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Aw, that just breaks my heart! I'm never ready for the little curve balls life throws that I wasn't anticipating. I think practicing at home is one solution and maybe reminding your son of all the wonderful things he CAN do that those kids at school might struggle with. Perhaps a surprise visit during PE...dodgeball anyone?? ;)


I have a 5-month-old boy and am dreading this aspect of raising him. No matter the drama to come with my daughter, at least I'll understand it and she'll be free to express her emotions. The whole "be a man" thing is a scary new playing field.

Visiting from Mama Kat's

Michele Southworth

My boys haven't quite hit that age yet, but I think its a fear for every mother! We don't want to raise sissy boys (not necessarily what I think of the idea but we all know by today's standards that's what it is), but we don't want to raise them to be unemotional and unable to function that way in all aspects of their lives. Its a tough path to walk, but I think you brought up some great things! Thank you for sharing! Following from Mama Kat's!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry"

Tell your boy it's just P.E. and they won't be on basketball forever. If he doesn't want to practice to improve, then he just needs to buck up and get through the unit. I don't like skating or swimming for the same reason--I'm no good at it. So what? Nothing says we all have to like every sport. If he himself says he no good at basketball and hates it, why does he even care then that no one passes him the ball? If he really didn't want to play, he'd be happy no one passed him the ball. The fact that it bothers him seems to say he really does want to play.

Tori Nelson

Loved your approach to the prompt, Gretchen. I wrote an In Defense of Dudes letter, but it was all just silly and kind of stereotypical. I have thought (normally when I'm crying at some inappropriate time or place) how lucky I am to be a woman. I can get away with all these emotions. No one would think anything of a lady all upset over this or that. Men aren't given that freedom, really.

Michele Renee

Ahhhhhh. Those Mama feelings just want to make you wretch, I know. What does Jimmy think about this? When my oldest was in 2nd grade during recess they had basketball available and a boy purposefully passed the ball to my son in the gut--enuf to make his breath knock out and have him lay on ground--so it was an incident written up and reported. Not the same scenario as your post but I had tears when I heard and anger like a mama bear. Hubs was more calm telling him there will always be jerks, etc. I do know it was harder for me than it was it seems for son.
On another note I like it much better when coaches make teams by randomly saying "one-two-one-two" to everyone and then you had the ones on a team and the twos on a team.


Well said! I have a son who is 28 now and I feel exactly the same way ... still.

Really nice post.

Life with Kaishon

This breaks my heart. BREAKS. My son has the hardest time at school also. I just want all the hard times to end because honestly, isn't that the worst? Our babies hurting. I hope he has a good year and things get better for him soon. I know that we know basketball picks don't matter in the scope of all things, but right now it surely means the world to him. He will be in my thoughts today.


Having a little boy really is enlightening, isn't it? They are sweet and kind, but the world sure does a number on them telling them to toughen up and shut up. As for me, I prefer the sweet and kind natural state they arrive in!

Mama Melch

I may have some apology phone calls to make for my younger self too. Isn't it soo hard to let our kids learn the lessons that we wish we could just explain away??

Jan's Sushi Bar

As the mother of two grown sons, 30 and 18 respectively, I can sympathize with this post like you wouldn't believe (Oldest Son is also A Stoic-Yet-Sensitive One).

But, let me tell you, having his heart broken by some little bitch of a girl is just as important to his learning to deal with life as being picked last for the basketball team and having no one pass him the ball. Yes, you will want to KILL her (you may even call her up and tell her just what you think of her and it will be a big mistake - not that I ever did that, you understand *ahem*). But heartbreak at the hands of some little bitch of a girl who is just using him to get away from her parents will only make him stronger - and more selective about who he dates afterwards.

Sorry about that...I may, um, be projecting a little bit. But you get my drift.


As the mother of boys, I totally agree with your take on this! There have been a few girls I wanted to take down!
Here's my spin for this week http://suzicate.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/clean-living/


How sweet. And sad, though. I know I'm going to have a similarly tough time with Z being hurt whether by peers or girls (that little harlot didn't deserve your love!).

Kate @ Mommy Monologues

I was the worst kid on my basketball team because I was so behind like you described above. Then my dad bought me a basketball goal & put it in the driveway. We practiced & played in the front yard with that goal & I went on to play basketball in college on a scholarship!!! Get him the hoop!!! I was the same way & my dad wouldn't take no for an answer! I'm so glad he didn't!

I'm also the mom to a boy & your post spoke to me, love this!

Janice Adcock

Well, I screwed up at the end of my son's senior year. I tapped danced on the coach's tonsils. While I felt good for a moment saying you know you are here to educate all the youth, not just the selected, gifted ones. Years, nay, decades of therapy have helped calm down my passions. Good for you in learning early. And when the girl breaks his heart, if there are grandchildren involved, it is good just to set ones self on mute......
As usual, you are inspiring.


One more thing to worry about as my son gets older... sigh... I really hope I handle this stuff with your same levelheadedness and calm. My initial reaction was to go beat someone up!!
Also, loved this line: "And to all you girls out there who will some day break my little boys heart? I can tell you this - I. Will. Take. You. Down."


Oof. Noah is just 3 and so far shaping up to be a fairly good athlete but...yeah. I'm the stoic yet sensitive one and his father is the emotional trainwreck so it will be very interesting to see how he is when he gets older.

So far he's the ladies' man; I have a feeling I'll be wanting to call his girlfriends to apologize for how he acts someday.

This being an adult thing sucks huh?

Ginny Marie

Your letter is so, so sweet. Oh, I feel bad for Jude! But basketball won't last forever, and you are doing the right thing.


Very well said!


good thing some of those moms read your blog - so you don't have to call.

tina erickson

That happened to Mary in basketball too. That sort of thing happens a lot with kids. This mean girl in Greta's class told Greta that all of their mutual friends were invited to her slumber party except her. Of course, Greta was crying. It happens. I just try to encourage her to focus on the positive, the kids who do invite her and the parties she goes to all the time. As far as basketball, Mary just started to get very aggressive about taking the ball. Jude needs to get the hoop and practice with a guy who knows basketball and get some strategy for getting the ball. Basketball is a strategy/force/intimidation thing--he needs to learn how to do it, if he wants to play. Best Wishes, Peace


If I were you I would call the coach or PE teacher or whoever it is that is permitting the practice of kids choosing teams. There will always be a couple kids that are chosen last, and that's just cruel. The adult in charge should find a different way of determining teams -- like counting off or something.

J. Anthony

Thank You. It means a lot to know that, even though we may never meet, there is at least one woman who gets it. I am a 33 year old man who was once, and in some ways still is, a little boy with big feelings. But. I have been taught and then forced to internalize my compassion and emotion; my affection and understanding. It's fine for me at this point, having ended a 15 year marriage that began in high school, because it really is too late. However I have recently come to realize that I HAVE to learn to allow myself to, well, be emotional sometimes. The relationship fate of my daughters, now 14 and 11, hinges on it.
I think now, too, that I've found a woman who loves me. And all I can think about when I force myself to show emotion, is that her reaction will be to head for the door. As though she's always sick of my 'drama'. Hopefully she has the same insight you do.

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