Raising Boys Is a Full-Contact Sport

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I wish I had it on video. From then on, Jeff and Debbie, who was also a teacher, knew Mike was a special talent. But rather than fill his head, or their own, with World Series visions, the Trouts drew on their experiences as educators and focused on daily efforts to encourage and give their children opportunities to follow and master their passions. We knew that, but we never focused on it. As a coach, I saw the pressure parents put on their kids.

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We avoided that. Click here to show us how. Having experienced the minor league struggle, Jeff was nervous about Mike becoming a youth sports burnout.

Tough conversations with Debbie about how much was too much ensued. As tends to happen in such talks, Jeff sided with his wife. It turns out, that was the right move. Despite being the consensus top prospect in the Amateur Draft, Mike was just the 25th player selected. One of the reasons he slipped that far was the notion that players from non-warm weather states like California, Florida, and Texas — where kids can play baseball year-round — are less likely to make the majors.

Your arm needs a rest. They learn different skill sets, movements, how to control their bodies, and compete with different coaches.

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Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. In all my years of blithely touting feminism, I had understood it only in an abstract way. Now I got it, understood that because I was the one with the womb and the mammary glands, I would be the one carrying the children and then feeding them.

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It was a startling window into other times and worlds, where, if you had no birth control and your body belonged to your husband by law, then you could just be impregnated over and over again, sidelined and kept at home. Suddenly my feminism was visceral. But the embarrassing truth is that, in my case, this is what happened.


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Looking back, there were a lot of things I should have talked more about to the boys. Many of my friends turn out to have strategised. Like so many women, I was forced to reassess experiences and ask myself why I had accepted certain things, even blamed myself for them.

At one meal, when I tried to explain to a table of men and boys why MeToo was a necessary act of mass civil disobedience, how the ideal of a rule of law actually shielded white men and protected the status quo, how most women who are assaulted never get justice, it all fell apart. The meaning of rule of law was explained to me.

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I lost it and walked away in tears. When the boys were small, they were a little gang and I revelled in it. Mad-good company, sometimes best friends and sometimes worst enemies, a whirling cloud of fists and insults and laughs, like living with the Bash Street Kids.

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But it was impossible not to notice how differently they behaved to some of the girls we knew. Then, as they got older and we all emerged from the long tunnel of semi-delirious exhaustion, Mike and I began to see things differently. Occasionally I felt outnumbered. I hate bloody football. None of them ever wanted to go clothes shopping with me. But my eldest son, Sam, now 17, likes to talk about films or tell me amazing facts about the stars and the universe. My youngest, Joe, is obsessed with music, and some of the happiest times of my life have been spent playing YouTube jukebox with him.

They like some of the things I like and not others.

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Sam has as many female as male friends. He says boys and girls can do the same things. But Sam laughed when I suggested this. They may yet turn out to be oppressive, patriarchal monsters, but the signs are pretty well submerged for now. Why did I find this so hard to write?

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