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Saturday, February 8, 2014

THE BACKLASH AGAINST BOYS -- AND FOOTBALL

 WHO’S GOING TO RUN THE WORLD IF YOU WATER DOWN ALL THE ALPHAS?    There is something known as the “Backlash Against Boys,” which I have been reading about since my oldest (now 13) was born.  I started with the book entitled, “Raising Cain;” my favorite is “The Trouble with Boys;” and the most recent is “The War Against Boys.”  The theory in sum:  the “Feminist Revolution” mostly had an impact on education.  Back in the day, the curriculum and the world were heavily stacked so that boys would succeed.  No one ever called on a girl if she had her hand raised along with the boys.  Then, through the “Feminist Movement”, the tables slowly began to turn.  Most teachers are now female, which has meant less male role models in the classroom for boys.  The literary curriculum is said to be dominated by girl-oriented books.  According to these books, (this was definitely not my experience at BDMS) teachers tend to call on girls more than boys in class;  boys who naturally have more energy and can’t sit still on a mat endlessly are labeled early on as inattentive or worse, as having ADHD as early as pre-school. 


       As the mother of two boys at BDMS, this was not my experience at all, but how could these books be so wrong?  I guess you could say, having my boys at BDMS, we were sheltered from “the storm.”  This has both its advantages and its disadvantages.
            Thus, it was important to me that my boys get out into the “real world” by participating in something like the Newburgh Rowing Club, where the 100+ registered rowers are from all walks of life, from public schools in Newburgh, and other public school districts, to our Catholic schools and private schools.  And lo and behold, my boys came away with an even better experience about participating in a sport.  Rowing and having a stake in the Boathouse has taught them to clean up after themselves and be responsible for their own things, like doing their laundry.  They carry tools around, like a 3/16 wrench.  Having to Save the NFA Crew Team and going to countless coin drop-style fundraisers 2 years ago taught Christian at an early age that nothing good comes easy, to hold the door open for everyone, to look adults in the eye, shake their hands and say “Thank you.” 
            Thus, until recently, I did not experience this whole “Backlash Against Boys” and started to think it was an urban myth -- until Christian started playing youth football.  Initially, there were people who tried to convince him, as well as Anthony and myself, not to let him play football.  Some of the comments I got from people before I began to identify myself as a “football mom” were:  “Those kids are animals, you’re going to let your son turn into an animal too?” and “I hate football, just a bunch of Neandertals smashing into each other, how could you let your son do that?”  and “Football is such a sexist sport.”   And there it was.  For a dozen years, we were sheltered from the Backlash Against Boys, and then we entered its very Vortex.  Just as people feel completely free to bash Catholics, there is a segment of the population that feels completely free to bash youth football and the boys who become football players.  (I’m not talking about the NFL or even college ball in this Blog, but youth football players -- kids).
            Recently, a local agency that supports crime victims and other victims, and that I have always supported, posted an image on Facebook of a football and part of a football field, superimposed upon which was a statistic about the average age that girls enter into prostitution.  I wished to point out that  YOUTH football players, of whom my son is one, had nothing to do with this disturbing statistic. I posted a comment that basically said,  “Love your organization, but WTH does this have to do with football?” and signed off as Mrs. Lo, Proud Football Mom. 
The comments I got back were from the agency and a female lawyer, telling me to check out how much human sex trafficking occurs at major sporting events like football.  Slavery, human sex trafficking, kidnappings, are horrible.  How would I know?  In fact, I have done a lot more to quietly battle for these victims in my career than just put up a facebook post.  I have been part of the pro bono panel of lawyers for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Arlington, VA for almost 2 decades.  I have donated well over $100,000.00 in free legal fees to represent victims of international kidnappings, as well as domestic violence victims, and am one of the few attorneys in the area on the U.S. State Department’s list of attorneys capable of handling International Hague Convention cases, and have been honored in Washington, DC for my work.  But I let it go and, as always, decided to Blog about it.
            Our youth football players are good boys and they don’t deserve to be associated with this disturbing statistic.  It basically is giving the message that football and prostitution go together.  Youth Football is not the Enemy, people.  Our players are such good boys, they are the ones who hold doors, say, “Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Sir”, are scholar-athletes, protect their moms and sisters, and work their tails off. 
So, is there a backlash against boys?  Yes, there certainly is in some corners of the country.  But the bigger question is: why?  Here is why:  Society is systematically trying to dismantle the concept of the Alpha (the born leader).  The education system on a whole does not reward anyone for being a leader, but rather fitting in to a one size fits all, Common Core taking student (not talking about BDMS).  Not all Alphas are boys and most boys are not Alphas.  I’m an Alpha, my husband is an Alpha, my grandmother was an Alpha, my oldest son is an Alpha.  Coach Kennedy is an Alpha.  My youngest son is a happy, unique, brilliant, charming individual.  Not an Alpha, though, and that’s OK.   The World has tried to squish the Alpha out of me for decades and it hasn’t worked.  I won’t let anyone squish the Alpha out of my son and if your child has those qualities, please continue to cherish and encourage them.   There is a place in the world for all our children’s different rainbow personalities.  My prayer is for this country to start accepting kids in all their natural forms, whether it’s Hippie Chick or Alpha male or female or Quiet Scholar.
            Football is a great youth sport, it has changed and shaped my son into a better person in every way. One of the last places in America where Boys are rewarded for being an Alpha male is the football field.   Some of my proudest moments were when Christian did not catch the ball, but when he tried anyway, in his effort to help the team he loved so much.  Toward the end of the season, he was playing with fractured ribs, although he had been diagnosed with bruised ribs, and it was getting harder and harder for him to turn and run his route with his usual speed.  Sometimes he could still catch the ball, sometimes he just couldn’t get there but he was willing to try, over and over again, for the betterment of his team.  And on the football field, that quality in him, and so many others, which allows them to force themselves through the pain to take a chance, in order to make something good happen for their team, that quality is rewarded on the football field; but in few other locations throughout America.  Youth Football’s not the enemy, people, extreme views are.
So here’s an idea.  Since some Alpha males and females are going to  be needed to run our towns and villages, our families, and our nation in the future:  how about we adults cut the (CENSORED) with this generation, check our extreme views at the door, and just let kids be kids, whoever they may naturally be. 
            And that’s how Mrs. Lo sees it (for all you Glee fans out there).  Have a great day, everyone, and as always, remember to Count Your Blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo(Photo of my son, Christian, No. 56, on the field with Coach Tompkins)