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Star athletes: Wear purple for the bullied in your school

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It might be a little late to pick out outfits for the next day, but maybe you’ve heard of the effort to have people wear purple on Oct. 20. No, not in solidarity with Brett Favre and his dong, but as a way to speak out against the bullying of LGBT kids, a few of whom, as you might have heard, have been killing themselves as an endgame to the abuse they’ve taken from peers (and probably others). I’ll be wearing my purple underwear, the only purple I have that’s office-worthy, as long as I wear pants over it.

I don’t have the cache of Neil Patrick Harris, nor do I have a video in the first place. I don’t have a solution to bullying, not when the history of humankind is rife with those tearing the shit out a perceived other with ruthless efficiency. (Such as the ruthless efficiency bullies display in picking the most vulnerable victims.) I can tell you, based on what I’ve seen in my own schooling experience and that of my children and others around me (I’ll just leave it at that) that anyone holding out a simple solution — like the radio jagoff I heard locally who talked about self-defense classes as the be-all end-all to ending bullying — is wrong.

However, I can identify one powerful group of influence that could help, if at least not stopping the bullies, making bullying of any kind seem totally uncool. That would be the school jocks.

I don’t mean the track team — I can tell you as a former high school track athlete how little influence we wield. I mean the star quarterback, the top basketball player, the kinds of athletes that are the center of the popular crowd at every school, the kind that set the agenda (intentionally or unintentionally) for manhood, and womanhood’s relationship with it.

A lot of kids at school know bullying isn’t cool, and that the bullied and the bullies are two groups of profoundly unhappy people. But most are afraid to say anything, lest they become a target. However, the star athletes have established their place as school leaders, in that the school isn’t shutting down for a pep rally for the debate team. The jocks don’t have to like the bullied — and the bullies — or invite them to the cool parties, or ask them if they would like to be set up to shag a cheerleader (or the athlete himself).

All I ask is that jocks be — nice. I mean, if you’re the bully, stop. If you see a bully, pull him (or her) aside and make clear that’s not cool. If you see the bullied, ask if they’re OK, and let them know you have their back. If you want to stand up during a pep rally and declare you don’t care who sticks what part in what hole of another person, that’s great, too. The purple on Oct. 20 is being pushed with LGBT bullying victims in mind, but there’s no reason you can’t also stand up for whatever other Other is the target of ridicule.

Of course, I know this is easier said than done. Athletes are notorious for not wanting to make waves. (Michael Jordan: “Republicans buy shoes, too.”) And I’m going to guess that a lot of jocks have parents who would be pissed beyond belief for Johnny Quarterback to be standing up for the weak.

I don’t think having jocks speak up for bullies solves everything. But if anybody can make a bullying culture go away, it’s them.

Thanks to Wall of Paul for reminding me of a great song that talks about “manhood” and sports in school, from a guy whose parents sent him to electroshock therapy to get rid of his homosexual tendencies.

Written by rkcookjr

October 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Play Little League World Series Bingo

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The first pitch has been thrown today for this year’s Little League World Series (formal name: Little League World Series Presented by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar. That’s Kellogg Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar. Good, and good for you, and we have a lawsuit settlement to prove it.)

You might ask yourself: I’m a grown person, so how can I watch the Little League World Series without feeling like a perv? Well, I’m here with the answer: Little League World Series Bingo.

Just create a card, bingo-style. Then put it on your coffee table, along with your dauber and lucky skull candle. Then, fill in the squares as the item in each box occurs. It’s more fun with more people! I’d recommend either inviting your friends, or crabby old ladies pissed they can no longer smoke at church bingo because of clean air rules. Light ‘em if you got ‘em, granny!

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The beauty of Little League World Series Presented by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar (“Because we know you fat little fuckers will never touch Special K”) Bingo is that you can customize it to the events over the next 10 days of competition, based on what happens during the games, among the announcing crew or with the old ladies in your living room. So here are some categories to put in your boxes until you add your own twist:

– Brent Musberger says, “You’ve looking liiiiivvveee… .”

– Someone calls the game some variation of “pure.”

– A boy cries.

– A boy’s coach and/or father slaps him for crying.

– A coach cries, and his son slaps him for crying.

– A coach has a mustache.

– A coach has a mustache and glasses.

– A coach has a mustache, glasses and a neck port-wine stain.

– A coach argues with an umpire.

– A coach gets kicked out of the game.

– An umpire kicks a coach out of the game because the man in blue has acted all game like he’s the despotic ruler of the Imperial Palace.

– Kids chase after a home run ball like it’s Barry Bonds’ 756th.

– Grownups chase a home run ball like it’s Barry Bonds’ 756th.

– The retrospective of the Urbandale, Iowa, team begins with a shot of a cornfield. (The one where they get the raw materials for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar. Because who needs sugar when you have high fructose corn syrup?)

– There’s a retrospective of former Little League World Series players who became major-leaguers (and Chris Drury).

– There’s a retrospective of former Little Leage World Series players who became shells of themselves after being pushed by starry-eyed parents and coaches who graduated from the Dusty Baker School of Saving Arms to the edge of their abilities, only to fall apart at a tender age in front of a wide audience (and Danny Almonte). (This is not likely, so you get this category, you’re screwed.)

– A pitcher snaps off a curveball…

– …and his arm snaps off.

– Announcers come up with all sorts of euphemisms so they don’t describe anyone and everyone on the Taiwan team as “inscrutable.”

– The marketing director of a sponsor gets interviewed on the air…

– … and that marketing director is from Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar (“Because they’re Grrrrrr… eh, just OK.)

– A mom is shown cheering.

– A mom is shown crying.

– A mom is shown getting pasted in the face by a line-drive foul.

– Vice President Joe Biden shows up in the booth purportedly to talk about his entry in the Little League’s hall of fame…

– … and President Obama an hour later puts out a statement refuting or trying to explain what he said.

– Fans scream.

– Fans boo the ump.

– Fans dance around in ways that make you wonder if the concession stands sell LLWS-logo emblazoned acid tabs.

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– Someone in the stands holds up a sign that plays off the televising network’s acronym.

– Someone in the stands holds up a sign that plays off their hometown AND the televising network’s acronym.

– A kid looks like he’s 16.

– A kid looks like he’s 8.

– A kid looks like he wasn’t wearing a cup on that play.

– You feel shame you know sideline announcer Moises Arias plays “Rico” on Hannah Montana…

– …because you don’t have a 9-year-old daughter.

– The announcers encourage you to follow Moises Arias’ Twitter posts…

– … followed by the question, “So [announcer/color analyst/sideline reporter who is not Moises Arias], are you a tweeter?” (Sound of everyone in booth chortling.)

– Current or former major-leaguer shows up in the booth…

– … and says, “Why in hell are we televising this? This kids aren’t even teenagers yet! Isn’t this a bit much? Have you no shame?” (This is not likely, so you get this category, you’re screwed.)

Written by rkcookjr

August 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm

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