Years ago, pre-teen Zac and I went rollerblading along a paved path that was bordered by a sludge river and a campground in the shithole town we lived in called Hutchinson. (Yes, it’s a shithole town. I adored the “outrage” President Trump received for calling some countries “shithole countries.” I wondered how many of the outraged vacationed in Haiti and Instagrammed that shit but that’s not the point of today.)
The path was nice and long with very little hills and as long as you could avoid the goose poop, it was perfect for this mom who really never got the hang of stopping or going down hills on roller blades. This particular day, Zac skated ahead (normal) and I slowly made my way (I mean, honestly, it felt like I was going faster than the wind but then, nope.) Suddenly he went down on his knees, tried to grab something and crawled a few steps and moved on. Well, I thought, that was interesting. As I came closer, I noticed a group of campers off to the right laughing. No clue, had to catch Zac.
I got a little closer and then noticed a dollar bill on the path up ahead. Zac had already turned around and was skating towards me when I got up to the dollar and called, “don’t do it!” Uhhhh, whatnow? I then noticed the dollar moving slightly to the right towards the campers and stopped it with my rollerblade. Ohhhhh, I see. It was connected to a weight and a fish line and they were playing the game where they make people look stupid who bend down to get the dollar.
Now, I begrudge no one their camping fun. I love to camp. I miss it, a lot. My bigg hubs isn’t a camper and I’m not up to a weekend of me doing all the work listening while he bitches about everything. That would make me not love camping and I just really want to keep loving camping. I’m trying to commit to two camping outings on my own this summer. I’d be happy with one but happier with two. We’ll see how it goes.
So while I support morning to midnight drinking; eating like crap (actually, we eat like Kings while camping. Tons of meat ; sides, and an occasional bag of Doritos is just fine with me) I will not support you making my son look like an idiot. Sorry not sorry. Like I mentioned, I now had the dollar trapped beneath my rollerblade wheel on the fishing weight they used to on the line to toss the money out. I leaned down; tore the dollar off the string; handed it to Zac, waved and went on my way.
Two very interesting things happened very quickly in that moment. One, there was a lot of laughter from the group (it appeared to have two families worth of party campers.) Some good natured ribbing and all in all, a satisfying finish (especially seeing Zac’s smile with his new dollar.) However, one woman didn’t like it. Didn’t like it at all and she instantly got up off her lawn chair and started screaming to give her child back his dollar. One man with the group told her to stop and sit down but she was pissed. Like, super pissed. She started walking towards the path (a slight jaunt but that’s cool, I can wait) screaming at me and I told Zac to skate on ahead. I got this. I mean, this was all a little less fun but I got this. Two men in the group ran after her, grabbed her and brought her back to their campsite. The only thing I yelled back during her ranting was that my getting the dollar was, “part of the game.” See, cuz it was. You either get the dollar or you chase after it. That’s the game.
But she didn’t like that. She wanted the game only on her terms, making others look stupid and she and her friends laughing at the stupidity. Like I said, I don’t begrudge people their fun. Had I been camping next to them I would have happily ignored the entire thing. But you involved my son, which meant that I am now involved. And here we go! It was pretty interesting and a situation I’ve thought a lot about these last 18 months.
Because right now, the rights of one half of the population seem to be all that matters. The screaming and stomping and temper tantrums of the extreme progressives are something that I can deal with by sitting on my campsite sipping my wine and ignore. EZ PZ. I’ve mentioned before, if you want to go through life so angry and vile, you go girl. Do you. Don’t care. I’ll just be over here loving my life and watching my husband kick ass at work because people are finally able to spend money and his 3 years of grind is finally paying off. Don’t mind a bit.
However, when your temper tantrums and screaming and stomping DO include me or my family, well, here we go! Enter high school football…
My Oscar has always loved to be on sports teams. He loves them. He likes the continuity of expectations. He likes the camaraderie. He likes the grill outs and laughter. After all that, he likes the sport. My Oz does not eat and breath football. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him watch a game. He WILL be one of the coach’s hardest workers and he WILL contribute in whatever ways are asked of him both on and off the field. But at the end of the season, he’s done. Moved on. See ya next year. Oz has always marched (literally) to the beat of his own drums and fitting in with the clique just because you play ball a few months together really isn’t his vibe. No problemo.
The problem comes when Oz is told he has to follow the crowd and support an action he categorically opposes; such as, kneeling during the National Anthem as a football player. That happened last year during homecoming. It seems one of the members of the football team who is black was called a nigger at some point not having anything to do with football and the young man told his coach he’s going to start kneeling during the National Anthem. And since they’re a team, they have to support him. (Now, the week AFTER Homecoming, it was learned that the boy was called a nigger by another black youth who is actually a friend. But we won’t get wrapped up in facts. EMOTIONS! That’s what we’re concerned with.)
So there was Oscar, forced to support and encourage an action he finds offensive and unacceptable. But he needs to be part of the team, right? Support the one person who said he was offended but then come to find out, well, not so much. Well, Oz (of course) refused to kneel along with other players. So they were forced to surround the kneeler’s off to the side of the field so the sports fans couldn’t see what was happening. Now, that can seem like a little win/win by some but when you take a kid like Oz, you’ve actually just forced him to CONTRIBUTE to actions that coaches actually know is so wrong that they’re going to hide them from the crowd and use kids to achieve the action. Fuck that.
At least that’s Oz’s current attitude. He had a letter written out to the head coach why he won’t be back for his senior year in football. His Linesman coach has talked him out of sending the letter, for now, but he in no way wants to commit to be part of an organization that forces him to act against his principles. See, that’s the other side of all this progressive game playing. There is an “Other Side” and forcing them to play the game of politics all the way down to high school football or you stomp and scream and temper tantrum to the press about how unfair your life is, is off putting to the other side. So much so that we decide we don’t want to play anymore.
Enter the Minneapolis StarTribune. There was an interesting article this weekend about how Conservative/Republican organizations are disappearing from college campuses, especially some of the most liberal college campuses in the nation and the student leaders of these liberal groups are concerned that there is no one on campus to debate issues in a positive manner. The reason, says the media, is because conservative members don’t support President Trump and are afraid of speaking out. It was laughable. Ummm, could it be because conservative speakers have had lectures canceled across campuses because the liberal left has shut down free speech from coast to coast? That anyone who publicly speaks out in support of not only President Trump but conservative values are instantly labeled a homophobic racist? See, these days there is no tolerance for the “other side.” We go through this game of life your way or no way. What a pathetic little legacy liberals are leaving on the history books of America.
But that’s okay. I’m just over here on the intolerant/racist/homophobic other side. I’ve learned that playing the game has a certain set of rules from one side dictating how things will go for the others. There is no respected dissent, only name calling and temper tantrums. There is no allowance to speak up for your principles, you must follow the crowd. However; again, there is no courage needed in following a crowd. It’s actually very easy, you just step into it and follow. EZ PZ.
Living on the other side, these days, that takes courage.
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.