kids’ naivete and need for acceptance, and capitalization of public viewing. It is a runaway train.

… There’s more. Boys and girls are killing themselves after spending years being bullied, and we are reading about it the very day it happens. We see their faces and learn their names. Their stories have empowered other victims to come forward to tell their stories, and they are finding audiences online that are more receptive than ever. People are ready to hear.
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2013 07:53 pm
@wmwcjr,
Hmmmm.....

I see some problems with this idea. I think she's taken her own family and their experience and extrapolated it to the population at large.

"Nerds" are really considered to be pretty cool these days but they can be just as vicious as the "jocks" when it comes to bullying.

Quote:
...we all seemed to have just woken up to bullying as a problem

......

Not too long ago, bullying was a problem involving two, three, maybe a handful of kids.


This is untrue. Ask any adult, jock or nerd, about their experience with bullying. They'll tell you bullying has always been a problem The difference is that now we label everything as bullying.

Quote:
need to hold ourselves accountable for society’s role in institutionalizing and sanctioning victimhood for nonathletic boys


Some athletes are assholes but not all assholes are athletes.

Quote:
It happened in places where nobody saw it, or it disappeared quietly with a visit to the principal’s office or a call home.


Then let's ditch the asinine zero tolerance policies and go back to a visit to the principals office or a call home instead of calling the police and sending kids to jail.

I will agree that social media has made bullying more pervasive and that we're going to have to catch up to it in order to learn how to help.
wmwcjr
 
  4  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2013 08:20 pm
How amusing. Smile I've been tagged a "Republican Idiot"! I almost spewed spittle on my computer screen with laughter. Laughing This is really quite amusing, especially considering the fact that I'm not a Republican. (But. admittedly, I'm not a Democrat, either. And sorry, David, I'm also not a libertarian. I'm a naughty, disillusioned, unpatriotic independent and centrist. I've given up on politics in all its futility. Sad Que sera sera . . .) After all the times she's heard me rail against conservatives, my wife would guffaw. Laughing My friends would laugh, too.

I just might change my mind and stick around, after all. Twisted Evil (Then again, I might not . . . There's way too much flaming going on for such a sensitive guy as myself. Wink But on the other hand, it is entertaining. Twisted Evil You know, like a soap opera! Razz )

Thanks, whoever you are. I was depressed, but now you've just put a smile on my face. Razz Really, you have. Smile

"Republican Idiot" . . . absolutely hilarious! What will they think of next? Drunk * giggle * Mr. Green

The topic is serious; but, oh, well . . .
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2013 09:17 pm
@wmwcjr,
Quote:
The topic is serious


And yet you chose to respond to the tag put on your topic rather than the person who actually responded to your topic...


This is why the anonymous taggers continue to do this derogatory spamming. It works.

wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2013 10:22 pm
@Butrflynet,
You're right. I didn't notice boomerang's post. I thought no one had posted.
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 May, 2013 10:45 pm
@boomerang,
I apologize for missing your post. I thought no one had posted. Indeed, I expected a negative or indifferent response to my topic, which I didn't expect to be a popular one. Originally I was just going to let it stand without any further input from me. When I posted, I didn't see your reply. So, I apologize again.

I admit I haven't read the book, although I will purchase a copy. I wouldn't be able to read it because it deals with a "hot button" issue of mine. I'd probably be moved to tears. The mandatory P.E. experience of my youth was quite unpleasant for nonathletic boys in general. Most notably, it did not promote physical fitness for nonathletic kids. If the old P.E. had done so, I would have supported it; and I speak as a 62-year-old man who is a health club member today.

I don't think the authors of the book are saying that all "jocks" are bullies. I certainly don't believe that. I even have two close friends who played football in high school.

That's besides the point, anyway. I think they are right in saying that young nonathletic boys have a difficult time growing up in a society whose culture is saturated in sports. I'm sure much of the bullying nonathletic boys receive is done by boys who are either athlete wannabe's or mediocre at sports.

When I was young, nonathletic boys were bullied terribly. I still believe it happens at many schools today. Nonathletic boys are considered to be unmanly. They're stereotyped as wimps and sissies. When masculinity is defined solely in terms of athleticism, nonathletic boys will pay the price, despite the fact that there have been men of great courage who never participated in sports. Those who subscribe to machismo are quite likely to describe nonathletic boys as "feminized males." Believe me, I'm quite familiar with the mindset. I grew up with it.
wmwcjr
 
  2  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 02:09 am
@boomerang,
Perhaps social conditions are not the same at all high schools. Leadership provided by principals can make a difference. But I dare say that some principals have no problem with bullying. There still are many people who call bullying in schools a "rite of passage" or a "character-building experience" -- you know, the "boys will be boys" philosophy. They blame the victim instead of expecting any personal responsibility on the part of bullies. Different school districts have different policies. Some districts may have a "zero tolerance" policy (which, obviously, I would not support) while others are quite lax on bullying.

I also don't believe nerds are more popular today. Again, that might vary, depending upon the district. The same old hierarchy still seems to be in place at most high schools. I've seen it all before.

You seem to be viewing the book as being an expansive treatise on junior-high and high-school social life. Respectfully, I think you're missing the point. The appeal of the book is limited to the parents of boys who have no interest in sports. Like I said, I haven't read the book; but I deeply appreciate the notion that someone would address the problems faced by a particular group of boys who are often denigrated and ignored, and would offer advice to their parents to help them cope with their situation. If the two writers of the book have actually succeeded in doing this, then they have performed a public service; and I would commend them for it.

You seem to be discounting the problems nonathletic boys face. Several years ago I found this interesting post that was submitted by a New York psychologist, with whom I subsequently had an e-mail exchange. I learned that he was a former college athlete who had been a member of a rowing team. He was compassionate enough to address the problems nonathletic boys face.

Here's a link and the text of his post.

http://americanmentalhealthfoundation.org/entry.php?id=135
Quote:

The Sports Wound and Bullying
by Dr. William Van Ornum May 12, 2010 8:19am

Many of the public and well as the mental health professions have never heard of the phrase "sports wound." This refers to males who do not display athletic prowess or good eye-hand coordination. As much as we may want to deny this, boys who lack sports ability often are teased and bullied through their growing up years.

Yes, many coaches and physical education teachers are sensitive to this and intervene. But even if the teasing and bullying stops, the boy has received a message that he can't handle himself like the other boys in this situation.

Wise parents and teachers guide the youngster into pursuits where they have strengths or talents and can attain success. Judo, karate, scouts, non-competive sports, carpentry, archery, and many other venues offer boys with the "sports wound" a chance to succeed.

Historically boys with the "sports wound" have been teased as being homosexual. Whatever his sexual orientation, it is cruelty to be on the receiving end of such comments. And these hurtful words continue to be spoken on athletic fields and phys ed classes around the world.

Our society rewards athletes. When even the President of the United States, a man attuned to racism and prejudice, taunts retarded children by saying is low score in bowling was "like someone in the Olympics", we realize the strong and continuing presence of factors leading to the sports wounds.

We may tell children aout how many great high school athletes burn out right after high school and end up in menial jobs. But smart youngsters will also note the many highly successful men whose success is in heavy measure supported by the self-esteem and drive that comes from success in the athletic arena.

I wonder if this same sports wound phenomenon is happening to girls, now that there are so many girls sports. Intriguing. we need to watch for this, listen to the children, and obtain some data.

The "sports wound" shows us some of the sadnesses and paradoxes of a lack of athletic talent, and how many times thiis is associated with bullying and teasing which are strongly supported by attitudes putting athletic skills up on the pedastal.


(Sorry for the misspellings. He must have been in a hurry when he wrote it.)

The sports wound is real.
Joe Nation
 
  3  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 06:39 am
I haven't read the book either, but I have to agree with Boomerang that we label too many things as bullying. I think teachers have to be alert for those kids who are getting teased too much and say "Knock it off." I don't know if that's possible these days.

I do remember fearing that my kids, little for their age (their mom was 4'9"), wouldn't be able to keep up with the taller kids. Consciously or unconsciously, I practiced with my guys, with a soccer ball, with a baseball bat and ball, got them to run, taught them to bike. When they got to the soccer field, having done hundreds of jukes and jives around me, they had no trouble leaving the sneering fullback looking at his shoes.
We practiced swinging at a baseball. (Note: buy ten baseballs. that way you just keep pitching and don't have to stop after every hit or strike.)
They got good. We had a big yard, next to the schoolyard. They also got good at throwing because I said they had to go get the balls that had been hit and throw them back to our "Home Plate".
They thought it was so funny when I took the oldest kiddo to play Tee-Ball.
"Pop," they said, "You get to hit the ball off this plastic thing!! It's not even moving!!"
The feeling in the pit of my stomach went away.
Did I teach them to fight? (I was and am a pacifist, I think.) No, I taught them to fight back to the point that that particular person wouldn't dare start trouble again.
I got a call from Sister Mary Helen one day. It seems A. was in choir practice and whoever was behind and above him kept messing with his hair. She saw it happen once , twice....after the third time, the kid got a left elbow from A. right in the nuts. She was concerned that the kid might retaliate out of school. "He might." I said,"But, don't worry about A. , he'll not start trouble but he will finish it." "That's what I mean" she replied, "I'm worried about (the other kid)."
"Maybe you should warn him, not me."

Joe(I was never picked first, but I was never picked last.)Nation
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 08:34 am
@wmwcjr,
I think if this book had been written in the 1940s or even the 1980s, I'd think the author was on to something. But 2012? Not so much.

Most schools don't even have PE anymore and if they do offer it it's an elective. (We can thank budget cuts and NCLB (and Race to the Top) for that.) My son's elementary school raised their own funds to hire a PE teacher and NONE of what they did in class was competitive. His middle school doesn't offer PE at all.

Now schools are all about STEM -- that's where the competition takes place -- and the competition is fierce.

Until high school, sports are really removed from the school, playing out in private leagues. Nobody really knows who plays sports and who doesn't.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 08:59 am
@wmwcjr,
Quote:
The appeal of the book is limited to the parents of boys who have no interest in sports


That's fine but why not be a book about how to help your child succeed without it making them victims of bullying? I just read Paul Tough's book "How Children Succeed" and it had nothing to do with sports and everything to do with overcoming adversity (and a lot about how every school should have a chess club with a demanding coach).

Quote:
We may tell children aout how many great high school athletes burn out right after high school and end up in menial jobs.


I think this is a TERRIBLE mindset -- teaching your kid that the only way they can "win" is if other people "fail". I see this everywhere and it really pisses me off. Why don't we just teach our kids that there is room enough in the world for all of us?

This is one area where I think athletics really help kids. Your team lost? Big deal. Dust yourself off and practice some more. Athletes experience more failure than non-athletes and they take it in stride.

I've read a LOT of research over the last couple of years that point out that kids who are afraid of failing often don't even try.

If you're on a team at least you try.

Maybe confidence is confused with being a bully. Maybe it's just easier to say that bigger, faster, stronger kid is a bully. I don't know.

I'm suspicious of any book that says "blame him/her" for whatever problems someone faces.

As your own source points out -- kids are smarter than that:

Quote:
But smart youngsters will also note the many highly successful men whose success is in heavy measure supported by the self-esteem and drive that comes from success in the athletic arena.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 09:02 am
@Joe Nation,
This is exactly what I'm talking about -- trying.

Joe's kids tried. They put themselves out there and they gave it a shot.

I don't think it matters whether a kid puts themselves out there in athletics or academics. I don't think it matters whether they win or lose as long as they have the confidence to try something.
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  2  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 09:17 am
@boomerang,
Good. Sounds like the polar opposite of the mandatory P.E. of my youth. But again, policies vary from district to district. I once had an e-mail exchange with a leading proponent of the innovative (but quite effective) PE4Life program who said the "old P.E." was still a reality in some school districts.
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 09:59 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Quote:
We may tell children aout how many great high school athletes burn out right after high school and end up in menial jobs.[/about]



I think this is a TERRIBLE mindset -- teaching your kid that the only way they can "win" is if other people "fail". I see this everywhere and it really pisses me off. Why don't we just teach our kids that there is room enough in the world for all of us?


Good grief. Dr. Van Ornum was speaking only hypothetically at this particular point in his post. He wasn't actually advocating that attitude. He then refutes that view in his very next sentence, as you've just indicated.

boomerang wrote:
This is one area where I think athletics really help kids. Your team lost? Big deal. Dust yourself off and practice some more. Athletes experience more failure than non-athletes and they take it in stride.

I've read a LOT of research over the last couple of years that point out that kids who are afraid of failing often don't even try.

If you're on a team at least you try.

Maybe confidence is confused with being a bully. Maybe it's just easier to say that bigger, faster, stronger kid is a bully. I don't know.


Perhaps I'm wrong here, but you and Joe Nation seem to be expressing the oft-held view that sports are essential to a child's development (especially boys) and that those children who simply have no interest in them have something wrong with them and will end up being deficient or even inferior. I beg to differ with that view. The problem is not that nonathletic boys don't try; the problem is they're simply not interested in sports. I reject the idea of compulsory sports.

If a boy will feel better about himself if he participates in a sport, then he must do so. But as I've tried to point out, boys aren't all the same. Personal preferences should be respected (but aren't).

As far as the book is concerned, I'm sure the authors present some sort of program for building self-esteem -- which, of course, is done by working to achieve something. I don't think they're into blaming others. By the way, as far as "blaming" is concerned, that is usually done by those who condone bullying. "It's the victim's fault. He brought it on himself." Sounds like the rape culture that blames the victims of rape for the crime. "She brought it on herself."

This will be my last post in this topic. Continuing to post would be in vain when people already have their minds made up and are unwilling to consider another point of view. There have been hundreds, probably thousands of books published over the years about coaching youth sports and books written for the parents of athletic kids. But the publication of one, just one book directed to the parents of nonathletic boys, a book that simply presents another view instead of the predominant culture of school sports -- this book elicits controversy. How dare anyone write such a book! The views I've presented in this topic regarding young boys who have no interest in sports have been compassionate and tolerant, but the predominant sports culture views such a book (or any expression of the nonathletic point of view) as a provocative affront.
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 10:31 am
Oh, wait! Something's happened! The scales have fallen from my eyes! Now I see the truth!

I want to apologize to the readers for what I said above. I was absolutely wrong! Of course, sports ARE essential to the development of children, especially boys. Any boy who has no interest in sports is sick in the head! He is effeminate and probably has homosexual tendencies. Only athletes and men in certain blue-collar professions are real men. The rest are feminized males. Sports build character. Athletes are a better group of people than nonathletes. The athletes of a high school are the cream of the crop and are the natural leaders of the students. The "jock bully" stereotype is totally false and is a creation of Hollywood. Bullying is unheard of in school sports. Penn State was much ado about nothing. The real scandal was that JoPa was fired! Pity those two Steubenville high-school football players who were found guilty of rape. Their lives have been ruined, and all because of some 16-year-old slut who brought it upon herself! She's a liar and deserves what's coming to her! No wonder Steubenville wasn't mentioned a single time in the A2K forum. It simply wasn't important!

Now I think I'll go watch ESPN for a few hours. Smile
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 10:33 am
@wmwcjr,
If you think I'm a big sports fan you're wrong.

I can probably name thousands of painters and hundreds of writers and maybe 15 athletes.

My point is -- I think the author is making a mistake by suggesting that kids are being bullied because they're non athletic. Athletes get bullied too. (Where is the book for the parents of those kids?). Kids get bullied (and I use that word in the common 2013 usage of every slight being considered bullying) for anything that makes them different from any one person.

I'm not saying your experience isn't valid or that you weren't bullied. I'm saying it wasn't because you weren't athletic -- if you had been athletic it would have been because you were tall, or short, or fat, or thin, or you read sci-fi, or you drew comics, or your hair was curly, or you wore glasses, or you had any one of a hundred things that made you slightly different from anyone else.

And I'm definitely not blaming the victim.

0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 May, 2013 10:38 am
@wmwcjr,
Oh please.

Sports aren't essential but failures are essential to the development of children. Sports give kids an opportunity to fail in small ways and the opportunity to learn to deal with failure. Other kinds of competitions do this too.

Academia and the arts have their share of rapists and perverts too but their hobbies don't get the blame for their actions.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 May, 2013 10:50 am
@wmwcjr,
Wow. Hissy fit much?
This is a discussion board. People have differing opinions, nobody else has espoused black and white ideals but you. I've seen you pull this crap before. We get it. You were bullied because you don't like sports. Sorry 'bout that.
I was bullied because I had buck teeth. I now have a pathological hatred for beavers. We all have our crosses to bear.
I happen to agree to many things the author has written.
I have a nephew, the middle child. He goes to the neighbourhood school, a soccer academy, where his older and younger siblings are already established as gifted athletes.
He's a charming little fellow, soft, bright.. he loves dinosaurs and magic and salamanders, science and taekwondo, team sports not so much.
His school has done something really cool. They know that they've got kids in both camps. So, they have alternate P.E. programs.
The soccer academy runs year round. In one semester, kids in the soccer programs spend a portion of the day playing the game, working on drills and so on.. The rest of the year playing other sports in normal P.E. class.
Parents and educators realize that children can't sit in desks all day, or in libraries, even nerds need to run around once in a while... Children that aren't in the soccer program have other options as well. Kids can be part of the normal, sports driven PE classes or join a program that has them going for hikes, golfing, swimming, dancing, skiing, geo-caching...
The point is, yes, some kids are not competitive, graceful, athletic, driven.. whatever. I think schools and people are recognizing this and changes have and are being made. Kids like my nephew are not being bullied because they don't stand out as different. They get to find physical activities that they like and get to pursue them instead of being forced to do something they will hate and suck at.
We have schools here mirror this soccer program, with other sports, languages, arts, cadet, music, dance programs and so on. Obviously, in a city, its easier to provide an array of programs and choices to students. Smaller centres don't have the same luxuries. Like Boomer, I've seen changes all across the board. Do the same attitudes prevail, sure. It is getting better. I hope. That being said, we've had several high profile suicides of young girls who were bullied. So yeah, there's a hell of a lot more that could and hopefully will be done to stop some of the obvious problems.
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 May, 2013 02:51 pm
@Ceili,
Thank you for being civil.

My only purpose in submitting the OP was to call attention to a book that I thought would be helpful to at least a few parents. The last book I came across that dealt, in part, with boys who have no interest in sports was The Feminized Male by Patricia Cayo Sexton, who was a New York sociology professor. This publication was a hate-filled diatribe against such boys and nonathletic men as well. It employed some of the most vicious, demeaning stereotypes I've ever heard. As a nonathlete skimming through the book, I fully understood for the first time in my life just how a black person or a Jew, for example, feels when he is presented with racist hate literature directed against his people. After discovering Professor Sexton's hate literature, I was delighted that professionals had seen fit to write a book dealing with the problems faced by young boys who have no interest in sports. I had previously read Dr. Van Ornum's post three years before -- excellent in the sense of suggesting a positive approach to help these boys cope with their situation.

Getting back to my OP, I should have specified my purpose -- instead of just posting the image and the online article about the book. I did not expect a debate because I believed there was nothing to debate, since the appeal of the book was restricted. I actually didn't expect much of a response. In fact, I thought there might not be any replies, which was fine with me. Originally I had intended to leave the topic alone, but that is not what happened. As you've no doubt read above, you can see how I got drawn into this mess.

Yes, I lost my temper. But as far as my throwing a hissy-fit is concerned, am I unique in that regard? Seems to me that's quite common -- not only in the A2K forums, but at most other websites as well. Many of the other A2K members have thrown hissy-fits and worse. Yes, I shouldn't have lost my temper; but you might want to put that in perspective.

As I said, I was delighted that professionals had seen the need to write such a book. Hundreds of books on coaching youth sports and books addressed to the parents young athletes have been published over the decades; but as far as I know, this book is the only one that is addressed to the parents of young boys who have no interest in sports. So, I was dismayed by the reaction of tearing this book to shreds, as if this problem doesn't exist and such boys are not deserving of any consideration at all.

What's funny, Ceili, is that there are three recently published books I heartily approve of, but are not able to read without getting upset. I'm absolutely delighted they've been published, but I can't read them. (I'm just a sensitive guy. A previous acquaintance of mine, knowing of my deep interest in the history of totalitariansim, was surprised when I told her that I had not ever watched Schindler's List. I knew it would be too upsetting to watch.) This book, of course, is one of them. I'm sure it would bring tears to my eyes after I had read the first few pages. So, I felt like my child was being attacked. (Actually, I have two daughters and no sons; and both of them are grown.)

By the way (in case you haven't already read what I might have said in other posts I've submitted in these forums), I'm not the stereotypical sedentary nonathletic guy. I've been a physically active guy ever since I was diagnosed with diabetes. Over the last several years, I've spent a small fortune on a succession of personal trainers at a local health club working on a bodybuilding program. Although I'm far from my goal, I've attained muscular development that would have amazed me when I was a kid. (Just so there won't be yet another misunderstanding, I'm not speaking out of vanity here. I don't tell other guys what they should do with their bodies. It's none of my business. I've had an inferiority complex for most of my life.) I have given the lie to the old mandatory boys' P.E., which was centered exclusively around sports and provided no exercise or fitness programs for the nonathletic boys. There are more men than you would realize who have achieved high levels of physical fitness without ever participating in sports.

Now, don't forget that I did say in one of my posts above that any boy who would feel better about himself if he participated in a sport should be given the opportunity to do so. I would even say this is something he must do. But that is a matter of what his own personal needs are -- needs that, incidentally, are not necessarily shared by other boys.

In my humble opinion, before I lost my temper, the views I expressed or presented (such as those of Dr. Van Ornum) were humane, moderate, and compassionate. Those views remain unchanged.
Chumly
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 May, 2013 06:16 pm
@wmwcjr,
Hi wmwcjr,

I'm pro physical health, but I'm against institutionalized, government-mandated, competitive, organized-sports for those that do not want it.

The belief that all children must participate in institutionalized, government-mandated, competitive, organized-sports is no different (in essence) than the belief that all children must participate in institutionalized, government-mandated religion, or any other idealized code of behavior that meets some presupposed societal normative.
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 13 May, 2013 09:19 am
@boomerang,
at first, boomerang wrote:

I think she's taken her own family and their experience and extrapolated it to the population at large.


then, boomerang wrote:
Most schools don't even have PE anymore and if they do offer it it's an elective. (We can thank budget cuts and NCLB (and Race to the Top) for that.) My son's elementary school raised their own funds to hire a PE teacher and NONE of what they did in class was competitive. His middle school doesn't offer PE at all.

Let's try to follow the logic here:

One woman's son experienced bullying because he wasn't athletic. That hasn't been your experience. That mother writes a book saying that non-athletic boys are bullied. You claim that that's only her experience. Well, maybe so, but you base that conclusion only on your experience. But perhaps it's your experience that's abnormal, not hers.

I can tell you, for instance, that schools in Illinois are required to offer PE. It's not an elective. Indeed, four years of PE in high school is mandated by law. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

There's one way to tell if the author's experience is atypical: if no one buys the book, then that would be strong evidence that there's no widespread problem. My guess, however, is that some people actually bought the book because they could relate to its topic.
 

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