My son ran into the kitchen completely stoked. “Mommy, you missed a great football game today,” he said.
“I’m sorry, baby. Did you guys win?” I asked, as I was cutting vegetables.
“No, we lost, but I got into a fight today,” my son said in proud tone of voice.
Nearly missing my finger, I slowly turned around. “Fight!” I replied with eyes wide opened. I wasn’t ready for this. Yes, he’s in Junior High, but fighting is just something my son doesn’t do. He’s just NOT the fighting type. As he would say, “I’m a lover not a fighter.” Yes, my twelve-year-old loves to joke around and have fun. He’s neither a lover nor a fighter.
Don’t get me wrong, he can hold his own, and that I know for sure. He tackles in football. He’s taken karate and wrestling. He plays baseball and basketball, and his father works him out as if he was training for the Olympics. Therefore, I wasn’t afraid that he’d gotten hurt.
He’s typically the kid that helps when other kids are being bullied. Still, I also know that my son can cut someone deeply with choice (non-vulgar) words, a skill he inherited honestly. For that reason, I just gave him the eye.
“It wasn’t my fault,” he said, recognizing my non-verbal query.
“Ok, It-wasn’t-my-fault. What happened?” I replied.
“It happened during the football game. It happened so fast, and the punch came out of nowhere. I couldn’t believe it. I actually thought, ‘Did he really just punch me? This can’t be happening’.”
I always try to give the benefit of the doubt. Still, I had to ask, “Are you sure he didn’t tackle you?”
“You can’t get tackled and still be standing, mommy,” he said, looking at me as if I had four heads. “No, he punched me.”
“And, uh, you didn’t say anything to him?” I asked, trying not to sound accusatory.
“Nope, I didn’t say anything. He just punched me.”
“And he just punched you?”
I inhaled deeply. “Well, what did you do?”
“I asked him if he just punched me. I wanted to be sure because I couldn’t believe what happened. When he nodded his head, I told him that I wasn’t afraid of him, and I punched him back.”
“I grabbed his facemask, threw his butt down and punched him back. He tried to crawl away, but I wouldn’t let him,” my son said matter-of-factly.
“What!?” I said absolutely flabbergasted.
“What was I supposed to do? Tell the coach? The coach would just talk to him and that’s not good enough. Besides, didn’t you always tell me not to ever start a fight, but that I’d BETTER protect myself?”
Kids are cruel, and they will keep messing with you until they know they can’t, I remembered saying.
“Uh, yes, but…”
The mommy in me replied, “I don’t want you fighting,” even though, I was actually proud that my son stood up for himself.
“I don’t want to fight either.”
“Facemask, little man?”
“I’m not going to let some kid punk me, and he needed to know that I am NOT the one. And, mommy, he did it in front of other people. How would I look – taking a punch like that? I don’t need anyone thinking they can just jab me and I won’t do anything. I needed to teach him a lesson.”
“I just don’t want you involved with people who feel they need to fight to express themselves. Next time you need to tell the coach.”
“The kid’s usually not like that, and the coach knew because I explained it to him when I got thrown out the game.”
What! I thought. “Are you serious? Why did you get thrown out when you were protecting yourself?”
“The refs didn’t see him throw the first blow. But don’t worry; I didn’t care that I couldn’t play anymore. I played the first three quarters. Plus, the coach made the kid apologize to me.”
“Who was the kid, and why did he punch you?”
“Our coach’s son. The game made him hyped, and he took it out on me.”
“Tell that kid that he needs to take his frustrations out by tackling his man on the other team not his own teammates.”
My son laughed and then said, “He knows. The coach told him, and I accepted his apology. It’s all good. I just wanted to let you know that you missed a really great game.”
And thank GOD I did!
Note: We, as parents, don’t always make the right decisions, and I don’t know if I should have said more to my son. I don’t condone fighting, but I do condone protecting oneself. This is just an event that recently happened that I wanted to share. I’ll tell you what, ladies and gentlemen; it’s not easy being a parent.