Archive for the ‘Wussification of America’ Category

The internet is ablaze with outraged indignation because former NFL player Seth Joyner, now a youth league coach, berated his team on the sidelines the other day. Listen, I know I’m an old school kind of guy but for the life of me I can’t see anything wrong with this. Was he giving them hell? Yes. Was it warranted? Probably. For the love if God, have we become so thin-skinned that a coach can’t even raise his voice anymore? Am I wrong here? Is this that bad? I’d love your opinion.


We’ve all gone soft. There’s no doubt about it. I know I’ve written about The Wussification of America before, but come on, this is getting out of hand. Hell, I came across a softball game on TV last night and the players had on helmets with facemasks. And they were playing in the infield. Sweet Mother of God. Really? That’s what gloves are for, damn it. For Babe’s sake, the hitters in the Major Leagues look like Robocop with all the armor they’re wearing. Jeebus, man up.

I can think of several things that have changed since I was a kid back in the ’60s and early ’70s. Here are just a few off the top of my head:

For one thing, the rules of riding in a car were completely different. The first thing Dad did when he bought a new car was cut the seat belts out. Couldn’t have those damn things getting in the way. Shoot, I rode from southern Ohio to Colorado in the back window of a ’72 Pontiac Catalina Brougham. You know, up above the back seats. Just for kicks, Dad used to hit the breaks occasionally and send me flyin’. I guess kids just knew how to take a fall back then. I loved it.

Padding Schmadding.

In addition, the dashboards back then were made of metal, chrome and a lot of sharp pointy stuff. None of that padded crap for us. You had to pay attention and be ready to get those hands up to catch yourself. Of course, it helped that we didn’t have our faces buried in iPods and iPhones and whatnot. I was usually either pestering my sisters, looking out the window, or horror of horrors, reading a book.

We used to go to Reds games all the time. My Dad and Uncle Myrl would drive a pick-up with the bed filled with 6-8 kids. Keep in mind it was a 2-hour drive to The Natti from Bourneville, and it included weaving in and out of traffic on Columbia Parkway. How nobody fell out is beyond me, but if we had it would undoubtedly been attributed to stupidity on the kid’s part, not parental neglect or abuse. And trust me, those rides home afterwards (arriving home around 2:00 AM) could get pretty horrifying interesting. You know, throwing your cousin’s shoe at a passing car and whatnot. It’s also sort of surprising how cold it can get in the back of a pickup going 70 mph down a highway at 1:30 AM on a July morning.

Random thought. When I was a kid, any adult could beat your ass. Guy pumping gas, barber, neighbor lady, if you were misbehaving you got what was coming to you. End of story. In addition, nobody cared or complained.

Also, we had toys that could literally kill you. I once stabbed a cousin with a Pick-Up-Stick and he nearly bled to death. Hey, I think he’d cheated or something so he deserved it. I also shot my best friend with a BB Gun, but that’s neither here nor there. I aimed for his leg so it’s cool.

Greatest. Game. Ever.

And what about the greatest game in the history of games? The game that is currently outlawed in all 50-states and most civilized countries of the world? I’m talkin’ ’bout JARTS people. Seriously,  on December 19, 1988, all lawn darts were banned from sale in the United States by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. What a bunch of weinies. That picture to your right says it all. Apparently 4-kids were killed by Jarts over a period of several years. Just a thought – anybody ever hear of parental guidance? Sigh.

If you’re too young to remember, Jarts was a simple game. The players stood about 20-feet apart, and each had a large hula hoop on the ground beside them. In each hand, the players had the key to the game, the jart. The jart was large (about 10″ long) plastic-winged dart with a heavy, pointed metal end. The idea was to lob the dart underhand at the opponents target, which was the hula hoop looking thing. The jart was so heavy on the pointed end it would stick right into the ground. Anything wrong with that mental image? Not in my day kids, but let’s just say you had to pay attention because that jart would impale the living hell out of you if you were caught unawares. But hey, that was part of the fun.

The legendary Clackers.

Anybody remember Clackers? Clackers were essentially two acrylic balls on each end of a string, with a loop in the center. You began slowly clacking the balls together until you got to really fast speeds. Like many toys from the 70s, these were deemed dangerous and taken off the market. According to my research, they were banned because they were being used by gangs as weapons. Maybe I have a sick sense of humor but I find that hilarious. Imagine this: “Bro, that dude’s goin’ down. Go get my Clackers.”

This doesn’t look dangerous at all, now does it? Have fun kids!

I also recall something called Creepy Crawlers, which was several kinds of awesome. You had these little metal molds that you’d plug in and they’d heat up to like 1000 degrees. You’d then pour this disgusting, smelly stuff called Gobbledy Goop into it. This would turn the goop into spiders, snakes, bugs, snails, whatever the mold’s shape resembled. Bottom-line, I must have burned my fingers a 1000 times on those molds. Not only that, if you accidentally left them on they’d start smoking, which I did on purpose just to watch. Told you it was awesome.

You know, when I really think about this and add it all up – taking out the seatbelts, slamming on the brakes when I was in the back window, riding in the back of a pick-up down Columbia Parkway, the games I was given, that time he asked me to check an electric fence to see if it was live . . . it all clearly adds up to one chilling, undeniable fact:

My Dad was trying to kill me.

Well, that certainly alters my perception of the ideallic Southern Ohio upbringing I’ve always told people about.

Sobering realization. Sobering realization indeed.

Originally published on March 1st, 2013.

The following was sent to Vanderbilt students yesterday after “Massacre UMass” stickers were passed out for this week’s football game.fsdhhju

From: Micah Jeanine Parks [micah.j.parks@VANDERBILT.EDU]
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2014 4:34 PM
Subject: Vanderbilt vs. UMass Football Weekend

We would like to apologize for any offense that could have been caused by the “Massacre UMass” phrase used to promote the football game on Saturday against the University of Massachusetts. The phrase was not intended to insinuate anything violent or inconsiderate. The stickers will no longer be a part of this week’s promotion.

Is this what it’s come to? Really? We can’t use the word “massacre” anymore because we fear people may take it literally? Well, if we can’t use “massacre” I guess we can’t use the following:

Beat - Promotes domestic violence! Thanks Ray Rice!

Slaughter – Hurts cow’s feelings! Unacceptable!

Conquered – Hitler was a dictator! Inappropriate!

Crushed – Offensive to ice everywhere!

Good Lord. It’s a football game, people. Let’s get it together, America!

Remember when you were a kid and the more dangerous something was the more fun it became? Isn’t that why we climbed trees or balanced on a fence post or rode our bikes really fast down hills?

Of course it was.

Kids today have zero idea what they’re missing, mainly because everyone is worried they might get hurt. Back in the day we had some amazing, fun toys, and they were fun because they could kill you.


I guess our parents realized that getting hurt was a learning experience. Hey, if you’re dumb enough to shoot yourself with that pellet gun it’s your fault. Be more careful next time, dummy.

But back to the toys. Here are a few of my favorite toys from the past that could cause extreme pain or yes, even death if used improperly. Hey kids, be sure and read the directions!


Note: The names  in the following story have been changed to protect the parties involved. Except mine of course. I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has passed by now.

If the story I’m about to recount had taken place in 2006 or even 1996 everyone involved would have probably been fired. But this was a different time, a different place. This was 1985, and the place was Greenfield, Ohio. Read on …


LIHUE, HawaiiA judge sentenced a Hawaii man to one year of probation and a $200 fine forPajarito_09 making his son walk a mile home from school as a form of discipline. Judge Kathleen Watanabe called the punishment “old-school” and no longer appropriate, the Garden Island newspaper reported Thursday. Robert Demond of Kilauea said he picked up his son from school and asked about a matter that had been brought to his attention. When the son didn’t respond, Demond made him walk home to think about his actions.

Sweet Jesus. A kid gets in trouble at school, his dad picks him up from school and asks him about it, kid doesn’t respond and is forced to walk home. Then what happens? Dad gets in trouble, is fined and put on probation.

All for disciplining his son, old school style.

Good Lord. Wake up America!

As many of you know I taught Physical Education for a few years. For the record, I was never a certified PE teacher. I ended up there because I’d been an Athletic Director for 9-years and switched over to PE due to problems with a new boss, but that’s a blog for another day (and what a blog it will be). I’m actually certified to teach grades 1-8 and had a minor in History. Anyway, my few years in the gym were interesting ones to put it mildly.

I was constantly getting these ridiculous emails from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. They had all these strongly worded recommendations (backed by studies!) that stated I should avoid “games of competition.” Wait. What? See, they didn’t want any winners and losers, and by not wanting winners and losers I mean not wanting losers. You know, because if you lose a game of Chinese Freeze Tag your feelings might get hurt, your self-esteem will plummet and you’ll end up living in a cardboard box on the mean streets of Humboldt, Ohio. And as you know, in real life there’s no competition so why learn to deal with it when you’re young? That doesn’t make any sense, except in the sense that it makes absolutely perfect sense. With this in mind I get a visit from my principal one day. I don’t think her heart was really in it but she felt required to tell me that the game of dodgeball was being phased out in schools across the country and I should probably think about doing the same. The fun-haters at the forefront of the anti-dodgeball movement would like you to believe that it puts too much pressure on the psyche of our youth, that it somehow damages a student’s self-esteem to engage in such a “violent” sport, that getting knocked out in a game is harmful to a child’s well-being and, indeed, their fragile egos.

To this I say poppycock, balderdash, and whatever other cool name for bullshit I can think of. Do you really think kids want to engage in non-competitive activities like dancing, aerobics, and Tae Bo? Boy, that sounds fun, no? Woohoo! We’re gonna learn the salsa today kids!

Good Lord.

Kids hate that crap. On the other hand, any sport that involves throwing stuff at each other is a big hit. Pun intended. That’s why dodgeball is so beloved and why we used to play it so often. And by the way, none of this “no head shots” malarkey. In our world not only were head shots allowed, they were encouraged.

Kids love games where there’s an element of danger involved. That’s why we climbed trees when we were little, right? Because the danger of falling made it fun? And why did we ride our bikes down big hills? Because it was scary!

And so, I have a little secret for all the psycho-babbling eggheads who want to destroy the single greatest game ever invented. Life is competitive. It’s sometimes hard. You get hit. You get back up. You figure out how to stay alive and advance. Sometimes you have to be aggressive and have a killer instinct to be successful.

Just like in dodgeball.

Things got so bad a few years ago that I had to change the name of the game we played in my classes. Since we were strongly recommended not to play dodgeball, we played a game called Avoid the Sphere. The rules were, uh, strikingly similar to dodgeball . . . O.K., they were exactly the same. Anyway, technically it wasn’t dodgeball. Actual conversation between our principal and one of my 3rd graders:

Principal: “What did you guys play in gym today? Was that dodgeball?”

Jackson: “No, maam. We don’t play dodgeball. We played Avoid the Sphere.”

Attaboy Jackson.

As in life, dodgeball players fall into several distinct groups. As you read these, try and picture people you know in life and what group they’d fit into. Here they are:

The Attackers

  • The Attackers are the aggressive go-getters, the players who are always on the move. They’re hard to hit, hate to lose, and are always on the offensive. I love The Attackers. Think they’ll be successful? You betcha.

The Slackers

  • The Slackers are the ones who drift to the back, don’t really try to get out of the way, basically just hope they get put out early so they can go stand on the sidelines and watch the game, and life, pass them by. The Slackers ask to go to the bathroom a lot.

The Sneaks

  • These are the guys who like to sneak around the side and nail you in the back. They’ll lay low, creep slowly up without drawing attention to themselves, and before you know it you’re drilled right in back of the head. Know anybody like that in your life? That’s what I thought. This technique usually works early on in the game but as the numbers dwindle the laws of nature take over and one of The Attackers takes them out in a violent manner. That’s always satisfying to watch.

The Plotters

  • Ah, The Plotters. Always scheming and planning, always looking to make alliances, only to turn on their friends in the end for their own advancement in the game. As The O’Jays said it best, they’ll smile in your face, but all the time they want to take your place. Once again, The Plotters are a reflection of the real world.

The Invisibles

  • The Invisibles are exactly what you think they are. I’ve seen a player run right by an Invisible and go after someone else without evening noticing. Invisibles remind me of an animal that stands still to avoid being eaten. Once they move or start running they’re dead meat. Just as in your life or workplace, you have to watch out for The Invisibles.

The Cheaters

  • And finally, The Cheaters. The Cheaters will flat out ignore getting hit if you’re not watching. They’ll swear on their mother’s life that a ball that blasted them in the temple missed them completely. Cheaters will do anything to win and would rather climb a tree and lie than stay on the ground and tell the truth. Cheaters can ruin it for everybody, tearing the very fabric of the world’s greatest game.

1I’m retired now, but I’m keeping dodgeball alive by once again running our school-wide tourney in early May. The tournament is complete with painted faces, team t-shirts, an announcer who does introductions, the works. We have team names like the Head Shots and The Knockouts. The gym gets so loud you can’t hear a blistering shot to the earhole. The kids, teachers (and yes, the principal) love it. We’re fighting the good fight. Dodgeball may be dying in schools across America but we’re keeping it alive here in southern Ohio.

You know, to eliminate Dodgeball would be a disaster for school kids everywhere. Hell, it should be an Olympic sport. Dodgeball teaches life lessons every single day you play it.

So here’s to Dodgeball, Avoid the Sphere, or whatever you want to call it.

It’s a microcosm of life.

Originally published on September 17th, 2012.

You read that right. Here’s the story . . .


Settle down, kids. Fun is not permitted.

HeraldNews - Last Saturday’s Division 3 South boys’ basketball final between Westport and Cardinal Spellman at UMass Boston might be best remembered for a most conspicuous incident which occurred before the teams even tipped off. Just after public address announcer Joe Rocha had started to introduce the Spellman starters, South tourney director Karen McDonald completed a quick march to the scorer’s table, grabbed the microphone, and spoke directly to some of the younger Westport fans in the bleachers directly behind the Wildcat bench. These fans had, when the Spellman intro started, turned their backs to the court, one of those orchestrated moves (like holding up newspapers) fans do. McDonald obviously saw it as a violation of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s fan sportsmanship policy, one that is read over the PA before games. In what seemed like an order in the guise of a request, McDonald asked the fans to turn back around.

Well, for the love of God what is this administrator thinking? Students can’t turn their backs during introductions? They can’t hold up newspapers anymore? Can’t boo the opponent?

What’s next? Will total silence be required during free throw attempts?

Sadly, the Wussification of America continues . . .

Just outside Slate Mills.

My friends, it’s true. I dismissed and ignored all warnings from the meteorologists and ventured into what some have called certain death.

I went outside today.

I risked my life for you. And yes, I took my trusty and loyal friend Sparky with me, as he insisted he join me on my trek into Winter Hell, The Land of the Frozen. I know, I know, schools have closed, buildings have shut down, all in the name of saving us from ourselves. How could I think of doing such a thing?

Because I had to see for myself, and yes, bring back a full report for you, my loyal following.

I felt as if I just might have a slight chance to survive because I had the foresight to buy a car fully equipped with a heater. I also decided, after much meditation, to wear something that is often referred to as a coat. I topped off my ensemble with headgear that is fur-lined and ear-flapped, and I dug into my closet and found some odd looking hand-shaped creations apparently invented years ago to warm your appendages in case of these exact situations.

I was ready.

Sparky was hesitant, but nevertheless braved the ice and wind to make the short journey to the car. And no, Sparky will not wear sweaters or booties. He has expressed to me that, although he hates the cold and rain, he refuses to be reduced to dressing as humans do. He is a proud dog, and such attire is well beneath him. No mohair sweaters for The Spark.

We soldiered on.

As we made our way through the frozen wasteland of Ross County, the first thing I noticed was the absence of dead bodies along the roadway. How could this be? All news reports indicated the end of the world, the winter apocalypse, death to all ignorant enough to venture out.

Then, as I entered the town of Chillicothe, I witnessed another incredible sight – human beings walking on the streets! And get this – they were apparently going about their usual business! I sat stunned at a stoplight, watching these fools carrying on as if nothing was wrong. How dare they move about freely, laughing in the face of peril?

For the love of God, one insane lady was even walking her dog!

To conclude my report, I shall say that is indeed safe to leave your homes, citizens of Ross County. Just be sure and try and find the required and aforementioned garments that are apparently created for such catastrophic occasions, and then wear them.

With wit, cunning, and courage, you too can survive.

Note: But seriously, have you ever seen people become so unglued over a little cold weather?  Listen, I get not wanting your kid to stand in below freezing temperatures to wait for the bus, but don’t we go a little overboard? And by a little I mean a lot? Busses still have heaters, do they not? And when is the last time we found a frozen 5th grader laying in a ditch around here?

Then again, maybe I’m being a little cold. Hey-O! See what I did there?

I got a call from a coaching friend of mine today. He lives in Buffalo. He asked what time I practiced and I told him that all the schools were closed down here due to the weather. Then we had this discussion:

“Oh, you had a lot of snow?”

“No, it’s just really cold. Like 3 degrees.”

Silence. Then a low guttural chuckling, followed by what can only be described as a guffaw. That was followed by more laughter that led to a coughing fit, and I only half-hoped he’d choke to death. Then . . .

“Seriously, why did you close?”


Another example of horrible, careless parenting. Someone report these people to the authorities! For the love of God, this baby looks like he’s having fun!

CANON CITY, Colorado.

A six year old boy is suspended from school in Canon City for kissing a classmate on the hand.

His mother says it’s a crush and the two children like each other. But the school is calling it something else; sexual harassment.

First grader Hunter Yelton told us he loves science and phys-ed. Also, that he has a crush on a girl at school, who likes him back. It may sound innocent enough, but at six years old Hunter now has ‘sexual harassment’ on his school record.

“It was during class, yeah. We were doing reading group and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That’s what happened,” said Hunter Yelton.

Because of this behavior, Hunter was at home on Monday instead of at school.

“They sent me to the office, fair and square. I did something wrong and I feel sorry,” he said.

“She was fine with it, they are ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’. The other children saw it and went to the teacher. That was the day I had the meeting with the principal, where she first said ‘sexual harassment’. This is taking it to an extreme that doesn’t need to be met with a six year old. Now my son is asking questions – what is sex mommy? That should not ever be said, sex. Not in a sentence with a six year old,” said Hunters’ mom, Jennifer Saunders.

The superintendent at School District RE-1 says any school record remains within the district. And Hunters’ actions fit the school policy description of ‘sexual harassment’

The school district also says Hunters’ parents may believe that kissing the girl at school is overall acceptable- but that’s where the school disagrees. They’re hoping the suspension changes Hunter’s behavior.

Hunter is supposed to return to school in Canon City on Tuesday.

How dare you, Hunter Yelton! HOW DARE YOU!  Are you serious? Kissing your girl on the hand? And in reading group? Sacrilege! Outrageous! Get that kid sexual harassment counseling! The fact that he doesn’t know what sex is, let alone harassment, is beside the point!

And how about those little narcs that went to the teacher? You know what I used to tell my kindergartners – snitches wind up in ditches with stitches. You best remember that, Canon City, Colorado first-graders.

But seriously, Hunter’s taking it like a man, huh? “They sent me to the office, fair and square” he says.  Gotta respect that.

Nice work, School District RE-1. That’s a well thought out and fair act of discipline if I ever heard one. Way to keep a level head and not over-react. Keep up the good work. We must teach these sexual perverts a lesson!

On a related note, I would have never made it past the first week of pre-school if this type of behavior was a suspendable offense at Twin Elementary.

Noah in 10-years.

When her 4-year-old son Noah was reduced to tears by the thought of wearing glasses, Lindsey Fisher decided to turn to an unlikely source for help: Facebook.  To show Noah he was not alone, Fisher created a Facebook group called “Glasses for Noah.”

On the Facebook page Fisher wrote that Noah didn’t want to wear glasses. “He keeps telling us that ‘everyone will laugh at him.'” To help her son, Fisher made a request: “Show Noah how awesome glasses really are by posting some pictures for him to see you in your glasses!” It turns out plenty of people wanted to show off their spectacles. Thousands posted photos to the page with supportive messages for Noah. The page has currently been liked by more than 4,000 people. Lindsey Fisher’s father and Noah’s grandfather, Bannister Eads, told that all the photos have made Noah much happier about wearing glasses.

“He saw all these people wearing glasses and I think he thought, ‘Well it’s not so bad after all.’ It helped him,” said Eads.

On Friday, Fisher posted a message on the group wall thanking supporters for posting photos.

“Noah is LOVING them!!” wrote Fisher. “Y’all are amazing and we would give each of you a hug if we could!!!” She said now Noah no longer cries when wearing glasses and is even comfortable wearing them to school. “He puts them on after his nap at school. He’s used to it now,” said Eads, who also wears glasses. “He’s like me. He can see now.”

Hey. Psssst. Noah. You’d better sit down, I have upsetting news for you. Easy now, settle down. No, no, don’t cry. You haven’t even heard what I’m about to say. You alright now? Wait, don’t scream for your mommy, just listen up. You ready? OK, here goes . . .

See, before your mommy stepped in to try and save your fragile little ego only a few of your friends were laughing at you. Now? Well, the whole country is laughing at you and 99% of the kids in the country think you’re a spoiled little pansy.

Have a nice day!

PS: Lindsey Fisher could have saved a lot of time by showing him these pictures:

(Source) — Yes, “How to Fight a Baby” is getting a lot of attention — the clip has been viewed over half a million times since McInnes uploaded it to YouTube on Monday. Some viewers are calling it “cute” and “hilarious” and others have described it as disturbing and irresponsible. “[Department of Family and Children Services] needs to watch this video and I am sure the child would be taken away from this idiot and his idiot wife,” someone commented on YouTube. “Yes, I know they’re just playing…but it still doesn’t make it any less unsettling to see a baby being tossed and thrown; no matter how safe he is (it’s a baby, not a toy),” said another. A well-known child safety expert and author on the topic (who preferred not to have her name used) tells Yahoo Shine that she feels the video should be taken down from YouTube immediately. “I find it extremely disturbing.” She adds that not only is throwing and flipping an infant highly dangerous — even on a bed covered with pillows — she’s deeply worried that a copycat might push the mock-violent antics one step further. The American Humane Association warns that, although rare, tossing and playing too roughly with infants can cause shaken baby syndrome, and result in brain damage.

Oh, for the love of God. Really? People are mad about this? “Extremely disturbing”? “Unsettling?” He’s tossing the baby gently onto a pile of pillows and blankets! In addition, the baby is enjoying it.

I have two words to say about this video. It’s funny. Get a life, people!

Bugs Bunny, noted bully.

You’ve all read about the national initiative on bullying and all the recent cases that led up to it. It seems everyone’s being bullied these days. Bullying at school, bullying in the workplace, bullying in the National Football League for cryin’ out loud.

Am I nuts or did bullying used to be limited to children? When I was young I don’t recall any grown men or women being bullied. Now? Everyone can be bullied. It’s a national epidemic.

Because of all these nationally publicized cases of bullying we now have a National Bullying Initiative, aimed at creating laws to stop the madness. So, at the risk of going against the grain and being politically incorrect, please indulge me for a few minutes and let’s chat. If I offend you in any way please take no offense, as this isn’t intended to hurt your feelings or turn you into a victim.

To start, don’t we already have laws that protect people from being harassed, intimidated, and terrorized? And isn’t it a waste of time and money to try and pass laws that are attempting to turn people into saints? Children and adults are always going to make fun of each other on one level or another. That’s never going to change. And you can’t have laws protecting hurt feelings, for God’s sake.

It seems a lot of this seems to have stemmed from a few celebrated cases in which a young man or woman committed suicide and bullying was singled out as the cause.  But the truth is, there is no scientific evidence that bullying causes suicide. The fact is that people commit suicide because of mental illness. It is a treatable problem and preventable outcome. Bullying, on the other hand, is defined as “an ongoing pattern of intimidation by a child or teenager over others who have less power.” Committing suicide is almost always the end result of a much bigger problem, and almost never results from being bullied. In fact, from what I’ve read suicide is rarely if ever caused by a single factor like breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, getting bad grades or being bullied (or cyber-bullied, another problem that’s been grossly exaggerated). It’s much more complicated than that.

It’s sort of like back in the 80’s, when rock lyrics were being blamed for a few well-publicized suicides. Listen, if your child kills himself the problem goes much deeper than the fact that he was listening to some Ozzy Osbourne records.

I bet every single person reading this was “bullied” in one form or another while growing up. Sure, we were upset, we may have cried or been afraid on some level. Still we persevered, and did so without mom and dad running to our defense, trying to get the “bully” arrested, or Good forbid, try and take our own life.

Amazing, really. How did we make it without their help?

I’m going to throw out a wild idea here, but don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, if we raised our children to be more independent and self-confident they might be able to deal with their problems a little more effectively? Just a thought.

Sometimes, life isn’t easy. There isn’t always going to be an adult around to protect us, no “anti-bullying” law to magically save us from harm. Often times we have to face our problems on our own and deal with the consequences. By facing our problems head-on, we grow and earn that precious self-esteem that adults nowadays seem to want to simply hand over to us.

So why are we teaching are kids to run away from adversity? : The NFL Players Association has been in touch with the Miami Dolphins and people close to second-year offensive tackle Jonathan Martin to gather facts about what prompted him to leave the franchise, a source told FOX Sports.

As first reported by FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer, Martin left the franchise Monday after reacting badly to a lunch room prank by his teammates. A source told FOX Sports that Martin’s frustration stemmed from 1½ seasons of bullying and taunting from some teammates that had gone beyond the player hazing that sometimes occurs in NFL locker rooms.

A 2012 second-round draft pick, Martin is spending time with his family and has no timetable for a return to the team.

The Dolphins declined comment to FOX Sports when asked whether the franchise was aware of the bullying issue and whether steps were taken in an attempt to stop it.

“I’d like to say in regard to Jonathan that any player with an injury or illness, our primary concern is for the health of the individual,” Philbin said during his postgame press conference. “With respect to Jonathan, he’s been excused with a non-football illness. Our concern and support are with him. Really, that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.”

Listen, I don’t want to be insensitive here. If Jonathan Martin is a wuss has mental issues I probably shouldn’t interfere.

However . . .

Leaving because of a “lunch room prank”? And you’re being “bullied?” Seriously? Uh, Jonathan, you’re 6′-5″, 310 pounds. Ever think of throwing one of your “bullies” against the lunch room wall? This isn’t junior high, you won’t get sent to the principal.

See, they’re testing you. You failed the test. You gotta give it back, son, not run home to your mother.

Note: And I read a follow-up article that said he was being supported by teammates. Maybe, but my guess is Jonathan’s days in Miami are numbered. It’s the NFL. You can’t turn tail when you’re being teased by your teammates. You just can’t.

Star Telegram - Aledo beat Fort Worth Western Hills 91-0 at home, pushing its season pace to 69.3 points a game and running its undefeated record to 7-0. But the Bearcats were also met again with the challenge of keeping a lopsided matchup from getting out of hand. Buchanan said. “I don’t like it. I sit there the whole third and fourth quarter and try to think how I can keep us from scoring.” On Friday, the Bearcats rushed for 391 yards and scored eight touchdowns on the ground. Running back Jess Anders had four touchdowns on four touches. Ryan Newsome returned consecutive punt returns for scores. Buchanan said he pulled his starters on offense after 21 snaps and that a running clock was implemented in the third quarter. Aledo’s quarterbacks combined for 10 pass attempts. Despite his efforts to slow his own team down, criticism still found its way to Buchanan. He said he received notice Saturday morning that a bullying report had been filed against him by a Western Hills parent. By state law, Aledo and all school districts must provide a bullying report form on their website. Western Hills coach John Naylor said Sunday he hadn’t heard of the report being filed, but disagreed with the allegations. “I think the game was handled fine,” Naylor said. “They’re No. 1 for a reason, and I know coach Buchanan. We’re fighting a real uphill battle right now.” Naylor, whose roster had around 30 players Friday night, said there was only so much Aledo could do to stop scoring. “We just ran into a buzzsaw, you know,” Naylor said. “[Aledo] just plays hard. And they’re good sports, and they don’t talk at all. They get after it, and that’s the way football is supposed to be played in Texas.”

For the love of God, make it stop!!! Let’s get this straight. The winning coach did everything he could to hold down the score. He called running plays. He only attempted 10-passes. They never stopped the clock. They never trashed talked, never rubbed it in. The losing coach had no problem with the way he handled things.

But because they last 91-0, a parent of one of the losing players filed a bullying report?


On a related note, I guess Texas can drop the whole “we’re tougher than everyone else” shtick, huh? Mr. or Mrs. Whiny Parent kinda ruined that.

Have mercy.

With all the stuff I’ve posted recently regarding The Wussification of America, I started thinking about all the things that happened to me as I was growing up and how I could have possibly survived my treacherous, unprotected childhood. I already touched on this in previous blogs entitled Killer Toys, Soft Kids and a Sobering Realization, Dodgeball, a Microcosm of Life and others, but I feel as if I need to expound on it a little more.

You know, because you guys deserve it.

Anyway, I started thinking about all the accidents I was involved in as a kid and how my parents and other family members reacted to them. I gotta say that, in retrospect, I’m damn lucky to be alive. Because when I got hurt, more often than not (and when I say more often than not I mean every time), I was told to suck it the hell up.

I know what you’re thinking, kids. Shoe, let’s hear some examples. Well, as always I’m hear for ya . . .


Danger! Danger! Please walk children!

NASHUA In the game of tag at the Charlotte Avenue Elementary School, nobody’s it. The elementary school has banned kids from playing the childhood game during recess, tagging safety as a concern. “We want them running, we want them jumping and releasing the energy, but just in a safe way,” principal Patricia Beaulieu said. “The traditional recess game ‘tag,’ involves one or more players chasing other players in an attempt to ‘tag’ or touch them, usually with their hand,” Beaulieu wrote in the letter posted on Oct. 4. “Seems innocent enough, however the force with which students ‘tag’ varies greatly, and this game, in particular, has been banned in many schools in the United States due primarily to concerns about injuries.” Beaulieu said the school rule for recess has always been “no contact,” and the game of tag violates that policy. “It’s funny – I went into fifth-grade lunch and I was talking to all the fifth graders, and I said, ‘Raise your hand if you’ve ever been pushed aggressively while playing tag.’ Most of them raised their hands,” she said.

So schools are now banning tag. I don’t even know what to say anymore. And “no contact” at recess? What the hell? I’m not even mad anymore, just depressed at the state of America. Listen, you know who founded this awesome country of ours? Rebels, risk-takers and all-around bad-asses. The weak people and cowards either stayed in Europe or died on the boat on the trip over.

But you know who survived? The tough ones. Our ancestors. And this is how we’ve honored their legacies. By turning into soft, afraid-of-our-shadows weenies.

And how about the in-depth research done by Principal Patricia Beaulieu before making her decision? She asked a bunch of 5th graders at lunch if they’d ever been pushed aggressively during a game of tag and “most of them” raised their hands. Well, no shit Principal Beaulieu. Kids get pushed during tag.

Sweet Mother of God. The pendulum has to start swinging the other way soon, right?


PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) Worries about injuries at a Long Island school have led to a surprising ban. As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, officials at Weber Middle School in Port Washington are worried that students are getting hurt during recess. Thus, they have instituted a ban on footballs, baseballs, lacrosse balls, or anything that might hurt someone on school grounds. Tossing a football during recess has long seemed to be a rite of passage for kids in the school community. But the students will have no such option anymore. Port Washington schools Supt. Kathleen Maloney said the change in policy is warranted due to a rash of playground injuries. “Some of these injuries can unintentionally become very serious, so we want to make sure our children have fun, but are also protected,” Maloney said.

I just realized I must have been the worst PE teacher to ever grace a gymnasium. Here I was, letting kids throw balls at each other’s heads, letting them run and play and tackle each other, just run amok without regard for human life. I can’t believe somebody didn’t die in there. Damn, I was irresponsible.

Good Lord.

And hey, Kathleen Maloney. Why do you think kids climb trees? Why do they ride their bikes fast down hills? Because part of the fun is that they might get hurt. Hell, when I was in high school we had a boxing tournament, without helmets. And you know what? Nobody got maimed for life and nobody ran crying to mommy.

In addition, I’ve been a terrible at recess duty. Whenever I saw a fight, my strategy was to walk, not run, to break it up. It’s been my experience that if you let kids get a couple swings in they get it out of their system, usually shake hands, and walk away. And as far as I know, not one kid lost his life out there.

I’ve got an idea. Let’s bubble wrap all students before they go to recess or gym class! Problem solved!

And how in God’s name did kids survive the last 200-years without all these rules in place to protect them?

I weep for our future.




UTICA Suspended Notre Dame High School head coach Byron Abraham will be in the Sherburne-Earlville grandstands Friday night when his football team plays the unbeaten and state-ranked Marauders for a share of first place. Calling the school’s decision “absurd,” Abraham said he was notified Monday morning of the one-week suspension after four players who missed last week’s practices did not play in Notre Dame’s 46-14 win over Clinton on Saturday. Abraham said those four players – all participants in the school’s Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program – were told well in advance that they would not play after an ROTC function kept them from practicing last week. I’ve been here 10 years now, and we’ve never once played the kids who left for a week. “I don’t know of a coach out there who would play a kid who missed a whole week of practice. What we did was right.” The players were allowed to dress. “They’re all good kids; I imagine they don’t feel good about this,” Abraham said. “It’s not their fault. It’s not the kids doing the squawking. It’s some parents, and I think that’s wrong on a lot of levels.“ I think it’s deplorable that some parent can have that kind of influence and power and, ultimately, hurt the team.”

I didn’t think I could be shocked at our country’s level of wussification, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t take it to another level. Are you freaking kidding me?

First of all, I’m sure the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Program is a legit and worthwhile program, and kudos for the kids for being involved in it. BUT, you simply cannot miss a week of practice, especially in football, and expect to play. Can. Not. Happen. How would you feel of you were one of the guys who worked hard all week in practice, only to have a guy take your place who wasn’t there all week? Not to mention new plays or schemes that were put in during the week, of which the no-shows would have no knowledge.

Good excuse for missing a week? Maybe. Play in the game? No way.

Well done Coach Abraham. Keep fighting the good fight.

I received a message from a helpful reader that informed me that the article below is, in fact, a hoax. I thought it could be but had seen the article on other sites and wasn’t sure. Either way, funny as hell.

CBC – With the growing concern over the effects of competition in youth sports programs this summer, many Canadian soccer associations eliminated the concept of keeping score. The Soccer Association of Midlake, Ontario, however, has taken this idea one step further, and have completely removed the ball from all youth soccer games and practices. According to Association spokesperson, Helen Dabney-Coyle, “By removing the ball, it’s absolutely impossible to say ‘this team won’ and ‘this team lost’ or ‘this child is better at soccer than that child.’””We want our children to grow up learning that sport is not about competition, rather it’s about using your imagination. If you imagine you’re good at soccer, then, you are.”

Using Helen Dabney-Coyle’s logic, all I have to do is imagine being a great real estate magnate and I’ll be one! Sweet! I’m rich!

Listen, I’ve been through this too may times to mention. Competition is good. Kids need to learn how to win as well as lose. It’s a part of life.

Simple equation, kids:

Lose + Learn from experience + Don’t quit + Work hard to Improve = Achieve better results next time.

Why is that so hard to understand?

denver boone.jpg

I’m offended by his lifeless, piercing eyes.


My comments follow the article.

By Perry Chiaramonte

Is a cartoon-like college mascot reminiscent of Daniel Boone — right down to the legendary coonskin cap — racist, sexist or otherwise offensive?

Officials at the University of Denver seem to think so. They’ve announced they won’t reinstate “Denver Boone,” who was retired in 1998 as mascot for the UD Pioneers, despite calls to bring him back.

Boone originally had been replaced by a red-tailed hawk named “Ruckus” but the bird never soared high with the student body and was scrapped in 2007, leaving the school without a mascot. Fast forward and the school decided to put together a committee last spring to determine the new mascot, but Boone was not even considered.

“Boone was a polarizing figure that did not reflect the growing diversity of  the UD community, but rather was an image that many women, persons of color, international students and faculty members found difficult to relate to as defining the pioneering spirit,” Chancellor Robert Coombe said in a March letter  to the school community.

The image of  Denver Boone was originally designed by a Walt Disney artist and named by a UD student back in 1968.

The cartoony figure, which sports a scruffy beard and a raccoon skin cap, is reminiscent of the Daniel Boone character from the 1950s TV show based on the real-life pioneer.

Boone was a legend of early American history and the archetypal hero of the American Western Frontier.

Later, his image and legend fell victim to revisionist history as he became associated with the forceful displacement of Native Americans from their land.

You know, I swear to God I’m running out of things to say. For the life of me I cannot understand why that little hockey playing trapper dude could offend anybody. You know, other than the fact that his shark-like, beady eyes stare straight into your soul.

I mean, I can see how raccoons might be offended but that about covers it.

But sexist? And he’s “difficult to relate to as defining the pioneering spirit”?


Sigh. Here we go again. Political Correctness run amok. A father and son go to a pro football game, father wants to take a picture, asks 15-year old son to hold his beer, Ballpark Nazis show up and toss him out of the stadium.

Why in the world wouldn’t they just listen to his explanation, nod their heads understandingly, shake his hand and leave? Oh, yeah, that’s common sense. Way too much to ask.

Note: This is one of several “Best of Shoe: Untied” retreads I post from time-to-time. Basically I’m going to rerun some of my most popular articles according to comments and pageviews. If you’ve already read them, just move along, nothing to see here. However, if you’re one of my many new readers and haven’t seen some of my earlier stuff, this might be for you. What follows are some of my thoughts regarding our national obsession with what people say and how they say it. It has special significance in relation to Gordon Gee’s recent comments and the trouble they caused him.

So Dane Cook is in some hot water for some joke he made the other night regarding the Colorado shootings. Let me get one thing straight. I’m not a huge Dane Cook fan. I have nothing against the guy, I just find him, well, unfunny, not very creative and exceptionally sort of stupid. That said, the uproar over his comments during his schtick are way over the top in my opinion. After all it was only a joke, nothing more. Just words. Here’s what he said:

“Man, that thing in Colorado was terrible. But you know the new Batman movie sucks, right? I can picture somebody sittting in the 10th row, about 25-minutes into the movie, saying something like, ‘This movie is bad. Somebody shoot me.’ And then . . .”

Hardy-har-har. Sort of amusing but not really. My issue with the joke is not with the content but with the fact that it’s just not that funny. Hey, my friends will tell you I’ve told jokes about 9/11, Dale Earnhardt and almost anything else that might be deemed inappropropriate by normal folks. To me funny is funny,  and my ability to laugh about 9/11 has absolutely zero correlation with my sympathy for the victims and for what happened that day.

They’re only words, folks.

I used to get very upset when people would make an inapproriate comment or a racist joke. And although I still feel a racist joke is ignorant and offensive, I usually don’t say anything anymore. You can’t fight every dumbass in the world, so I just walk away. They’re just words. Actions, on the other hand, can really hurt.

Maybe the Hip-Hop culture has, in a way, contributed to the lessening of the impact when you hear the word with such regularity. So, maybe when I hear it now it’s not so much of a shock. Still, I still hate that damn word. When Jay-Z, Snoop, or anyone else uses it I just cringe. So many negatives over history attached to it.

Ultimately though? Just a word.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the power of words. I understand they can be hurtful. A woman recently told the parent of one of my students that her kid would never learn a thing in my class. Even though I knew it was bullshit it hurt to think someone would think that about something I love to do so much. Words can sting. It’s just that I think as a country we’ve become way too thin-skinned.  I started teaching in the classroom for the first time in 15-years this past year, and at some point (oh, it may have been the first day) I said:

“Alright! Everybody shut up!”

Audible gasps from the students. One of them said, “Mr. Shoe, we’re not supposed to say those words.” There may have even been a tear in his eye.

And to that I responded: “Bleh.”

Appparently these words, over the past few years, have become off-limits in the classroom. Apparently damages self-esteem or something. Listen, if a teacher telling you to shut up destroys your fragile emotional state that badly you’re in for a tumultuous, stressful life.

They’re only words. Here’s some advice. Relax and learn to deal with it, the sooner the better.

And how about the sports teams with the Indian names. Really? Is it really that offensive to American Indians for a team to be called the Redskins? The Seminoles? Is the Chief Wahoo logo really really that upsetting to people? It’s a smiling cartoon head for God’s sake.

Speaking of team names, it seems we’re sort of selective, aren’t we? I mean, I consider myself a good American patriot, but hey New England Patriots, I ain’t mad at ya.

Howza ’bout the Philadelphia 76ers? Ya think my man George Washington woud be “offended” because a basketball team was named after him and his posse? I think not. He’d probably respond with a quizzical look and say:

“What’s basketball?” Then he’d go kick some Hessian ass and change the course of history.

The point is they’re just names. Words. They can’t hurt you. Mom was right. Sticks and stones and all that.

One final thought on words. I’m always hearing about a fight starting because somebody was “disrepected”. This always makes me laugh. First off, have you done anything to earn this “respect” in the first place? And if so, why do you care if some doofus doesn’t recognize this? Big deal. Life goes on. Smile and walk away. It’s not worth wasting negative energy over it. People are idiots. They’re not worth your time. They can’t hurt you.

They’re only words.

[Originally published July 29th, 2012.]


PALMER, Mass. —A Massachusetts kindergartener has been given detention and could be suspended from the bus after bringing a Lego-sized gun to school last week. WGGB in Springfield reported that the incident happened on an Old Mill Pond Elementary School bus in Palmer last week. A 6-year-old had the toy gun, which is slightly larger than a quarter, on the bus and it was seen by another student, who alerted the bus driver. The boy’s mother, Mieke Crane, said her son had to write a letter of apology to the driver, was given detention and could be temporarily suspended from the bus. “I think they over-reacted totally. I totally do,” Crane told WGGB, adding her son knows guns can be dangerous and are not allowed at school.

I have no words. Just speechless right now. I weep for the future of education.