Toddlers and Bullies Have a Lot in Common

As both a Miami Dolphins fan and a not-exactly-physically-imposing writer type, I am really torn on this whole bullying scandal.

Bullying is deplorable, and, despite being raised in an era (not all that long ago, really) when the default suggestion for dealing with bullies was to fight back and expose the bully as the coward he truly is, fighting fire with fire is no longer an acceptable tactic. But judging what goes on in a football locker rooms by the same standards with which we judge “the real world” is a little insane. I’m not defending Richie Incognito’s actions, but context is important, and I don’t think we have all of it. It’s impossible for non-football players to understand what it’s like in that environment, but I am relatively certain it’s less like your cubicle farm and more like The Hunger Games.

That said, I always find it obnoxious and condescending when someone tells me I can’t possibly know what something is like because I haven’t experienced it. And then I thought about parenting. And I realized most parents take the same attitude with non-parents, and it’s equally obnoxious and condescending.

But that doesn’t make it false. And the inability of outsiders to fully understand what the day-to-day is like is just one of the ways parenting a toddler is like being on the Miami Dolphins.

NFL, bullying, sports, miami dolphins, toddlers, parenting, kids, children, discipline, culture, dads, moms, pop culture

10 Ways Being a Parent is Like Being in the Miami Dolphins Locker Room

  • Someone is always walking around half-naked
  • Hazing is a daily thing: middle of the night wake-ups; getting food thrown at you; suddenly being given the cold shoulder by someone who was previously your friend; being forced to do someone else’s laundry; etc.
  • There is nonstop screaming and hollering
  • At least one person is slightly insane and it’s probably the one with the baby face who occasionally goes throws tantrums when you take him out in public
  • You’re forced to pay outlandish amounts for someone else’s meals
  • Every year, you hope things will change and improve, but usually it’s just more of the same
  • You’re forced to do stuff you don’t want to do, like attend terrible recitals or watch bush league soccer games or go to Vegas with the entire offensive line
  • No one can ever agree on what music should be played in the common areas
  • Everyone takes orders from someone much smaller and weaker than them
  • People routinely say things that would be considered offensive and unacceptable anywhere else, like “I’ll shit in your mouth!” or “If you do it in the toilet I’ll give you some candy.”

As you can see, the similarities are striking.

As a Dolphins fan and the parent of a toddler – as I alluded to above, growing up I was more likely to be bullied than to be a bully, but I never thought my kid would take advantage of that! – I just hope both situations improve before I have grandkids.

I can’t take another twenty years of mediocrity and/or tantrums.


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3 thoughts on “Toddlers and Bullies Have a Lot in Common

  1. I hate to be the skunk at your garden party…but…this issue warrants some further discussion and while I think its funny that you compare your favorite team to raising kids, I feel the humor is a little lost when you state “judging what goes on in a football locker rooms by the same standards with which we judge “the real world” is a little insane.”

    There are standards of human decency regardless of whether or not you are in a locker room. Hazing and bullying are wrong, period. This is a no joke issue and this arcane right of passage for rookies needs to stop. And the NFL needs to take a Zero tolerance stance on this issue and evolve the sportsmanship to the level of respect for everyone regardless. But there seems to be a lack of any real leadership in the NFL.

    I invite you to take a look at this piece on the issue- http://www.sbnation.com/2013/11/5/5065834/jonathan-martin-richie-incognito-dolphins-rookie-hazing

    My favorite part is the misguided loyalty to tradition. I hope you take this to heart and not as an attack on your well intentioned humor on the topic.

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