Saturday, May 22, 2010


Nearly every single day after school, almost without fail, Youngest plays soccer with a bunch of other kids whose parents are either: 
  • waiting in the long line of cars in the circle to pick up their kids,
  • waiting until the line clears before coming to the school,
  • racing from a job or another kid's school to make it to pick up, or
  • in the rare case of three or four other women, are just like me and letting their kids burn it off for 30 minutes or so before returning home.
For the past couple of weeks, a handful of fifth grade boys have come to our side of the school to play. Most of them don't really play soccer, but they believe their size and speed offsets their lack of skills against second graders and third graders who are diehard players. (It doesn't.) They try to overpower; I am there to stop it.

And stop it, I do, when I see something egregious happen. It's not a real game of soccer. Shit, I don't know the rules to ref a real game of soccer, and I'm often talking with the three or four other parents who are present, so I don't see everything. But I keep my eyes and ears out, and the kids will inevitably shout for me if it gets out of hand.

Two of the worst offending fifth graders showed up yesterday. I know them from doing yard duty and watching their interactions with others. They are bully wannabes. I think of them as "dickheads." They don't join the game, though, because something catches their eye.

He's a high schooler, cutting across the play yard to avoid crossing the creek. He is not doing anything wrong and he is not bothering anyone. But he is wearing yellow pants. The pants are, indeed, quite flamboyant and surely meant to draw attention to the wearer.

I see three fifth graders, including the two dickheads, start following him. They are not talking loud enough for him to hear, but their words carry over to me. "Fag." "Gay." As they take off after him, I take off after them.

No gay bashing on my watch, dickheads.

At the play structure, one of the three has stopped. He sees me coming. He says to me, "They're going to ask him if he's gay."

Yellow-clad high schooler walks very quickly. Two dickhead fifth graders can't keep up. One enraged woman comes upon the two dickheads.

"We were only going to ask him if he's gay," the dickiest of the two dickheads say.

"So what if he is? You leave him alone. You don't go after people. There's a word for your kind, you know. 'Juvenile delinquents.'" I start to walk away. And then I add, "And you can't play soccer here anymore. Your kind aren't allowed."

Okay, I'm not so articulate, am I? But calling fouls when I see them, that's what I'm there for, yes?

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