I'm not one for confrontation. I don't like to argue. I try to look at all things from any angle possible and, though I'll typically have my stance on a certain subject, I can usually see the other side of things.
The high school debate club was not my favorite place. I sucked at it.
But I had a debate recently and didn't do so well at seeing the other side.
I was at a client the other day for a wellness fair (which has no bearing on this story). It was basically a group of about 10 of us, all sitting at our own respective tables, displaying whatever product or service we offered and the employees of this organization could stop by our table and talk to us about whatever it was we had to talk about. And it was dead. I mean, dead. I was there for about 4 hours and spoke to maybe 5 people, if that.
We had some down time. All 10 of us. Sure, I did get some Christmas shopping (online) done and stopped by my favorite surrogacy board (AAS), but most of us were sales people at these tables, so of course we all have the gift of gab.
And then the debate started. It was between me and a gentleman that worked for an investment company I think, sitting directly across from me. This guy (we'll call him "Jim" for purposes of my blog post) is a big guy. Probably 6'4" ish and pushing 3 bills. He was talking (to everyone) about how he, his pregnant wife and 4 year old son just moved to Grafton (an area north of Milwaukee) because they have a "really crappy" high school football team. I kinda looked at him like "huh"? And asked...why would you move to a place just because they had a cruddy football team? His response-"Because I will never allow my children to play football and with a crappy football team, there will be less of a chance of my children wanting to play".
There's a couple issues here, in my opinion. First, moving to a community just because they have a crappy football team seems odd to me. Especially considering your son is 4 YEARS OLD. He's not going to be in high school for ANOTHER 11 years. Do you think maybe there's a chance that the football team could change it's course in 11 years and possibly turn into a good team? Ever think about that?
Oh, but here was the big debate. He was adamant--like almost pissy about it--that his son would NEVER play football because he (Jim) got hurt playing football when he was in high school. So, he will never allow his children to play because of that. I have an issue with this. I believe that children should be allowed to make their own choices at a certain point in their lives--sure, the younger they are, the more guidance they need...but when they hit high school, are 15+ years old, I believe they have the capability and ability to make some choices by themselves, including "hey, I'd like to play football" or "hey, I'd like to play soccer" or "hey, I want to be in the band".
I understand football is a pretty physical sport and can cause injury. But, so is soccer. So is hockey. So is riding a horse. So is ballet. Yes, I understand there's different levels of physical aspects of each, but to deny your 15 year old the ability to make that decision him/herself doesn't seem right to me. Remember I mentioned Jim's size? Yeah, he's a big guy. The chances of his kids being "bigger" are probably pretty good. Sometimes (or maybe I should say "usually"), when you're a bigger person, the chance of you excelling at a sport, like football, are much higher than if you were 5'4" and 120 pounds.
There's risk in everything/everyday life. There's risk when you step out the door, there's risk when you get in a car...to deny your child the choice to play a sport when he's at an age where he can make decisions himself seems wrong to me.
Anyway, I didn't step down, I told him I thought he was wrong and we left it at that.
We'll see what trouble we can get into next year at the benefit fair....