AFTERBURNER: Silent Saturday

This might be the best Afterburner installment yet, and possibly because there’s no politics in it. It’s about the idiocy infecting child-rearing, and in particular how overprotective parents and others are destroying team sports for young kids.

In particular with things like “silent Saturdays,” where there’s no cheering or yelling because to do so would disrupt the self-esteem of nine-year olds who play soccer…

This is timely stuff given the controversy, if you could call it that, surrounding this Johnathan Martin-Richie Incognito business with the Miami Dolphins.

Today, the big news is that someone in the Dolphins’ organization suggested that Incognito, a well-known badass around the league, had begun efforts to “toughen up” Martin, and when the latter complained he was told by the team’s general manager to take a swing at Incognito. This has been met with horror, as though the idea that someone throwing a punch at someone else in an effort to prove his manhood amid adversity – contrived or real – is the worst thing ever.

The people who are horrified at the idea someone might suggest to Martin that if he didn’t like how Incognito was treating him he should slug him are the same people who inflict “silent Saturdays” on nine-year olds.

Toughness is a virtue. Toughness doesn’t come by osmosis. It’s learned through the overcoming of adversity. And toughness is a commodity a nation can’t survive without.

Silent Saturdays and horror over hazing in NFL locker rooms produce weakness, not toughness. They invite the very adversity they purport to alleviate.

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