I was at my son’s baseball game tonight. Sitting on the bleachers with all of the other parents and just watching… and listening. Since I live in another city, I am very much an outsider when I show up to these events now. I know one or two parents from before I moved but mostly, no one knows me. So I am left to sit quietly and am usually not included in conversation. This suits me just fine. Small talk is not something that I enjoy now much and to be honest, I feel so removed and detached from the lives that these people live that I just have no urge to connect.
Sitting today with the sun on my face, I closed my eyes for a moment and lifted my face up to the sun and felt how good it was to be warm and relaxed with no immediate schedule… listening to the kids warm up on the field and the sounds of the ball in the gloves and kids laughing. Then something else caught my attention… the parents. Not all of them… not even most of them… just a few. Now keep in mind this is pre-game – the criticism of the calls of the umpires was still to come (and that is, sadly, expected). It started with a simple question “do we have girls on the team?” and escalated from there to a discussion on the gender norms and why the one boy had such long hair and why the other girl was bigger than most of the boys…”I hope they put her in something more girl appropriate so she doesn’t get butchy” “he should put his hair in a ponytail, or maybe his sister can braid it for him if he’s going to wear it like a girl” how now they had to watch the “you throw like a girl” jokes. Hahahaha. The laughter and joking made me turn around and look, incredulous that in this day and age there is still the slamming that goes on that I had hoped would be gone. Sad that these are the parents of the children that my son will grow up with. Scared and concerned that these biased “jokes” will creep into the oh-so impressionable ears of their kids and be planted like seeds. Seeds of thoughts that will do nothing towards making our society a more welcoming and accepting place for everyone to grow up and be who and what and how they are. I wanted to give these people a shake and tell them that they need to realize that the amazing beings their kids are doesn’t link one bit to what they look like or dress like… that the physical manifestations of how they choose to express who they are should be celebrated and embraced, not critiqued.