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  1. Sharon

    I was with you until you said “.. especially for a boy” I completely disagree.. we should not be treating our boys and girls any differently. It is also ok for boys to grow into men and show when they are hurt or need help. This article was such a disappointment.

    • Kelsey

      Maybe she doesn’t have a daughter? She only mentions sons. Just a thought!

      • Elizabeth Smith

        yep! i commented/explained below…hope it helps!

  2. Rebecca Lemon

    I thought this article was spot on until the “especially for boys” comment. Everything written here applies to girls becoming women too so I don’t understand the author’s intention to include that line. She never went on to explain why this is more important to boys than girls. Disappointed with the unnecessary note.

  3. jenn

    This article rings so true. As a parent AND a coach, I couldn’t agree more that we need to let our kids have their space. The “especially for boys” comment really seemed out of place, and I’d love to hear the author’s thoughts on that… an over sight? Or is there a specific idea that was left out.

  4. Elizabeth

    Thank you for your comments. You are all absolutely correct that this extends to both girls and boys. The phrase reads, “especially as parents to boys.” As a mother to three boys, I am disheartened that there are parents who still yell from the sidelines to their sons to “toughen up” or “stop throwing like a girl” or to “fight like a man!” I don’t want to raise another generation of boys who take that advice and apply it in their adult relationships.
    I originally wrote this for an audience of moms of boys, and the original title was “Lessons I Learn from My Sons.” The line “especially as parents to boys” could be taken out to make it more applicable to the broader audience here. And the remaining language could absolutely be gender-inclusive. I apologize that my words were offensive and disappointing.

  5. Susan H Kunkel

    This was just what I needed. As a mom of a 16 year old boy I am stepping into the background and letting him grow towards manhood. It can be very hard sometimes.

    • Elizabeth Smith

      Thank you! And it is a a constant struggle…and not just in their sports. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Leah

    Thanks for giving us the context and background Elizabeth and makes perfect sense. I’m raising two girls here and I can see similarities in this story and their activities. Agree completely on the struggle to allow our kids to stand up for themselves, become their own person – and as parents the hardest thing is to give them that space and not interject and do it for them. We recently had a situation that was different but similar with my two girls in a talent show. It was not a physical issue but was the same in that we trusted those adults in authority of the program to be responsible and do their jobs. They failed and my girls were the casualty. SO hard to teach them to respect authority when that authority is abused (or maybe that’s another article yet to be written?). Step away from the field can be used metaphorically for all of us to just “step off” as my old high school self would have said. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Elizabeth Smith

      I actually googled several sources to make sure that the “take a knee” was a written rule. It isn’t, and this team as TWICE now not taken a knee when one of our teammates goes down. One of the players said out loud that they would “cramp up” if they took a knee. While I do realize the importance of keeping moving so your muscles don’t cramp, I’ve yet to see that happen. And I’ve watched hundreds of soccer games! :-).
      I hope your future experiences are better than what you and your girls endured!

  7. Penny

    I have yelled the exact same thing at an opposing team who had players who I felt were ruthlessly unsportsmanlike. I too felt bad and like a bit of an ass. The thing to do is to write the league president a letter and I didn’t do that. I wish now, several years later, that I had.

    I’m so very happy that my 15-year old has left soccer and is now playing ultimate frisbee, where there are no referees and the play is completely based on the integrity of the players and coaches. It is simply A-mazing. I’ve never seen such bonded players and kindness across teams. I’m a convert and will never go back to the more conventional sports.

    • Elizabeth Smith

      We live in a small town and Ultimate Frisbee isn’t an option here, but I know it’s a great game! We are a soccer family through-and-through (now my oldest son and my husband are referees!). I need to write another article about being the mother of a referee (ha ha!).

  8. Gabrielle

    Great sentiments here! Our boys are both soccer players, and we are longtime seat holders of our local MLS team so we see both sides of the pitch. I never experienced a team taking a knee until my son played baseball with a city league a few years ago, and until last season it wasn’t a ‘thing’ in the local soccer leagues. I don’t agree or disagree with it but frankly, professional teams don’t practice it and I don’t mandate it on the field. If players are being respectful and clearing the area around the injured player, I don’t see the necessity in it. I realize that this wasn’t the heart of your article anyways, and I do really really appreciate your thoughts on letting the pitch be their space. I expect coaches and refs to be in charge when my boys are on the field for practice or games, and it’s so frustrating, and sometimes heart breaking, to see parents yelling from the sidelines constantly. Unless it’s cheering and encouragement of course, and then yell away! 😀

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you! and you’re right – there isn’t a necessity in the “taking of a knee” but it’s the culture of our teams here, and this one team ignores it each time.

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