Shouldn’t the Girl on My Son’s Team Be in Another Division?

Jun 16, 2022 · 338 comments
Spnyc (NYC)
Please think twice before you tell a tall girl she doesn’t belong somewhere. Being a tall girl can feel like a crime you didn’t know existed and for which you are punished constantly.
ZecaRioca (GB)
I bet that the same mother, if she had a daughter, she would complain if a trans girl played on her daughter’s team. The best for the mother is to take her helicopter and fly with her son to somewhere where there are no other humans around. That will be safe space.
Francois (Montreal)
My 10 year old plays drums. Drums any time is intense. Electronic drums is indeed the way to go. It's even better for the kids' longterm hearing, since you can control the volume, whereas you can't do that on a standard drum set. Another alternative is that he only play Dave Brubeck Quartet covers.
Kate (Boston Burbs)
The girl is playing on the boys team because there is no girls baseball team. Girls play softball, and at that age, if the girl is really athletic, she may prefer the game of baseball and might not want to play softball with the other girls. However, by middle or high school HS it is rare to see girls on boys teams and softball gets very competitive and the girls bigger and stronger. Also, there are now boys on field hockey teams, traditionally a female sport in the US. Boys are often allowed on the girls team because there is no boys team
ZecaRioca (GB)
About the girl playing baseball, when my son was a child he was the smallest of all children in the football team. By a lot. He played center. He spiked the ball. When the quarterback fumbled right away, which was common at his age, he got at the bottom of the pile. He came out of it dazed and confused, but happy because he had that he had the fumbled ball in his hands. Now he’s 30. He’s still small at 5’8” and only 135 lbs, but every time he recalls the only season he played football he remembers with a big laugh wondering how on Earth he managed to always come up with the fumbled football. By the way, he totally dislikes football or any sports for that matter.
BAM (NYC)
A full contact sport for an admittedly undersized child? No wonder he doesn’t like football.
Spnyc (NYC)
Golly, so much to say about the big girl on little boy baseball team issue but likely will put my foot in my mouth regarding admission of trans women who are/used to be male to women’s sports. So I’ll just weigh in on the pricey restaurants thing. Two simple solutions: 1. Refer them to the restaurant’s online menu to check out current prices for themselves. 2. Ask them what their budget is first, before making a recommendation. Hope these suggestions are helpful.
Joseph (Boston)
Girls should play on girls teams, boys on boys teams, and those categories are based on biology/chromosomes- end of story. Girls undergo puberty earlier so have an advantage over boys then, later boys will develop considerably more muscle mass and strength. Fairness aside, there's a lot of potential for injury in letting them mix on teams. I distinctly remember a younger sibling's high school team where they let a girl on- the shortest 16 year old boy on the team was the only person remotely in her weight class, and would do a number on her based on shear biology. We have gender distinctions for a tangible, indisputable reason. Please stop pretending we can wish it away in the name of political correctness and the latest social craze
Gabriel (SF CA)
@Joseph And what if there are not enough girls to form a league or even one team in the town in which these people live?
G (PA)
Go to the next town.
Joseph (Boston)
@Gabriel Then too bad. You're subjecting people to physical damage when you're doing contact sports between genders, just aside from the fairness aspect. My high school didn't have enough people for a swim team, nor a pool. You know what we did for them? They got on a bus early in the morning and combined with the neighboring school to form a team of sufficient numbers and pooled together a budget for travel expenses for them to use a county pool for training. "What if there aren't enough of them?" isn't a particularly good excuse.
Nicole (California)
Youth sports and especially mixed gender sports can be challenging. My daughter played on a town rec basketball on girls and boys teams (all by grade not age, and girls allowed to play on boys teams). There can be a big difference in size for kids of the same gender and the same grade. On one team, a boy was a year older because he had to repeat a grade but it was fine because he was much smaller than the rest of the players. On another team, the coach would play my daughter but the boys wouldn’t pass the ball to any of the three girls on the team — even though the girls were better players. That team scored more points when at least two of the girls were on the court at the same time. It was a grade 3-4 team, and the two tallest boys were the least skilled - even more so than the 4th grade boy who hadn’t played before.
San Sam (California)
The real problem in the baseball league story is that the league age range is 8 to 12. Years ago, a daughter played on a softball all-girls team, where the ages in the league ranged from 10 to 14. The daughter was 10. Her teammates were age 10. Their first game was against a team of girls who were all wearing brassieres and looked like grown women. If a pitcher missed the slow pitch plate, the call was a ball. Most batters on the opposing team walked to first base. The game was called due to time. The game ended with the final score a gazillion to zero. My daughter’s team had made 5 outs when the game was called. When parents like myself pointed out that the situation was ridiculous, parents on the other team said that in four years, my daughter’s team would be winning in the same way. She never played another game in that league. Do not underestimate the stupidity of people in charge of children’s team sports.
Toni (Florida)
Agreed. The girl can play on the boys team. So then the boys can play on the girls team. Seems fair. Or instead, just have one team without genders. One league with boys and girls playing and competing in the same sports on the same team. This solves Title 9 issues, is fair in terms of access and solves the transgender issues. Since we are all equal this shouldn't be a problem. And it will be less expensive.
Nicole (California)
I am confused. Are you trying to make rules for the son’s league? The mom asked for advice for how to deal with her son’s situation, not how to propose new league rules.
Brian Bailey (Vancouver, Canada)
This is ridiculous. Boys and girls are biologically different and should be playing on same sex teams.
Valerie (California)
Ten-ish years ago, one of my kids was on an under-8 soccer team (mixed sexes). The games were a horror show: parents constantly screaming at their children to GET TO THE BALL! and little kids crying as they came off the field. Every time. It reached a point where the people who ran the league had to post signs banning comments from the sidelines, under threat of removal from the game area. I wouldn't let my son play another season. It was, in my opinion, abusive. Why do adults have to ruin such an innocent undertaking as a soccer (or baseball) game for little kids? Why does this stuff even have to be an organized activity, anyway? Until about 30 years ago, kids went outside, found other kids and played a game for fun. Adults were neither present nor wanted. That approach was much better for everyone. To LW1: please try to reflect on what you're teaching your son if he hears you complaining about how unfair it is for this girl to take up what you believe is his rightful time on the field. Also, what do you mean by, "as a feminist, I have no issue with this girl playing," followed immediately by saying you want her off the team because she's better than your son? Feminism isn't feminism if the girls aren't allowed to be better than boys.
ZecaRioca (GB)
@Velerie I coached Under-8 soccer. At that age, boys and girls should be developing skills, especially in the United States where there is no soccer culture where kids watch soccer on TV and don’t have soccer heroes. A 7-year old child (under-8) have watched many LeBron James and Steph Curry play and have nobody to emulate, like in basketball. They don’t know the moves, the plays and the rules. And neither do the parents. I grew up in Brazil. I probably kicked a soccer ball before I learned to walk, and could tell the entire Brazilian squad that won the 1970 World Cup, including backups. I was 8 years old at the time. Until soccer becomes mainstream and the current playing kids become parents themselves, you will have parents screaming from their lungs to run and kick the ball, as if that’s all there is about soccer. Trust me, that frustrates kids and coaches, but if I would jump on the parents, the kids wouldn’t come back. That’s the difference.
Lisa vS (Maine)
Girls definitely mature physically a bit faster than boys. I would maybe say emotionally too, so its not as crazy as it sounds to have different cutoff ages. I towered over boys for years.
Rufus (SF)
this is a joke, right?
Ray (USA)
@Rufus I thought that too. But then I thought, how could you even make this stuff up?
Ella (NYC)
Once upon a time I was a soccer mom and yes, it hurts when your kids is a bench warmer and sometimes ugly thoughts crossed my mind. It’s life, it’s normal. Everybody will get over it and your son will grow and either improve or not, or just drop out like so many teens. It’s best to step back as a parent.
New Yorker (New York, NY)
Re Drummer Boy: When I was a child, I took piano lessons from ages 6-18. My Mother set the rules for the times when I could practice: during the week from 4-6 (to give most of the neighbors peace after getting home from work); on weekends from 10-6 (when most of the neighbors had waked up until possible dinner time). Just because it's legal, why is it OK for people living in apartments to make as much noise as they want during those times? It's legal, but it's not considerate (please don't sneer at that last word).
Vince (USA)
Co-op residents — have you considered taking up the trumpet? Or better yet, a nice set of bagpipes!
John Grady (Medford NJ)
Mom, Promoting a better player, whatever their gender, is not the answer. As a former age group youth baseball commissioner and coach I’ve had parents who wanted their kids to “play up”. I held my ground on the age pairings. My advice - the same I gave my child in youth sports and now in adult life - be what the team needs. There are 9 positions in the field in baseball, if a more talented athlete plays your preferred position, find a way to contribute from another spot. Most importantly develop a love for the game and being a supportive teammate those have lifetime value.
c (Pennsyltucky)
Basketball: who cares. Your son is 9 and not getting a D1 college scholarship or playing in the NBA.
Stu Pidasso (NYC)
You might have a point, but it is buried beneath a mound of rude mean-spiritedness.
Ray (USA)
@Stu Pidasso Sometimes the truth hurts. That's life. Life is tough. People need to grow some skin and learn to take it like we all did years ago. Being sensative & constantly offended by the smallest things is what got us to where we are in the 1st place.
Ally (Dallas)
@Ray You are obviously the one who is sensitive, not Stu. Being kind costs nothing, and you're not instilling some great message by "learning to take it like we all did." In fact, that sounds punitive and frankly, weird.
Peace (BOSTON MA)
"the girl on my son's team is bigger and..." Your son is only 9. For the rest of his life, he's going to be competing among human beings of all shapes, sizes, educations, backgrounds - some will possess undeniable talent beyond your son's capabilities- best you show your son how to practice every day, study, and memorize. Teach him how to find his advantage. Teach him guts. Teach him good manners and respect -- especially for girls who are attempting to excel among what is looked upon as a male game.
David H (Northern VA.)
1. Your son is learning a valuable lesson -- entitlement gets you absolutely nowhere -- that will serve him well throughout the rest of his life. 2. Here's how you set the boundary: gently tell your mother-in-law that you expect a formal apology from her girlfriend before the latter is allowed in the home to see the baby. 3. I would not change your approach. When they exclaim "I could never pay that much!" either remain silent or express your regret that they will never be able to enjoy the experience. 4. Skip the condo board and call the police. You are entitled to peace and quiet.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
We are talking kids less than 12 here right? And here I thought sports for the little ones were supposed to be about learning to play as a team using each others strong points... learning how to win, lose and get back up .... that kind of thing. I guess I was wrong if elementary school "team sports" are now about individuals ... Clearly parents are the problem when kids can just "play ball".
Nicole (California)
I’m not sure about baseball, but if it’s an AAU team, the mom could be paying thousands of dollars for her son to play on the team, which could explain why she’s so agitated by the girl. It hurts more when you are spending that much money, and you’ll want your child to get the benefit of learning during game play.
Maia (Toronto)
LW1 is no feminist.
Mike (Georgia)
in some football leagues you have weight restrictions, in baseball its all based on skill and age. it is a matter of he is unlucky and the girl is lucky he needs to get better or find another position to work on. as a former rec coach setting playing time, positioning and parents were the hardest part of the role while still making the game fun and competitive
Marlin (New York)
Perhaps the lady’s son can switch to the girls’ team.
Shane C (Utah)
@Marlin -Meaning what?
KM (NC)
@Marlin Very funny!
Ally (Dallas)
@Shane C Meaning, Marlin is making a point about the mother's true motive.
Bridgecross (Tuckahoe)
I don't believe the problem is gender. The problem is a league with a 5-year age range. Especially ages 8-12, a period of incredible growth and change.
Frances (USA)
@Bridgecross Unless I misread, it said that there are two age divisions within the league, so 8 year olds and 12 year olds are not playing together.
CS (🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿)
“As a feminist, I have no issue with this girl playing. But…”
DT (NYC)
I am a drummer (it's my profession) and have been for over two decades. We were threatened with eviction from me drumming in my family apartment building as a teenager and for good reason. Drums are LOUD. If his parents are serious, they should not make the entire building endure it. They're also going to start losing their minds (and hearing) being in the house with a drummer. The first few years of drumming are rough and almost unbearable to listen to. There are dozens of hourly or monthly studios where he can use real drums at all hours. If they want their kid to play at home, they should invest in a good electronic kit for apartment practice. Or the cheapest option - put towels over the drums and cymbals to mute them.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
@DT There are sound reducers for drums and cymbals available in most music store. My neighbour's son practiced drums for years while causing little disturbance.
Meg (Midwest)
Electric drums are in no way equivalent to playing on a real drum set. It's quite possible to set up soundproofing of various types to deal with the noise, however.
EB (NYC)
@Meg Most apartment buildings have quiet hours rules. The writer should contact the building manager or have the owner contact the manager on their behalf.
DT (NYC)
As per my main comment, I am a professional drummer: Soundproofing of drums is very difficult in a multi-unit setting because of the range of frequencies the drums create. Even if you're able to cut the high end of the cymbals, the thumping of the bass drum will still be heard through the floor since it's hollow. Most drum rooms are "rooms within rooms," with a raised wood floor over concrete and two layers of walls with insulation in them. Regular foam soundproofing will not be that effective with an instrument so loud.
Meg (Midwest)
@DT Love your comments. I'm lucky enough to have neighbors (house) who say they can't hear me, but I've been struggling imagining the ramifications of a potential move.
Andrew (New Rochelle)
“My son plays the same position” sounds fishy. The whole idea that there are position designations in a league that spans 8-12 is silly. Most likely this girl is very good so the coach plays her often at shortstop or maybe CF. Sorry kid, you will get your time at 2B or LF or whatever.
Ray (USA)
@Andrew Right field.
Jeda (Oregon)
If there was a similar-aged boy playing the same position as your son who was taller and more skilled at the position, would you still want that player to be moved to the older division so your son could play? Or smaller, more skilled etc? When I was a kid there was a tiny age-appropriate girl in little league baseball who was an exceptional athlete—hitter, pitcher, any position. I’ll call her Heidi. Her team frequently played my brother’s team over the years and she was a star, even as the boys grew taller. I don’t know how boys’ parents felt about it if she was playing instead of one of their sons. There were very few girls who played back then. She was phenomenal and the good boy athletes respected her. I loved watching her. I imagine it might have been difficult for some moms and dads to see their sons not get the playing time they felt they deserved, but that’s a lesson for how the world works in school, jobs, typically.
Helleborus (Germany)
Co-op residents: Get yourself a nice collection of guns, invite your neighbors, show off your firearms and tell them that drums drive you crazy. Literally crazy.
Ray (USA)
@Helleborus Brilliant, but not smarting today's US gun environment. All gun owners, even legal owners who have passed background checks, are viewed as the enemy and potential bringer of death by the people who have never held a gun, let alone fired one.
Susan (Boston)
Nobody should be joking about shooting people. Guns aren't funny, whether you own one or you don't.
Helleborus (Germany)
Baseball mom: Tell your son that time is on his side: In a few years, he will be taller and stronger than this girl, and even if this doesn’t work, it will still be a man‘s world with unfair advantages for men over women. Then he will get his revenge.
Northshore123 (Boston)
In hockey, at age 13 players are allowed to hit/body check. This rightfully frightens most girls, so at that age they either move to all-girls league or they ask for waivers to "play down" for a year or two (the most allowed). This results in 14 year old girls (basically full grown women) playing against very small 11-12 year old boys. It definitely looks weird and in some situations can really look unfair. However, once the boys turn 13 the problem goes away and all the girls are gone. I'm going to guess this is what's going to happen to this baseball team in a couple of years when the boys catch up in growth to the girls.
Coffee Drinker (Oregon)
Thank goodness the girls go away! Being out-performed by a girl could really do damage to a young man during his formative years.
EB (NYC)
@Northshore123 Hmm, it doesn't really sound fair for 14 year old girls to be playing the 11 year old boys. At those ages most girls have completed puberty while most boys have barely started. They should just go on the girls' team at that point. I can't think of any other sport where a high school student can choose to play 6th graders just because they're intimidated by the high school team. If people have different ability levels there's varsity vs jv, or various community leagues, playing against younger kids is unfair to those young kids.
Elizabeth (USA)
At 14, you haven't finished puberty, you've barely started!
Steve (Toronto)
There are a lot of really first-rate comments about the boy having to deal with a more skilled competitor who happens to be a girl. They appropriately focus on the mom's very problematic attitudes. Maybe mom could encourage her 9-year-old to try playing a different position than the one the highly-skilled other player has a lock on. There might be a life lesson there as well.
Amy (GA)
Overlooking the local high school football field there’s a new large apartment building that started leasing late in 2019. So imagine all the people who moved in the winter, spring and early summer who discovered the high school marching band practices 2 weeks straight for 8 hours a day in the summer, then 2 1/2 hours three nights a week August through mid November (one night is just percussion). Plus every other Friday night there are football games and a few all day Saturday marching band practices. It’s a “nice” place, where I live though.
Amy (GA)
When I was 9-10 I was one of the tallest kids in my class, boy or girl. I stopped growing taller by age 12 and most of my classmates surpassed me and I’m a short adult. So the advantage a tall girl child has may be temporary. It seems weird to make a talker player move to a higher age bracket. I mean, would you move a small 9 year old down to play with 7 year olds?
NYT Reader (Napa Valley)
I am a woman who is 6 ft 1". I have always been tall, but it was especially noticeable in 4-9 grades. It was horrible in grade school, since I was teased and called Jolly Green Giant and a lot worse. Sports were not a big thing, and if they were, my mom would not have encouraged me to play, thinking this would only make me more "masculine" seeming. My first thought when reading this was, wow, what a great thing that a tall grade school girl can standout for being tall and feel good about being tall. At that age, I would have been crushed if someone suggested putting me in a different league due to my size. The boys grew taller eventually and it all worked out for me as it frequently does, but the mom doesn't once mention how a change would impact the young lady athelete.
Jack (Sloane)
These all sound fabricated. I’ll take the bait. I have never seen a girl dominate a boys team. The notion of “gigantic girls” who are “maturing early” is Boomer propaganda. Gender doesn’t matter at all in a game like baseball, size barely matters. Generally, Players that are more skilled and dominating their age group often play up a level or move to a academy/club team from the local teams (school leagues being an exception). If the player was that good, she’d move on. My youngest son is by far the tallest kid on his soccer team, but plays at his level with five younger boys who are small but play up. My daughter was on cheer with 18 year olds when she was 13 because of skill.
Aacat (Annapolis)
@Jack If her son is 9, I doubt she is a boomer.
Joanna Stasia (NYC)
I have. Our rec soccer league K-8 has had many a young girl as the highest scorer. Stats don’t lie. Girls develop coordination earlier and can be taller and faster for early and middle childhood. It reverses as puberty approaches. This is well known.
M-in-Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)
@Jack People lacking any life experience at all are unlikely to have anything of value to add, as you've demonstrated. I recall taller girls dominating the little league teams in the '80s! Between 10 and 13, girls are often bigger overall. And teams devoted to specific age groups don't move anyone up just because they're good - that's ridiculous. But even if they did, we don't actually know if this girl is good at all, or if the boy in question is just bad. Taking mom's word for it doesn't seem prudent, given her other assurances ("feminist," indeed).
Ron B (Boston)
The youth baseball divisions were set up based on age at a time when they were only considering boys. in that context, age is a proxy for physical maturation. Boys and girls as a general rule (yes, aware of the variations) will mature at different ages and this will cause the issue the writer expresses. A 12 year old girl would likely be in puberty and approaching the physical strength of an adult woman, while a 9 year old boy is still a child. No easy answers about how to best match players, but it is not fair to suggest that the MOM letter writer is just complaining for no reason.
EB (NYC)
@Ron B But the letter writer didn't say that the girl was taller and stronger than ALL the boys on the team, just that she was taller than some of them. Should all the kids who are taller than the writer's son be promoted? I guess if there where tons of kids they could subdivide into categories of age, height, and weight, so that each 5'2" 90 pound 11 year old was only competing against 5'2" 90 pound 11 year olds, but I doubt there are enough kids for this. If girls going through puberty offered advantages other than height, for example a massive surge in testosterone allowing them to be much more athletic, then having a puberty cutoff would make sense. However, the testosterone levels for 12-16 year old girls is 7-75 ng/dl while the levels for 12-13 year old boys is 7-800. So depending on when these boys are hitting puberty, the girl is either comparable or at a massive disadvantage. Furthermore, female puberty hurts athletic performance in many ways, increased fat and broader hips slows female runners for example. In short, female puberty is never going to give an advantage compared to male puberty. I think this letter was chosen to fit the political agenda of promoting mixed sex athletics. If they get us to argue that having a female play with males is fair, then they hope we won't argue against trans women in female sports.
D (Harlem)
Something tells me there’s missing info. The mom mentions two divisions. Why would she do that? Probably because, like in most youth sports, the other division is a crossover age with the first, like 10-14. This is common in adolescent leagues. If it were a boy it would be totally fine to suggest. I’m suspicious of the question being altered here for a low hanging fruit answer, knowing anything about youth leagues.
Not A Seer (Columbus)
How would you feel if a 17 year old boy was allowed to play on your daughter’s high school softball team? He would be the star. We have girls and boys sports, and age groups, so kids can compete against those with similar levels of ability. It’s highly imperfect! Maybe grouping players by skill would be more fair. But the mom raises a legitimate point.
Boufano (Rancho Mirage, CA)
@Not A Seer red herring. In your example the boy would be swinging down whereas in the letter writer’s situation the girl is swinging up.
LJ (NE)
1. Let me fix the typos - "As a feminist, I have no issue with the taller and more athletic player getting playtime based on meritocracy, regardless of gender." (assuming there's no minimum time guidelines being flouted, since LW1 doesn't mention it) 2. LW1 should look in the mirror and ask themself if they'd have advocated for a BOY to be punted to an older division 3. LW1 should also ask themself if they'd have advocated some other athlete to be punted to an older division if their son was getting plenty of playtime but they noticed another kid get less playtime due to said athlete
Name With held (Colorado)
Sports is not about participation, but about winning. If your son cannot compete he should drop out or YOU should coach him to work harder to become better. We cannot all be top performers, and that is the reality of life. There is always.....always....somebody bigger, stronger, faster....
Martin Brooks (NYC)
@Name With held : Not at the level of little kids, where it should indeed be about participation in order to get or keep them interested and refine their skills. Not letting kids play if they're not "winners" would be like throwing kids out of science class if they can't achieve an "A". The problem with much of kids' school or league sports today is that it becomes a way for parents, especially fathers, to fulfill their own fantasies about sports success instead of it just being fun for the kids, which is what it should be.
Susan (Boston)
@Name with held, children's sports are not about winning. You would clearly fit in amongst the other weird adults screaming at their small children from the sidelines. Quite a spectacle, they are.
Paul (Ocean, NJ)
The coach of this baseball team is the problem not the young lady. The coach (and it seems the case with so many) emphasize winning at all costs. The emphasis should be for the players to have fun playing the game with an objective of winning.
SP (ND)
@Paul and they should be letting all kids get decent playing time at that age.
Elizabeth (New York)
The mom with the son who isn’t getting much playing time shouldn’t ask that the other child be moved but rather point out to the coaches that in the 8-12 year old age bracket it’s not about ‘playing to win’ but rather playing to have fun, learn, and improve. All players should be getting their fair share of time on the field even if they’re not the best. If the coach is more concerned about winning then it’s time for a new coach. Maybe the mom could step up?
Joanna Stasia (NYC)
As a coach, even the basic rec leagues rarely require equal time for all players. It’s just impractical given the different positions. Minimum playing time is what is usually required. I coached in a league where soccer games had four quarters of ten minutes each. Every player was guaranteed playing in two full quarters. Some could play three or four. Who those were, who would play more, was at my discretion. It was a juggling act, trying to be competitive without overusing or underusing anybody, and when to field the less-impactful players in term of the overall momentum of the game was dicey. Why? Because certain parents were BRUTAL! Honestly, I was beyond stunned at their lack of perspective, appropriateness, compassion and manners. They verged on language that was threatening. In a close, exciting game, if I needed to send in two less-impactful players in the 4th quarter to achieve their minimum playing time, and we lost, these adults would scream at me that I was a pathetic coach, that those kids had “no business being on the field” and that their kid deserved more playing time. If I did the reverse, and played the less-impactful players early in the game, I was accused of “throwing the game away before we even had a chance.” The parent musing about bumping up a girl the same age as her son who was an incredible athlete and outshined him at their same position, suggesting she play with older kids instead, is the quiet version of this same unsportsmanlike mindset.
S (CA)
@Joanna Stasia As a coach myself, I cannot believe you allow the parents to speak to you that way. On the *rec* soccer team I coached (13 year old girls), I gave equal playing time in every single game, even for girls brand new to the sport. Granted, I was fortunate to have wonderful kids and parents and a winning team. The brand new kids quickly developed skills, and I think it was primarily the result of being welcomed and encouraged by more advanced teammates and being given positive encouragement by all: parents, peers, and coach.
Elizabeth (New York)
@Joanna Stasia I’m honestly really bothered that as a coach you’re more concerned about parents screaming at you over losses for a children’s team rather than making sure all the kids on your team get equal playing time. It’s just a game, please remember that.
Still Frank (Montreal)
Many years ago my daughter was at least a head taller and faster than the kids on her pee wee soccer team. She not only scored more goals but she also drew much derision from a few of the parents on her own team. It ruined her love for the sport. Today she is just a woman of average height who hates soccer. Let them all play equally and have fun!
Chris (I Missouri)
When I was coaching soccer, I had two rules that the players screamed to break up the pre-game huddle: "Play hard! Have fun!"
DW (Philly)
@Still Frank It's terrible to learn as a child that adults are awful.
Martin Brooks (NYC)
@DW : Terrible, but useful.
Me (Miami)
Sorry, you’re out of luck. This administration does not recognized gender or moral boundaries. There is no difference between and male and female….. Unless the female has a problem, then it’s everyone’s problem. Have fun!
vegie (dc)
since that team allows all genders to play together your comment is irrelevant and silly.
CC (USA)
@Me, what? This is a co-ed team based on age, not gender. Too bad the girl on the team is taller and better as long as everyone gets a chance to play. Rules aren’t being broken here. Your comment belongs in another forum, not this one.
DMV Heights (San Francisco)
Are there moral boundaries in casting judgment on others?
Holiday (New England)
Drummer Boy - Racket At All Hours: How can neighbors live with this? That's torture! For decency's sake, the parents should limit the son to any one hour time span before 9:00 pm. One hour of drumming or trumpet or other loud instrument is enough for an apartment complex. A professional musician would soundproof. This is not the case. The unfortunate subletters must talk to the owner who must contact the board. If there is no resolution, all they can do is move at the end of the lease and suffer until the lease is up.
Abas (USA)
LW3: Drums are great! However-they are LOUD and budding drummers need to learn early on how to co-exist with the rest of the world-ask any professional drummer. The co-op board needs to handle this one. Most buildings have some rules that will help you resolve this issue. Electronic drums are quieter but still will be audible if the kid plays while you’re trying to sleep, especially if they are played with enthusiasm and vigor.
TR (CA)
@Abas It might get worse. The band always practices at the drummer's house.
Abas (USA)
@TR If you don’t listen to any music with drums (including classical), then your comment makes sense.
shut-in (Boston)
I think the coach should try and give all players equal playing time. They are 9 years old. Youth sports coaches are way too invested in winning.
Kim (San Francisco)
All sports and activities for kids should be based on age, with girls and boys welcomed regardless of size, at least until turning 18.
Jason (Chicago)
There are 8 other positions on the baseball team. And then there’s the bench. Obsessing about one player is foolish. Within the next 9 years, every kid in this league will either be sitting on the bench, get cut, or quit baseball unless one gets a scholarship to play at some little college no one has ever heard of. Consider balancing your son’s activities with individual and lifetime sports … most of them are coed!
laura (NYC)
I played on nearly all boys teams most of my k-12 years. I was better than nearly every child on every team in every state and country I lived in, in every sport I played (soccer, swimming, baseball, basketball). So you are telling me, dear reader, that I should have been given the boot to accommodate your kid who was less athletically inclined than I was? This isn’t shocking to me, however, because I lived this. Multiple times. I was made to play 4 square while the boys got to play kickball (until I demanded in 3rd grade to be allowed to play kickball). Parents tried to get me kicked off of all-boys club soccer teams (since girls teams weren’t available in my towns) or complained to the directors quietly all while offering me rides home or oranges with a smile. This wasn’t the 70s either; I’m only 35 years old. It was and continues to be abhorrent the way girls (especially talented girls) are treated when their skill is a perceived threat to a boy. I mean TJ of NYs comment below is a prime example of this.
Elizabeth (New York)
@laura She’s not handling it well but in all fairness she’s not asking that the female player be ‘booted’, as you say, but rather switched to a team where the other players are of the same size and ability.
CC (USA)
@Elizabeth the teams are based on age, not size.
Molly (New York)
@CC Um, yes, I understand that. If you reread for understanding you’ll see that I stated ‘size and ability’, no mention of age.
FLL (Chicago)
Re the unpleasant/rude partner: "... it seems as if no one has called out the girlfriend on her bad behavior. Is there a reason for this?" YES. It's because most people do not want a confrontation so they allow themselves to get run over. The gf is either un-self aware or genuinely awful. Either way, she'll keep going without intervention. Ask yourself if you can live with more of same once the baby arrives.
BDF (Chicago)
She’ll keep going even with intervention. This advice was misplaced. Can anyone think of one time in their life when antisocial behavior like this was directly addressed and the person then changed? It’s who they are. You can’t change that.
pipo (toronto)
Why does LW1 even bring up the fact that the taller person is feminine? How does that have anything to do with anything?
Brandon Jiggs (Los Angeles)
Because without mentioning that the kid is a girl, it just sounds like “This kid who is bigger and more talented than my son is stealing his thunder, is it okay if I remove them?” The girl part is a distraction
Paulie (Jersey)
I've been reading Social P&Qs (and the ethicist) for a while and I believe this is the first letter from a Little League parent I've seen. Anyway as a feminist you should be thrilled. Your son is NOT learning male privilege. He is learning that a more-talented female should NOT be shunted aside (where she will find it harder to succeed) so that your not-as-talented son can find his "rightful" place. A much better lesson than how to turn the 3-6-3 double play. Having said that I realize that our own commitments to a just world crumble when our children are involved. It's happened to me, and I dare say it's happened to every, and I mean every, reader and commenter with children. And to the commenter who thinks "gurlz" shouldn't play little league because only boys can play in the majors: your boy ain't making the Show either.
J Lend (Charleston SC)
Many, many years ago I was a policeman. My partner, another policeman, responded to a burglary/rape that had just occurred and the victim thought that the perpetrator was still in the house. In those days, you didn’t wait for supervisors or swat apes, you went in. The victim didn’t ask us to check our male privilege at the door. We cleared the house but the perp was gone. The young woman clung to me like a sobbing child as I carried her in my arms to a waiting ambulance. Two days later we caught the perp walking away from another brutal assault. He had committed numerous similar offenses and knew that he was facing life in prison. He resisted arrest and we fought for our lives. But ultimately, and with great force of effort, we subdued him. I sometimes wonder, after reading comments like yours, were we right to do our duty? Or were we just giving in to our toxic masculinity? A question for the ages, I guess. On a separate note, Happy Father’s Day to all the guys who get up every day and give it another try. One more day to try and get it right.
Caly (Illinois)
@J Lend If you wonder whether you should have done your job because your tender feelings are hurt by a commenter, I am glad you are not on the streets. Did the sobbing woman genuflect properly to you later or was she just traumatized by rape by another man and missed that bit?
BDF (Chicago)
You are looking for reasons to be offended, a true sign of weakness. Nothing in your comment is remotely related. Enjoy feeling hurt—seems like it’s all you’ve got.
TR (CA)
My experience with youth sports has been that many coaches are ex-jocks that are more about winning than participating. That usually meant playing the biggest/fastest/best players all the time and inserting the smallest/slowest/worst players for the required minimum. The problem is bigger than this girl and your son.
Victoria Charlton (NJ)
Better players are supposed to play. That is not a problem. That is life. Enough of this nonsense with all the kids getting participation awards and all the kids getting to play. That is not the reality of the world. If a kid cannot handle being less that the top player, he needs a parent to teach him that this is a part of growing up. No boss is going to let a less that top performer play in the big leagues - whether it is a sport or a corporation. We are raising children to have expectations that will not pan out in the real world. Life isn’t fair. Kids need to get used to it.
JB (Washington)
@Victoria Charlton Yikes.
Martin Brooks (NYC)
@Victoria Charlton : The purpose of sports at a young age is not just to win and not just for the best players to play. It's to learn the sport and have fun. These are 9-year-olds. It's adults who impose "winning is everything" on them. By your logic, any kid who can't achieve an "A" should be dropped from science class. Any child who is not the best artist should be dropped from a painting class. I would argue that "winning is everything" is psychologically damaging to young people and results in young people who can't handle when they lose. I know because there's a child like that in my own family who will walk out angry and hide in their room if they lose even a board game. And there are plenty of "less than top performers" in the "big leagues" including many of the bosses themselves.
Susan (NH)
LW 1 - As a young boy. my son was slight and awkward at all those sports and a bit of a target for bullying. After his growth spurt, the game changed and he became a person to be reckoned with, but also with a strong sense of himself. Now he excels at outdoor pursuits - skiing, kayaking, biking. Best to let kids sort themselves out in games and competitive sports. It may be painful to watch for parents, but in the long run, hands-off is a healthier approach for the child. Celebrating the girl's skill is the best example.
tj (ny)
Despite all desperation and vain hope, girls will never make it to the major leagues. Boys could. They could start out slow, but, with good team mates can flourish. This girl is taking the place of a boy who might have been able to flourish. ALso, boys like proving themselves in physical activity (more that girls -- who do it too, but do not depend on sports to establish connections as much as boys do). This is how they establish friendships. I can see the point.
Deb (Aberdeen NC)
@tj Your theory would at least give the boy a good story to tell. "I woulda made it in the bigs, I tells ya! There was just this girl who was better than me when I was nine..."
Rosie T (Dedham, MA)
@tj Huh? Women can be professional athletes, too. And girls use sports just as much as boys to establish relationships. It’s difficult to believe that we’re still having this type of conversation in 2022. It’s also extremely disheartening.
tj (ny)
@Deb Why would he tell that story? Are you trying to femsplain?
Charles (Austin)
In 5th grade (1960ish) I remember one girl who was taller than the rest of the boys in class and she too was great at sports. By the time I was 12 the situation had reversed. This is normal! Perhaps it would be best to explain a bit about growth rates and maturing to your son. Also, find additional opportunities for sports or other activities with another group, yourself, your partner or a good friend. This is no reason to inhibit the girl by moving her off the team. Let her shine!
LS (CA)
My alarm went off when the first reader wrote that she was a feminist. Really?
alyosha (wv)
I also doubt that the First item is authentic. Even if it is, it would be a very rare conundrum, and call for ad hoc settlement when such a thing arises, if it ever does. However, the idea of separating larger people from smaller is a good one. Boxing of course does this: 120 pounders have their own division and don't have to fight heavyweights. Football and basketball would become accessible to much more of the student body than 250 lb tackles and 6' 4" forwards.
Walker (Santa Barbara)
I think #1 is a created letter that is meant to add to the controversy surrounding trans women playing in women's sports. What better point to make than girls outshining boys and mothers being outraged? In reality, this does not happen.
littlehawk (New York, NY)
That little baseball player is doomed to being a lifelong disappointment to his mother.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
The idea of charging for a letter of recommendation startled me. I would never do that. The writer should state the fee as soon as asked to write, so the requestor can change his or her mind immediately. Not telling until later reminds me of bait-and-switch, though I'm sure that isn't the intent.
K (Illinois)
I think it is the recommended service—not the recommendation itself—that costs money.
Michael Rowley (San Diego)
LW1 - Encourage your son to take up co-ed wrestling.
B (Westborough, MA)
My brother's best friend was rudely insulting to me at a party at my brother's house. I walked away and didn't confront him, first, because I was so shell-shocked at the insult and, second, I didn't want to antagonize my dear brother's friend at my brother's home. The next day I called my brother to ask him to defend me to his friend and he declined. He insisted that the insult was to me, not to him, and that he trusted I was competent to defend myself without his help. I hung up the phone deeply sad that my brother would not have my back. Then I realized my brother was treating me with respect as a self-sufficient adult capable of dealing with my own issues. I should have spoken up at the time of the insult. I did not. I was wrong and my brother taught me, kindly, that I can and should stand up for myself at the time of the offense no matter who, where, or when committed the offense.
JND (Abilene, Texas)
LW1. You sure you're a feminist?
Lefthalfbach (Philadelphia)
LW1's son is 8 or 9. In 2 or 3 years he will hit puberty and grow 6 inches and put on 20 lbs of muscle. The young lady currently starting ahead off him will no longer be competitive with him at that point. She will switch to softball and all will be well with the world-except for whichever then12 year old girl she might beat out at that point. Anyway, there is a really simple fix for this, Keep the roster short - say limit them to 12- and let everybody be in the batting order. Then you can rotate kids in the field. Everybody gets to bat 3 or 4 times. Everybody plays the field a minimum of two innings and it's all good.
Victoria Charlton (NJ)
That is not all good. This is permitting children to learn that life is fair when it absolutely is not. We are raising a generation of children who will enter adulthood thinking their shortcomings will not limit their success. We are setting them up for a life of disappointment and failure because they won’t have learned what those things are as children.
Ollie (NJ)
Given your logic, in 2-3 years, this girl should still be given equal playing time on the baseball field, not moved off to softball…
JB (Washington)
@Victoria Charlton By all means let’s make childhood as brutal as adult life.
MainLaw (Maine)
Many coop buildings, and condos and rentals, have restrictions on the hours during which musical instruments may be played, as well as general restrictions on noise making activities. Ask management and ask to have the rules enforced. It shouldn’t be your responsibility to do so.
RE (NYC)
If the girl on the baseball team is the same age as the boys, why would she move to the older division? The divisions are not based on size.
LLTK (the West)
Boundary Setting Calling in rather than calling out....see Loretta Ross TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw_720iQDss
MattB (SFBA)
It is the greatest irony that a woman can be a feminist and against male entitlement, then turn around and raise an entitled little prince.
Immigrant Mom (USA)
@MattB I hear you. I have met many such self declared feminist moms unfortunately. I think at the heart of the seeming contradiction is that they are self-hating women, who resent male privilege, but would love to gain such privilege for their own needs if they could. So they rightfully call out male privilege when it impacts them negatively, but lean into male entitlement when they live it vicariously through males in their personal lives. Just ask all the women who voted Trump. I feel so sorry for the poor son, who is getting such a negative message (you cannot lose to a girl!) in his tender impressionable age.
SteveRR (CA)
@MattB Nothing compared to the irony of imposing wants and desires against a young male who expressed neither of the two. Entitlement requires an expression of entitlement - the article suggests nothing of the sort for the you baseball player. Kinda amusing how we can read the same article and take away two such different perspectives - right?
N (Great lakes)
@Immigrant mom excellent insight. yes, I have met many such "feminists" too.
CMJ (Ohio)
Here's a sports team story for you. My nephew played hockey in high school. First on the JV team and when he was too old for JV he moved to the varsity team. He NEVER got on the ice the entire four years. I could argue that there were times the coach could have put him on the ice but didn't but that's not the point of the story. They point is that my nephew was a team player. He enjoyed practices and made a lot of great friends. In this day and age I have to admire my brother and his wife for never stepping in to complain and never making my nephew feel like he was less because he didn't play. They attended every game they could.
Barbara (Cleveland)
Kudos to your ability to hold that line. I had to grit my teeth when a jr high basketball coach said, post-season, that he wished he had given certain players more [any! for the game I took time from work to attend, anyway] to certain players. I know that experience was tough for my son, but I also know it helped him gain an understanding of organizational dynamics in significant ways. If they knew than what he would, and has, become now…. well, haha.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@CMJ If he practiced, he got on the ice. Try to be clearer. That said, your family sounds great.
Rosie Brooks (Brisbane)
That’s appalling, is there no concept of equal time on field for junior sport in the US? I’d be pretty unhappy if I’d paid the same as the kid who got to play.
JP (Colorado)
Girl crushing Little League. Love it. Same happens in swimming. Girls physically mature faster than boys. The 9-12 girls are usually faster than the boys, but it flips shortly after. My sons loved competing against the girls - or anyone faster than they were. But, hey, as the team guidelines distributed to parents about behavior at meets says "Remember, this isn't Little League". No one is tackling a stroke judge at a meet and sending them the hospital.
S Lawrence (Nirvana)
The real issue here is participation - not competition with the objective of "winning" - for whatever the value of this is for 9 y o kids. (Besides, it is mainly for the benefit of "certain" parents!) Sports activities both in school and extracurricular should be to help every child have an opportunity for participation and exercise along with skills development. Otherwise, they will mainly be for those kids whose parents got them (often through paying) the skills development when they were very young. IMO, most school phys ed classes are run on the same lines. Those kids who need the activity time the most, get the least. And in the process, they get bullied by the favored athletic kids.
Kate (Philadelphia)
@S Lawrence No evidence the son is being bullied. If field time was important to the mom, she could find a different league, which espouses the values you hold.
S Lawrence (Nirvana)
@Kate I didn't say he was being bullied. But I have to ask - What are the "values" that you hold? Winning is everything? Ban all potential losers? Thugs should dominate in phys ed because, being stupid, this is the only place that they excel?
Lefthalfbach (Philadelphia)
@S Lawrence It sounds like it is a Travel Team. In Rec/Intramural Baseball, all the players who show up get put into the batting order and players rotate in the field. Travel sports for little kids are absurd, but, hey this is America where the absurd is the norm.
Ampleforth (Airstrip One)
Let all sports from baseball to tennis to boxing be played in open, non-sex specific ways, and see how many girls are still playing baseball at age 16. There will be a few great ones, but vast majority will not be good enough to compete. Beware what you wish for.
SR (MA)
@Ampleforth So we should not let girls play because they probably won't be good enough to play at 16? Should we apply that to all the 16 year old boys who won't be good enough to play at the college and pro levels? Beware what you wish for.
Ampleforth (Airstrip One)
@SR no obviously. There should be vibrant girls' leagues with equal funding and parental support.
Amy (GA)
Co-Ed softball teams for adults are pretty common. And the rec league my kids played soccer on was co-Ed, which worked well until they decided to have an all-girls team. There were always too many girls to be on the all-girls team which meant the other teams usually had 1-2 girls on them. It definitely felt like a popularity contest as the all-girls team coaches got to pick which girls were on their teams.
Donna (New Jersey)
This mom sounds like she wants to raise a little Donald Trump, making sure the world creates a reality that makes her son "the best." Good luck with that. p.s. you're not a feminist.
m (ny)
@Donna The division is for 8-12- year old's so I am assuming the young girl is nine or ten. She has not taken into account that girls mature first before boys. That is when girls start their growth spurt around nine years old. There are many young girls that experience puberty earlier than ever. Some are getting periods at age nine or eight. One father and mother noticed their daughter actually had breast development (not just breast buds) at age 8. They don't realize many girls (not especially for boys even though BPA could bring down sperm count) are going through puberty earlier and earlier due to people dumping drugs into the waterways. When the opioid crisis started, people were told to turn in any pain killers. People are still dumping other drugs in the waterways worse than opioids. Estrogen, testosterone, anti-psychotic drugs, anti-depressants, and other drugs such as leftover BP meds, and statins. We do not know the effect of these drugs on our kids. Micro-beads often sold for facial scrubs are put into the water. Sen. Gillibrand tried to get it banned in NYS, but I am not sure if that happened. Micro-beads stay in the water indefinitely. Just as micro-plastics stay permanently in our water. Also, this girl is not transgender. Everyone is worried about girls' sports being affected, they were never worried about girls' sports before. This mom is not a feminist.
Dr B (San Diego)
The over-representation of oppressed minorities in this and other social columns in the NYT and MSM shows the media are more interested in pushing an agenda than providing useful advice.
AlO (New York)
@Dr B perhaps you could write in and see if they’ve any advice on how whiny folks from the majority can cope with diverse modern life.
me (denver, co)
@Dr B the overrepresentation of oppressed people is an ironic oxymoron. And if you can't find value in advice on interpersonal situations that affect many, perhaps that myopia is the biggest problem.
Dr B (San Diego)
@AlO The majority love diversity, we just wish diversity did not exclude white or Asian heterosexuals in the lovelorn columns.
Robert Roth (NYC)
I remember a friend, a long jumper who as a freshman in college, in a non sanctioned meet leapt past the too short sandpit and landed on the ground, breaking her ankle. The meet officials didn’t think a woman could jump that far. She recovered but never competed again.
Dr B (San Diego)
@Robert Roth What is your point here?
Lefthalfbach (Philadelphia)
@Dr B Self-evidently the point is that the athletic capabilities of women athletes are frequently underestimated.
Walker (Santa Barbara)
@Lefthalfbach In other words, women shouldn't worry about competition from men who claim to be women, right?
David Shaw (New Jersey)
May I suggest that LW1 have her son beat up the girl who is besting him? LW2, again, a good punch will silence that nasty mother in law. LW4, get yourself a violin and join in! LW3, tell them all McDonalds. Why do these all sound foolish, trivial, easily solved and even made up? I recall a time when these questions had content and put Phillip to the test!
DickeyFuller (Boston)
@David Shaw Plus, since when does every single response have to end with an exclamation point? If the respondent was a millenial at a tech firm I worked at, I would expect every answer to end with at least one exclamation point! But he is not and it's setting a poor example for others. Lose the exclamation points please. It does not make you look any smarter or hipper.
Prettytoes (NorCal)
@David Shaw The answer to LW3 is mindbogglingly obvious. I'm stunned that anyone would ask such a thing (yes, there actually ARE stupid questions) or that it would be included in this column.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Prettytoes If it's so obvious, how can I not know what you think it is? And as it's not obvious to some people (proof: the letter), maybe it does good to put it in print.
chtighe (Altanta, GA)
From a Music Professor: Ask the son to restrict his drumming on acoustic instruments to specific hours and get an electronic drum set with headphones - he can practice to his heart's content. Win-Win. You may even contribute to the electronic set - $100 would go a long way.
Ed (Reality)
LW1 - What about the boys who are better than your son, should they be shipped out as well, or are you not really a feminist? Is there a Dad in the picture? - if not consult a male friend (athletic) who might give your son the perspective & encouragement that seems to elude you. LW2 - You need to deal with this on a specific behavior basis so that all parties can come to agreement on what will not be tolerated. And point it out when it happens, your mother-in-law's girlfriend's behavior needs to be held up to a mirror for her to see how distasteful & unacceptable it is.
Paul (Brooklyn)
Bottom line imo if a girl qualifies for a boy's team, ie meets the age, or class or any other legit requirement she should be allowed to play. What not to do? Identity obsess ie on the right, girls should never play on a boy's team or the left girls should be coddled, privileged and given every unfair advantage to join a boy's team. It's not rocket science.
Anonymous (USA)
The story of the boy being bested by the girl describes both the history of being female as well as the stubbornness of male privilege, taught early by, in this case, another female. Competition is great until you are on the losing end and then you find any reason to get rid of the competition, whether it be race, gender, or green eyes. Look no further if you want to know why more women aren’t in the board room.
Lily W (Brooklyn)
This woman claims they thought they were subletting in a "nice' building." To her, this means, apparently, no musical instruments played at home. This attitude is indicative of the "nice-ification" of NYC. It is killing the very creative energy that made it a desirable place to live in the first place. What's next? Babies crying at all hours? As a professional musician, and a New Yorker, I am saddened by the suggestion that the sensitive subletter should go to the managing agent of the coop in order to deal with the neighbor who plays drums. When I was learning my craft, I never took glee in disturbing people in my building. But, I worked it out with my non-musician neighbors in order to determine a schedule. She needs to try to do this as well, rather than doing some bougie "end-run" around the family. By the way, This electronic version that the author so blithely suggest as an alternative, is not a real alternative to someone who is learning the drums.
Ralph (Queens)
@Lily W There's a teenager, living across and down the street from our apartment, who practices the drums sporadically, for about an hour at a time. Sometimes every few days, sometimes once a month. It took a little getting used to. I feel bad for his immediate neighbors. What's remarkable is that over the last year of practice, he hasn't noticeably improved.
ray (wi)
@Ralph Not surprising, since he'd have to practice for hours every day to get better. You should be thankful for that.
MattB (SFBA)
Please. An hour a day would show marked improvement in any activity. Add in some instruction, even better.
Fred L. (Nevada)
Who isn't sick of this by now? (I'm sure . . . sigh . . . a lot of people aren't.) Boys, girls, transgender boys, transgender girls, non-designated 'pregnant people,' unisex bathrooms, etc., ad nauseam. Maybe it's time to ditch the words and concepts of male and female, use the old hippie-feminist "e" (as in "E and e's sibling love to play baseball"), and kill the idea of gender differentiation altogether. That way, a mom wouldn't come to irrationally think that a big girl shouldn't compete with her son, while a bigger boy competing with him would just be the breaks.
DickeyFuller (Boston)
@Fred L. No. Let's not ditch the words or the concepts.
Warbler (Ohio)
@Fred L. We could also solve the problems of global warming by just not talking about it, too! Or use Trump's strategy of not testing to eliminate covid! Male and female are real, material, realities. For teenagers and adults, male puberty provides substantial, advantages re sports. That's the reason for segregating teams for teens and adults. Girls tend to mature a bit earlier (go into any middle school and you'll see that the girls are, on average, taller than teh boys) so may actually have some advantages in the 8-12 year old age range. So maybe the right solution here is also to not allow mixed sports at that age. I don't know. But it's no solution to the material facts of sexual dimorphism to simply pretend that they don't exist. I agree the mom's response seems a bit sexist. (Oh no he's being bested by a girl, can't have that.)
m (ny)
@Fred L. Sorry your theory holds no water. This young girl is NOT transgendered. I don't know how old this girl is, but girls start growth spurts way before boys. They start puberty earlier. Also, before transgendered athletes came into the picture, when was the sports world ever worried about giving women enough money to compete in sports. NEVER. Then when transgendered came into light, now they are worried about them having a leg up. Lea Thompson who is a transgender swimmer, her swim times have gotten slower, due to her intake of estrogen. She has lost a great deal of muscle mass, and has more fat deposits, which happens when trans women take estrogen. Young girls grow taller first, their hips widen. So, maybe you should reread the article since this was not a transgender issue. It is an issue of this woman not wanting a girl who can beat her son. Full stop.
conny (cocoa fl)
we put both our kids when they were very young in recreation soccer leagues because we thought it would help with socialization, give them an interest in team sports, get some fresh air and exercise. our daughter hated it and she was done (even more so when Dad coached ) in a couple years. Our son didn't love the game, wasn't the best by a mile but he played. soon he was being benched more than half the game. this did not sit well with us as it is a RECREATIONAL team. if you want to be Gung Ho about winning, then get on a COMP team. Why can't little kids just get out there have some fun, learn some skills and make friends? if a child shows serious ability and loves the game then go ahead and work to make them shine. but a coach on a recreational team should play everyone with equal time. sheesh.
AlO (New York)
@conny agreed. Kids’ sport is made much too serious, much too soon. Social play teaches children (and their parents!) to deal with playing in the spots that are your least favorite as well as most favorite, to accommodate other players who are less skilled or less strong, and to handle winning and losing with equal grace.
Victoria Charlton (NJ)
The word “learn” here is the important one. Kids not only play to learn a sport and to socialize, but to learn some facts about life. Life is filled with people who do things better than you do. Best kids learn this early. Enough of the participation trophies. Life starts early and kids need to know that early.
JB (Washington)
@Victoria Charlton Sheesh, give it a rest. You’ve made this same comment at least 4 times, that adult life is tough and brutal, so best that kids learn this early!
Dolly Patterson (Silicon Valley)
NO you can't try to kick off a player who is better than your son just so he can play more!!! It doesn't matter if the better player is male or female, black or white, etc. You are being sexist and cheating! If you care about your son you will teach him how to lose, how to try his best, how to NOT Cheat, how to be a good sport, how to be a good team mate. At least you were honest about asking for help.
Robert Roth (NYC)
@Dolly Patterson If she teaches him all those things he will never be president.
CS (Like, Whatever)
@ Robert Roth But I would vote for him
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
During the growing years 8-12, girls grow faster than boys and so often are bigger. But by 15 the boys have caught up and are growing taller than the girls who have mostly slowed in the third growing taller. That pre-teen time is likely the only time where boys and girls are close enough to compete fairly.
Linda Bell (PA)
Our daughter played softball and soccer; and, one thing I learned is that parents are too heavily vested in their children’s sports success. They should be as vested in their academic success. That said, I think the mom’s reaction is because her son is bested by a girl. Chill our Mom. Five years from now this will not matter at all.
Nycbd (NY)
You couldn't find any better questions? The question about the baseball and the one about offering recommendations were pointless. The answers to these questions were 100% obvious and anyone who can't figure them out deserves what is coming to them. The one about the drums was not much better. Talk to the owner of the sublet and ask them to talk to the building management. There should be some guidelines. Really simple.
kkseattle (Seattle)
LW1: If the league is 8/9/10/11/12 year olds, then it’s likely that most of the kids will be bigger and stronger than your 9 year old, regardless of sex.
Sgt Schulz (Oz)
LW1 "which means he doesn’t get to play a lot." and that's the whole problem with these team sports. What's the point of signing up if you don't get to play?
Kate (Hartford)
We’re talking about primary school level recreational sport. The point is having fun, getting exercise, making friends, learning to persevere when in challenging/disappointing situations.
Ellen Massey (NYC)
Maybe tall basketball players should be excluded because they disadvantage shorter players. Really mon, get a grip on your prejudices. 
Jack Spies (Dublin, Ohio)
@Ellen Massey What is the purpose of sports in elementary school? Is it to teach that only the best get to play? Is it to teach how to succeed in a competitive environment? Is it to reward parents for bringing up winners? Or is it to teach cooperation and teamwork? Is there something wrong with the way we evaluate participation in sports in elementary school?
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Jack Spies You're agreeing with Ellen Massey.
NorthWitch13 (Vermont)
When my son played ball, there was a girl in the league, also in her last year of play and bigger than many of the boys. "Kiki" was a wonder in any position on the field, but at the mound nobody could compare. She was both feared and admired by the younger players and they learned a lot watching her. Men in their late 30s still speak of her with respect and awe. She earned her place in the starting lineup.
Cassandra (NYS)
For LW1: Mom, are you sure that it's not just that you object to a female outdoing your male offspring? As others have noted, would you have the same reaction if the other player was male? Examine your own prejudices, Mom: is it perhaps, that you think girls should not excel in historically male sports, or you think less of your son inasmuch as he is (as the taunt of my youth-50 years ago-would have it) "being beaten by a girl."
Mark (New York, NY)
@Cassandra: If LW1 is aggrieved by her son's being outdone by a girl, that is an emotional reaction, not a prejudice.
Lisa Watters (Brisbane)
@Mark No, it's a prejudice. LW1 is only aggrieved BECAUSE the teammate is a girl. If they were a boy she wouldn't be having the same emotional reaction. the reaction comes from the prejudice.
Mark (New York, NY)
@Lisa Watters: "pre-" "judgment." Merriam-Webster: "preconceived judgment or opinion; an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge; an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics." Being aggrieved because her son got beat by a girl does not imply any judgment *about* the girl. It does not itself imply any hostility toward the girl, which LW1 may or may not feel. Having a different response to X than you do to Y is not the same thing as a prejudice. Prejudice means that you think *less of* one thing rather than another, and moreover before you have enough information to know whether you ought to think less of it. It implies a certain cognitive state, a judgment, an evaluation. You say that LW1's emotional reaction "comes from the prejudice." But this suggests that this is an inference that she somehow makes from a negative evaluation of girls. But, plausibly, that's not where it comes from. It comes from the societal ridicule of boys losing to girls. The word "prejudice" does not mean the same as "disposition to treat unfairly."
Judith (Reality)
LW1: I find the boy's mother disingenuous and hypocritical. Perhaps this girl has a physical advantage this year; allow her to use it - boys are encouraged and allowed to do that all the time. Don't try to put her in a position where she will fail: let her celebrate and enjoy her physicality and coordination. LW2: I am worried about abusive behavior directed at MIL. Girlfriend sounds like bad news. LW3: Tell to look at the menu online. Prices are posted.
Dave DiRoma (Baldwinsville)
As a former Little Leager and the father of two former Little Leaguers it is my experience that LW1’s complaint is “same old, same old”. If you look at any group of kids between the ages of 8 and 12, there are always a couple of kids who are bigger, faster or stronger than the majority of their peers. Typically, these kids are usually the pitchers, sluggers and all around best players for a few years. But kids develop differently and it’s usually the case (as it was for me) that early age dominance doesn’t last long. So long as your child gets a chance to play and is having fun, let it go. Chances are that in 10 years no one will even remember this.
Gabel (NY)
How about instructing your son to train and try harder.
Cat (TN)
The age divisions in your son's league may be arbitrary, but they are not unfair, unless they are applied unfairly - in other words, not equally to all. The league has decided that a level playing field is age-based. That means age-based for everyone, girls as well as boys. For you, a self-proclaimed feminist, to ask that this girl be singled out for promotion to the older group to make way for your son is not a good look. Would you be asking the same question if the excellent athlete in question was a boy of the same age? A good coach will give all players a chance to participate and hone their skills, but to expect that everyone will get equal time on the field in unrealistic. In sports, as in most of life, performance has its rewards. Your attitude can have a big impact on your son's feelings about the situation, and right now, it sounds like you should be stressing the importance of playing simply for love of the game.
LL (USA)
Whether your son's takeaway from the season is a respect for female athletes, or a resentment of them, could turn on an offhanded comment by mom. Teams are transient and last for a season; childhood prejudices take more to undo. Also, kudos to that girl! My daughter was the only girl on her Little League team for three seasons in a row. She switched to softball after enduring the nasty, jealous boys who batted after her in the lineup. I wonder how much of that ego-driven animosity was influenced by their parents? Also, generally speaking, in a few years, that 9 year old will be both bigger and stronger than the girl, who will, in all likelihood, never earn a spot on her high school baseball team due to that disparity. Co-ed sports work for young children because, on average, they are all fairly equal in strength, size, and ability *before* puberty. Finally, playing with athletes who are better than you and competing for a position makes you a better player. Instead of complaining about a bigger kid, he should work harder. P.S. A nine-year-old shouldn't have "a" position. A good coach or parent will make players learn multiple positions. My 2 boys play baseball (high school and travel) and my daughter plays travel softball. A player's position at 9 years old is not only completely meaningless, but only playing one position hinders player development. Real talk: no high school coach of a strong baseball program wants a one-trick pony unless that pony is throwing low 90s.
kkseattle (Seattle)
@LL Excellent advice. My girl also played (well) on a boys little league team and wound up switching to softball because the boys were jerks. The managers and umpires and parents were great, but there is just so much toxic culture out there.
Boonies (TenAker)
It’s not necessarily a gender issue, though most will make it that way. It’s not uncommon to advance a player who is bigger, faster or more developed than others. I saw this in the 9 years my kids played baseball. And some kids who were a bit older but not as developed were (per their choice) allowed to stay back so they weren’t among so many who were more advanced.
GWE (Ny)
@Boonies She made it into a gender issue by noting the gender of the player, commenting on the traditional exclusion of said player and suggesting said player he forcibly removed on the basis of her gender. Read that again: on the basis of her gender. Because she is bigger than her son but on the basis of her gender…. The implication was because girls are in the minority and were not historically included then it would be appropriate to clear her boys hurdle by the forceful removal of the player to another tram because as a girl she had less of a right to be there. Otherwise why mention her gender? Why note the history of girls on the team? How is the gender of the player germain in the telling of the issue except as a pretext for her removal?
Jennifer (California)
I was that girl, only the sport was basketball. I was significantly taller than the boys at that age, and played center. The boys didn't want to play with me, as they hated being outshone by a girl who was bigger, faster, and a more accurate shooter. The coach was a parent who didn't want the bother of trying to teach them about gender equality, and let it happen. He moved me to forward - as his son wanted to play center - and stuck me on the bench for most of the season. This was justified in his mind because the boys on my team wouldn't pass to me. I never felt the same way about basketball again after that. Honestly, I'm just glad this girl is getting her chance to shine instead of being stapled to a bench because of complaining parents. Maybe there is some progress in the world, however small.
GWE (Ny)
@Jennifer I’m so sorry. I think so many of us girls have stories like that….in our sports careers but also in classrooms and offices and boardrooms. Just so over it.
Dotherightthing (San Francisco)
@GWE Yeah, thanks for saying that. For me it was math - (and occasionally still is...)
ray (wi)
@Dotherightthing Women are generally superior in mathematics.
Pete (U.S.)
From Mom's letter: She also happens to play the same position as my son — which means he doesn’t get to play a lot. As a feminist, I have no issue with this girl playing. Those two seem contradictory. She has no problem with the girl playing yet seems to have a problem with the girl playing more than her son.
JeffW (North Carolina)
Letter 1: The boy could ask the girl if she will practice with him to help him become a better player. They are teammates, after all. The worst thing for a team is teammates that see one another as the competition.
Dennis Sopczynski, San Mateo, California (San Mateo, CA)
Dear Mom, This entire letter you wrote is all about you and has nothing to do with your son. Get over it. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the “some” people who objected to the situation you described numbered only one individual. Guess who that might be. Get over yourself. You are not a perfect mom. You did not raise a perfect child. This is an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect human beings. And you and you child are two of those imperfect individuals. And so am I. If you think you are sending an important message to your son with you petty grievance. I have another strategy for you. How about one day you and your son approach the young lady and congratulate her on her accomplishments on the playing field. Let him be witness to and part of that conversation. I’ll say it again, mom get over yourself. Move on.
Heather (Sylva, NC)
I was 5' 9" at 13 years old. Throughout grade school I was the tallest and the fasted person, male or female in my elementary school classes. I was best at long jump. But when I got hips, at 13, that all changed. There's a reason the best women runners have "boys" hips. I was always terrible at any sports that required eye hand coordination, or strength as I was myopic and skinny as a rail. My point is, that the same tall girl has just as much chance of being poorly coordinated, and not developing until age 13 as I did. Making teams based on size makes no sense. My husband's nick name was Pee Wee in high school. He was 5'6 " when fully grown and skinny as a rail in high school. Yet he was on the football team throughout high school because he was so fast!
SarahK (New Jersey)
At such a young age (8-12), the league/coaches/etc. should be ensuring equal play time for the kids. If the league is just letting the best kids play, the parent should speak up. I get that everything is super-competitive very early nowadays (with the screaming parents on the sidelines), but might be nice to give all the kids an opportunity to play.
Ann (CT)
@SarahK yes! That’s the real issue to me. 8 - 12 years old should all have equal opportunities to play. Some kids who may develop athletically later will just give up sports if they have to sit on the bench.
P McGrath (USA)
Let's just eliminate all genders and weight classes in sports so we don't offend anyone and have heavyweights boxing lightweights or men competing against women. As long as no one is offended.
BD (SD)
Trans women playing woman's sports, e.g. swimming... men and women's sports have been separated since inception in ancient Greece, i.e. the Olympics. Such separation has prevailed throughout history until the controversies of the current age. Obvious questions: why the separation? Is such valid today? If separation continues to be appropriate and valid, should men,who identify as women (trans women), be permitted to participate in women's sports?
DickeyFuller (Boston)
@BD No. Trans M>W are men, despite their claims. It is completely unfair that they are allowed to compete with women.
Chris (I Missouri)
No, they are not men. But their bodies have developed with years of male hormones, which allows them to compete athletically on a different plane.
BD (SD)
Trans women playing woman's sports, e.g. swimming... men and women's sports have been separated since inception in ancient Greece, i.e. the Olympics. Such separation has prevailed throughout history until the controversies of the current age. Obvious questions: why the separation? Is such valid today? If separation continues to be appropriate and valid, should men,who identify as women (trans women), be permitted to participate in women's sports?
tcsewhat (Angola NY)
It will only get worse as children get older. My husband was a high school coach for many years. We saw many parents yelling from the stands "Bench him. He's already got his full ride to college. Let someone else play." We all need to learn not to live through our children.
philly (Philadelphia)
If you're all for trans boys playing on girls' teams you have no right to say anything about a tall girl playing on your son's team.
M.R. Sullivan (Boston)
DO NOT BE THAT MOM. The girl teammate does not get more play time because she is taller than your son and most other boys her age. She gets more play time because she is a better player. In may be innate, or it may be she practices more, an option open to your son. I came of age just before girls could play organized baseball, a game I loved to play with my brothers. Never got to be on a real team. Now I watch my nieces play, and lose, every game but one this season. While they are sorry to lose, I still think it is a good thing to gain skills, learn plays, take turns, root for each other, and have the experience of being part of a the whole, especially in a society that values individuals. Hope your son can have the same experience. Go Magic Cats!
GWE (Ny)
I’m aghast at mom. So it’s a mixed gender team and one of the children happens to be female but also, a threat to her child’s position. Tell me again why the gender of this child the mother has deemed a competitive threat is even relevant? Tell me again why her gender should be the basis for her removal from a team where she’s excelling and ostensibly fitting in? Is the moms position that girls, on account of being a minority, somehow warrant less of a right to be there? I’m so sick of stuff like this…. Making girls accommodate the inferior feelings of boys. Mom says she’s a feminist? She forgot to include the word anti.
Reina Beatriz (CT)
@GWE Like a lot of otheres, I am sick of the misandry on the NYT. Women are perfect ............until they're not. Tell me again how this situation is the fault of the patriarchy?
GWE (Ny)
@Reina Beatriz Where do I say women are perfect? For one that, mom is decidedly not perfect. For another, the young lady is excelling at a sport and that’s getting I the way of her sons success. If you can’t see the harm there, not sure we can find common ground.
SM (Toronto)
Because the more talented girl is supposed to get out of the way for the snowflake boy
Beth (Toronto)
I thought the argument was "men are better at sports, that is why male athletes get more support in school, better salaries and more glory"?
Laura Campbell (Portland, OR)
One of the primary benefits of youth sports is learning how to play nice, be fair, expect loss, and learn how to deal with everything in between. Occasionally a child excels in whatever sport they play and then they move ahead into that arena. Life can be unfair and it often is! Help this young lad rise to the occasion while he's benched.
George A. Blair (Buffalo, NY)
Get over it. Your son is not the best at this moment in time. It could be because a girl is better. It may because a boy is better He may be the best later, say after puberty. He may never be the best. He just may be good or he may just be average. Do you expect a D1 scholarship? A pro contract? Or do you expect him to enjoy playing? Is this about you or about him?
MHW (Raleigh, NC)
Your advice about the girl on the baseball team is unsophisticated. Girls hit puberty sooner and grow bigger and stronger than boys for a short time. It seems to me that this should be taken into account in the interest of fairness.
Beth (Toronto)
@MHW Why? My brother was on the small side until he was 15/16 and he often 'played up' into the next division. How does 'being tall' give you better hand eye coordination, better reflexes, better aim? Wouldn't it be better to narrow the age range? Also he is NINE and he is playing a GAME.
Nik (sf)
Girls, until puberty, develop faster than boys. Now, the boys and their mommies have a problem with that biology. Is there any world where boys get their feelings hurt and don't take it out on girls? Teach boys and girls respect and see what happens.
Pdianek (Virginia)
@Nik "Is there any world where boys get their feelings hurt and don't take it out on girls?" I look forward to increased interstellar travel, when we might be able to answer this question with a "yes".
Charles Osgood (Washington dc)
@Nik About age 10-11 my mother told me never hit a girl - with no discussion about why. Since as noted in these remarks there is not any particular difference in size, I was really confused. No girls ever attacked me on the playground, so it happened that I had no problem with this confusing order. Discussing "why" is important in instructing children, even if it is never asked for.
Reina Beatriz (CT)
@Nik Given that the letter writer doesn't mention, at all, that her son's feelings are hurt, you are imposing your belief. The world that you wish for actually does exist. LIterallly nowhere in the letter does it state that the son is taking it out on the girl.
Justin (Chicago)
Recommendation: If they react to the price, just say "Yeah, that place is a special occasion kind of place. What budget were you shooting for?" Of course, asking more about budget or occasion first is always helpful too.
Kohl (Ohio)
LW3: If people ask for recommendations you never recommend pricey options first. The way to recommend pricier/higher end restaurants or whatever it may be is to recommend more reasonable options first and follow with "and if you want to get fancy/splurge _____ is fantastic.
Beth (Ohio)
I remember when some neighbors moved in next door in our apartment. There was a girl my younger son’s age …8 or 9. They were out playing and started to race against each other . She beat him every time . He came home breathless and excited about how fast she was -no complaint of her winning . He was impressed . And I was impressed by his focus .
cds333 (Washington, D.C.)
Re LW3: I think that trying to talk to another adult in the other unit is not a good idea. I agree with the advice to go straight to the board. But before doing that, I would take a look at the by-laws for the building. (It is virtually a certainty that they have them) I suspect that there is some time limitation on loud activity. The LW should find the rule that forbids what the little drummer boy is doing and then present that info to the board member that they speak to. That will allow them to say, for example, The people in 4C are violating rule 2b, which says that no musical instruments shall be played after 9 p.m. I would appreciate it if the board could prevail on them to comply with the rules.
Citizen (Bklyn)
@cds333 They should also check the regulations on subletting! They too might be in the wrong.
Djd1950 (Sf bay Area)
Re: letter writer 3. Does a subletter have standing to approach the board? Or is it only the primary lessee or the owner who can do that? In my condo complex, the business relationship is between the owner and the HOA.
Pottree (Joshua Tree)
The case of the obnoxious girlfriend: she is described as being unpleasant and made a joke at the wife’s expense. Nasty! But pause to consider: often the tenor of social relations is a localized matter. You don’t mention if all the people in your family circle are from the same place. For example, comments and behavior that are totally unremarkable in New York are considered the height of rudeness (or worse!) in the South, while off handed casual remarks unworthy of notice in the South could seem the height of racist or antiSemitic cluelessness in our more sophisticated cities.
Georgia Native (Atlanta, GA)
@Pottree I'm with you on the relative sensitivity to "rude" remarks between NY and the South as relative cultural norms. I'm curious though, do you have personal experience that informs your blanket assumption of racist or anti-Semitic comments flying under the radar in the South? While those who make them are of course present here, to say it's commonplace in our culture seems to me to show more bias on your part than ours. Might I suggest dirtying your shoes and leaving your "more sophisticated cities" for a bit to experience the cultures you're so quick to judge.
Babs (Texas)
@Georgia Native Here's an example for you: My southern, thirty-something co-worker called our Black boss "spear chucker" to his face, she claimed to have no idea it was considered a racial slur.
Cassandra (NYS)
@Babs She "claimed" to have no idea that it was racist??!! She knew; she just tried to hide her racism behind "gee, I didn't know" defense. This is 2022, not 1922.
SED (NYC)
Agree that if you don't address bad behavior directly and politely--"I don't care for the way you are speaking to me"--then you can't expect an improvement.
Anonymouse (NY)
Seems to me the problem is the age spread in the league - 8 to 12 has a lot of difference at those ages. In general, girls mature & have their growth spurts sooner than boys, and if this big girl is 11 or 12 ("Mom" didn't say...) and her son is only 9, that could be the big difference. Maybe the league could adjust so the boys & girls ages in each division are "adjusted" for the fact of growth differences (12 year old girls playing with slightly older boys) or as suggested the league divide based on skills. But if they keep the same 8-12 the coach should be making sure everyone gets a fair chance to play, not just the ones who'll deliver a "win," regardless of gender.
Kohl (Ohio)
@Anonymouse I have never heard of an 8-12 youth sports league. There's a titanic difference between 8yo's and 12yo's.
Justin (Chicago)
@Anonymouse My wife always felt that kids sports should be divided by height and weight rather than age. My daughter, who is quite petite, got put on a soccer team with girls literally twice her size. We pulled her off immediately because we feared for her safety.
M.R. Sullivan (Boston)
@Justin Height and weight of growing kids can change over the course of a season.
B (USA)
A feminist, ma’am, you are not.
Anna (Brooklyn)
WOW. REALLY? You call yourself a feminist but object to a girl being taller at the same age? Would you do the same if it were a boy? Boys and girls are EQUAL HUAMN BEINGS. Your son should absolutely learn the lesson that girls and women are not inferior to boy and men, and this is the perfect place to learn that fact. Removing inconvenient competitors is not the way sports works.
Siempre Palante (New York)
Boundary Setting: The wife’s girlfriend needs to be called out for her bad behavior on the spot so she learns what is and is not acceptable in your family. The aggressive behavior she displays could be part of her own family’s communication style.
TD (NYC)
Sorry, Mom. You should know that her reproductive organs have nothing to do with playing baseball.
Lawrence (Washington D.C.)
@TD Not true. PMS and dysmenorrhea can have a debilitating effect on athletic performance. More of a problem with the over 12yr old set, but menarche seems to be coming earlier.
Pam (Texas)
When I was an art teacher, the grade-competitive kids would complain that they were at a disadvantage because they weren’t “talented” - it wasn’t their fault, it was kismet. I pointed out that kids who are “talented” at other things like math and reading get higher scores, too. There will always be someone bigger, taller, better - disappointment a great teacher for the rest of your life. About the nasty in-law: breaking a relationship is impossible to do in isolation. When one family relationship breaks, it causes a ripple effect to all of the other people in the family. It’s better to grin and bear it than damage the whole family. My husband and his sister severed their relationship and it has hurt everyone around them.
DJS (New York)
@Pam No. No one should "grin and bear" abusive treatment so that there won't be a "ripple effect " to other people in the family. You haven't expressed any concern for your husband and his sister who would not have severed their relationship over something trifling.
DickeyFuller (Boston)
@DJS Probably severed familial relationships over Fox News and Trump, just like the rest of us. It's sad but there it is.
No name (earth)
Beat by a girl -- patriarchy hates that
Reina Beatriz (CT)
@No name except it's a woman complaining...................as always, the misandrists on this board will blame the men..............even when it's a situation between two females.
JeffW (North Carolina)
@Reina Beatriz ................................
NoCommonSense (Somewhere Fun)
@Reina Beatriz You doth protest too much. I don’t hate men and I totally agree with @No name.
Bboon (Truckee, CA)
When I was 9 one of my friends (we are both girls) had a father who was coaching a little league team. This was long before title 9, BTW. Her brother was on the team, and her father figured she could play, too. Initially nobody batted an eye, until the first game when she hit a triple and made a double play. Then all the parents were howling; "She can't play because she's a girl." Translation: she is a good athlete who makes my boy look bad. She was officially retired from the team, and she was crushed by it. My first lesson in how girls get the short end of the stick. Have your son learn that he won't always be the best. A good first lesson for him? And maybe he should try some other positions.
Morgan (Alberta, Canada)
Isn’t the asking for recommendations and then dissing it the same as when someone says they got your top, pants etc. at a Thrift Store thing? It’s a put down, right?
Kohl (Ohio)
@Morgan Who feels worse? The person who has to say they can't afford something or the person whose recommendation wasn't taken? If this person is always recommending expensive options it can come across as quite snobbish.
Steve (Colorado)
C'mon JK, pull yourself together and directly confront the girlfriend with specific boundaries, then enforce those boundaries immediately the next time it happens. Not doing so in any relationship is like being willing to swallow poison to not offend and you likely feel that often in other relationships if setting boundaries is a foreign concept.
William Harris (West Coast)
i am not ashamed to say when i was a kid many girls could out-play me. get over it, helicopter parents.
cheeky (CA)
Jeez, I played little league as a girl way back in the 80s! What backwards baseball org is only now allowing girls to play? Nevermind this parent.
scott (New York)
Re: drums. I used to live in a co-op and played the drums. I never played past 9pm (I believe the legal limit is 10pm), and only that late when I had a gig to practice for (a rare event). I also made sure all my neighbors had my phone number so the could ask me to stop if it were a particularly bad time. I only received one call, when my downstairs neighbor's daughter didn't feel well and was trying to nap. Here's the best thing you can do: build a simple isolation platform. The vibrations through the floor and walls transmit the most sound. It only takes 2 pieces of plywood and 2 sets of 4 acoustic rubber feet to sit the drum set on to make a world of difference. I realize all you can do is ask your neighbor to do this, but maybe an offer of paying for materials would help?
Keith (New Jersey)
@scott To Jenn and Philip Galanes: Musicians have both rights and responsibilities. I'm a pianist. When I lived in an apartment, my piano was not in a room with a common wall with a neighbor. I did not play past 9 PM. However, I did not limit my practice before then. Scott's suggestion about an isolation platform is a good and considerate idea. Your neighbor might be able to move his drum set to another room. However, you cannot stop his practicing at reasonable hours of the day or evening. See this article from Allegro magazine: http://www.tenant.net/Rights/Noise/noise2.html.
DJS (New York)
@Keith I had a boyfriend whose brother was a drummer. The family lived in an apartment. The parents had the room soundproofed. The room was soundproofed so well such that one could not hear the brother drumming from the room next door. That's the way to practice music if one lives in a multiple person dwelling and wishes to practice within the residence. Alternately, one can rent studio space, as my nephew does.
Laite (Cincinnati, Ohio)
1. Re: writer 1- just ridiculous. As a mother of a basketball loving 5 foot 6 inch son, he was always outsized, and yes, being taller and stronger in most sports is an advantage. I don’t think he would have appreciated being in all short—man basketball team. He had more fun competing when he could and cheering on his taller teammates. 2. Writer 2 - I don’t understand why you would do this to your mother - in - law? Unless her partner is screaming, or doing something harmful to your baby, excluding a family’s member’s loved one seems cruel. And it is curious that you are already planning to use your baby as a weapon like that. Babies can handle imperfect people.
DJS (New York)
@Laite Why would you view future parents wanted to protect their expected child from an abusive person as being cruel? The future parents aren't planning to use their baby as a weapon. They are concerned for the welfare of the baby whom they are expecting. No. Keeping an abusive person away from one's child in order to protect the child does not seem cruel. Parents have a duty to protect their children.
Brooke Batchelor (Toronto Canada)
So, LW1: "As a feminist, I have no issue with this girl playing". Ok, sure, I get it. She has no issue with the girl playing as long as the girl doesn't take the spotlight or playing opportunities away from her son. That seems understandable, I mean it's what all us parents are trying to work toward: preparing our children for a world where THEIR path is constantly and conveniently paved for their success, regardless of abilities and those in their way.
Passion for Peaches (left coast)
When someone asks me for a recommendation, I often begin with the caveat that the place or the service is not the cheapest option, but is worth it. And then I explain why. That generally avoids specific questions about price.
John Virgone (Pennsylvania)
I would encourage the son to do his best so that he develops a healthy competitive attitude in all that life presents. Mommy will not always be there to level playing field.
Briana (Brooklyn, NY)
@John Virgone I think the OTHER big miss here is also that's he's 9. In a league of 8-12 year olds, you're almost always going to be smaller and not as good for the first several years on the team. I think it's more nuts that they cut the age ranges this way given an 8 year old is a little kid and 12 year old is likely pubescent. If that remains the case, then she was going to have do that anyway, regardless of this one (female) player.
Talbot (New York)
"I'd like to get rid of my son's competition for a sports team. This will work if I can change the criteria for being on the team. Is this ok?" I'm honestly charmed by this letter because it's so awful. And clueless. It should get some kind of award.
Brooke Batchelor (Toronto Canada)
@Talbot Right??!!! It almost feels like a Social Q's test of some sort.
M.A. (Rhode Island)
@Talbot I was interested because it was so foreign to me. I predate Title IX so I was never on an organized team for any sport, and at 4 ft 11 in I've never been taller than anyone. :-)
DJS (New York)
@M.A. My niece is 4'11 and I've loved her with all my heart since the moment I set eyes on her. :)
KJ (Tennessee)
Sure, get rid of the girls. And the big boys. And the lousy athletes. And the kids who can't afford expensive shoes. Heck, why not get rid of them all? In sports, there will always be kids who are smaller, less athletic, unmotivated, or have disappointed parents. It sounds like real life, because it is. And even those of us who are crummy or even hopeless at a lot of things (me) have to live in it, no matter how old we are or how much our mother fusses.
Jeremiah (Franklin, TN)
Dear JK - the time for boundary-setting was seven years ago. Not setting boundaries since then was only enabling the girlfriend. Please learn one of the most powerful words of the English language: "no."
The Littlest Who (Whoville)
Oooh boy. Single mom of three sons here. There will always, I mean always, be some kids bigger and better than your kid that get more playing time. (I will Fast forward to my youngest son’s high school freshman football. After killing himself in practice day after day..broken fingers and all… the kid played… exactly 10 minutes. The whole season. Lesson? Find better things to do with your kid. Youth sports in America have veered so far away from goals of team building and character development so as to be more destructive than helpful. (There was exactly one youth soccer team that my oldest son was on… where everybody played… yup… they lost all the time… they had a blast.. I’ll be ever grateful to that one coach… and that was the only one in the dozens of teams my son were associated with.)
Vincent Smith (Lexington, KY)
@The Littlest Who You sound like a great mom.
Howard G (New York)
Regarding LW 1 Back in the nineties - I attended a series of lectures and classes given by a man who had one of healthiest and most comprehensive ground-level understanding of human nature on a day-to-day, real-world basis -- One day - in a class - there was an intense, back-and-forth, discussion about success, failure and achievement - The discussion had turned a bit heated - when the man waved his hand for silence and - once again - provided one of the most sensible ideals about the subject -- He said - "Look - it's actually very simple - all you can do is do your best - give it your best shot - and then let the chips fall where they may - but you have to understand that - after having done your best - your best may not be good enough" -- That certainly doesn't mean you can't get better and raise your game - but there will always be someone who's name gets called before yours -- It's a very healthy attitude to carry with you through life...
DW (Philly)
LW1: Your son has a bigger problem than this bigger girl - his problem is his mother's investment in his winning.
W.A. Spitzer (Faywood, NM)
There is an opportunity here for the son to learn a valuable life lesson. In life as in sports, there will always be players who are bigger, faster and stronger than you are. It is hard to sit on the bench and watch while someone is advanced ahead of you, but you have two choices. You can give up and quit or you can keep trying. What ever you do you can always be better if you are work at it, and isn't that the point, becoming better? My son played on a high school soccer team that played for a state championship, which as parents we had watched develop since early grade school. The team had many very athletic highly talented players. There was one boy on the team that we had watched over time who was not a particularly good athlete, he didn't get much playing time, but year after year he kept coming out. Even though he improved significantly over time and became a competent player, because of the other talent he rarely got to play in a game, but he still came to every practice and and tried. In their senior year the team was highly successful and at the end of the season three prestigious awards were given out; Most Valuable, Most Improved, and Best Mental Attitude. When he received he Best Mental Attitude award every member of the team, and I mean every member, stood up and cheered. No, he never got a lot of playing time, but he had earned the respect of everyone on the team. Isn't that what the game of life is about?
NoCommonSense (Somewhere Fun)
LW2 ban your MIL’s girlfriend from your home. Tell your MIL that because her girlfriend is abusive toward your mother and your partner, the girlfriend is banned from your home. Discuss all of this with your partner first, but if she doesn’t agree, for the protection of your yet-to-be born child, you’ll need to call an audible.
Eleanor (CT)
I wonder if this 'feminist' mother would have a problem with the situation if the bigger, better kid who was taking her son's position was a boy. Somehow I doubt it. I cannot believe it's the year 2022 and we're still having this conversation - from a woman no less. The girl is better than your son lady, deal with it and get your butt out there and practice with your kid so he gets better. You don't toss the other kid off the team because she's better than your kid and happens to be a girl. Some feminist.
NoCommonSense (Somewhere Fun)
LW1 your son’s situation is the same as anyone who plays on a sports team. The better players get more time on the field. Land the helicopter.
Sgt Schulz (Oz)
@NoCommonSense Why? What's the point of "playing" a sport if all you get to do is sit on the bench? The better kids get better and the worse kids get worse.
NoCommonSense (Somewhere Fun)
@Sgt Schulz Well LW and her son should practice or her son should join another team.
Francois (Montreal)
@NoCommonSense Professional level motivation has winning as goal, as winning has a commercial incentive. Amateur level is based on fun, sportsman ship, and development.
J (USA)
MOM -- your son is learning a valuable skill. In school, college, and in the workplace, someone is going to be better at something than him. In this case it's a girl. In other cases it's going to be a boy. At some point, the sex of who is better just doesn't matter. It's important to be a team player and bring your strengths to the table, rather than try and bring the other team members down. The only possible objection here is based on the league format. I know some youth leagues put an emphasis on giving everyone on the team equal playing time independent of their skill level, since at certain ages even a year's difference can be a tremendous advantage due to developmental differences, and the bigger "win" comes from getting playing time, not putting the "best" player out there. As things progress, of course, sports take on much more of a meritocracy as they players age past puberty and are not getting an advantage based on when they were born. This also brings its own lessons with it, e.g. if you want to succeed you need to put in the effort. JENN -- There should be reasonable hours for loud and potentially disturbing noise to be made in any community. This used to simply be known as "common sense", but plenty of communities have had to write down when you can do noisy stuff. It does not seem unreasonable that loud noises should be disallowed during certain hours. There might also be ways to lessen the noise (sound deadening, towels, blankets, etc)
Kate (Philadelphia)
Next up: The parent of the boy who’s always come in second after LW1’s son wants the girl and LW’s son deported.
Di (California)
My son had a fellow on his JV rugby team who at barely 15 was 6'2" and 240 pounds, and another fellow who was super fast but 5'4" and 140 pounds soaking wet. One got put on offense and the other on defense. Everyone knew the big guy would be a guaranteed starter if he learned the plays. This is going to happen when the divisions go by age and grade. Everyone knows that and lives with it, with its ups and downs. I suspect if that rival kid were another boy Mommy and Daddy wouldn't make a peep because it would give their *team* an advantage to have a ringer.
C.H. (NY)
This is some of the worst advice I think I’ve ever read in my life.
ADM (NH)
If your 9-year-old child is not getting much playing time, then you need to find a team with a coach who knows what they are doing. Regardless of sport or level, not playing particular children in youth sports is primarily done to benefit small-minded coaches and the coaches' gentle egos. Find a new team. I had the great privilege of coaching 55 youth teams in five different sports over the course of fifteen years. All levels from novice to rec to club to national-tournament-bound teams and age ranges 4-18. Many of the hard-working players I coached as youths went on to win state championships and play at the Division 1 level in college. Everyone played. Every game. What would you think of a math teacher who sat the developing students in the corner and didn't teach them of ever ask them any questions? Youth sports are for the benefit of the children and the goal is to have fun and get better. Always. Enjoy every moment!
rick tornello (chantill va)
I coached girls soccer for a number of years. I had players who could actually play the game and some who could barely play kick ball. I played them all, every game. I let the team captain and co-captain make the decisions during the games. It was a chance to let them learn to make decisions on the fly, rely on team mates and no matter the skill level (or the end result) try to enjoy the game. It's still a game at this point but a learning experience.
BF (Boston)
Wow. I never thought I'd see a woman, albeit the mother of a boy athlete, decrying Title IX. Does she have any appreciation for how long women have fought, and still fight, for the right to play sports, for equal pay, and so much more? I played as the only girl on my Little League team; it was a memorable experience. I suggest that Mom get some therapy to get to the bottom of what's driving her to have an issue with a girl's excellence in sports.
TLM (Jersey)
Look at this from the girls point of view. Already taller than all in her age group, she already feels awkward and like an outsider, call mean attention to her and it is even worse, instead of building up her self esteem, you are doing the opposite. A very young girl. You should be ashamed.
Nard Dogg (west village)
@TLM how do you know she feels awkward? she may be proud of her height.
Ann Onymous (The Untied Status of America)
LW1: Yes, it's all about eliminating the competition, so the son can shine. We can learn something from this example when extrapolating to transgender competition in sports: Some children will have an advantage, whether because girls at this age are larger and stronger than boys at this age, because some children are simply larger and stronger, because some children are better trained, and at an older age, because some children might be transgender. The response was to get used to it - that some children will just have an advantage, and we should all get over it. Would the same advice be offered in response to an older girl facing competition from a transgender teammate? Where is the moral outrage? My own stance is that it's just a game. Lighten up, everyone! Let's teach our children to play baseball for the joy of the sport, not for personal glory. Let's teach them to be team players and to celebrate what they can achieve with good teamwork. Perhaps they will become better people for it.
Kate (Philadelphia)
@Ann Onymous Transgender is a different thing. Your own stance is . . . Your own stance only.
Ann Onymous (The Untied Status of America)
@Kate Uh huh.
randomxyz (Syrinx)
At this age, it’s just a game. And it should remain just a game, but it won’t. As they get older, real consequences (scholarships and money) intrude.
dr.primrose (California)
As a restaurant customer, I've learned the hard way to always ask what the the specials costs. The last time I didn't, I was at a restaurant where the highest price for the main course was around $30. I ordered one of the specials, without asking the price. When the bill came, I shocked to see that it was $75, over twice the price of any other main course on the menu. Never again will I order a special without asking the price. It's not personal. We have a right to find out the price. And if it's more than we want to spend, we have the right to say, no.
Passion for Peaches (left coast)
@dr.primrose, restaurants do that on purpose, counting on the fact that most people will be too embarrassed to ask the price (especially in front if a date or a client, etc.). I think it’s shameful manipulation...and too common. It would not be difficult to print out the specials, with prices.
csav (Tri-State)
My daughter was better than most of the boys on her Littlt League baseball team. That motivated the powers that were to start Big League Softball. No one wanted girls on Little League teams. No. Girls who hit home runs were certainly not wanted.
Linda Hoquist (Topsham Me)
Shouldn’t the parent of the boy playing on a team with a superior athlete re-evaluate their need to meddle in the young man’s team activity? Chances are most kids will not be the best player on any team. A winning team is not the end goal of most youth sports these days - it’s about working with others and developing skill sets. I remember a hockey season for my nephew where his line had an autistic player who sometimes skated away from the action. To their credit, the other kids on the line still sent the puck his way. The win - loss record of that team was irrelevant to the fun they had on the ice.
April (NYC)
LW1: as a girl who was a late bloomer and regularly got to sit on the sidelines because of the bigger girls I can understand your concern. My brother felt similarly with the boys teams that he played on. Being smaller whether that’s temporary or permanent is hard. This is the reason I’d like to see sports organized based on ability, size etc similar to how wrestling has weight classes instead of by age and gender. If you are on a competitive team consider a house/fun team where everyone gets equal play time. If you are on a team where everyone should get equal play time then bring that up with the coach. Otherwise, have your son learn how to take tips from a girl to improve his play or look for another position on the team with a weaker player and start learning that position so he can bump that person out of their spot.
A.D. (Detroit, MI)
The woman in the first latter should consider putting herself in the young woman’s shoes. That age is awkward for most kids and being a young woman who has sprouted up and now overshadows the boys can come with a lot difficulties because we live in such a gendered society and girls are expect to always be small and dainty. Baseball may be one of the few places where she can be proud of her height, instead of being made to feel uncomfortable about it. To suggest that she be moved to a different team, not because she meets the criteria to be moved, but just because she’s tall - adds to her height being seen as something bad or negative. Besides, this is not big league scouting, it’s just kids playing baseball…and even if her kid is slated to be a future Red Sox, she should find comfort in the fact that major and minor leagues almost never consider women! So this girl will be excluded soon enough, no matter how talented she is.
Rupert (Alabama)
Can't we just agree that in sports, as in life, there is no such thing as completely fair? While girls' do tend to mature faster than boys and can be larger than boys for brief periods between the ages of 10-12, the letter writer's focus on gender is just weird. Wouldn't it be equally unfair if her son was displaced by another small boy who happened to be able to afford fancy sports camps to improve his skills, while her son cannot afford such camps? The playing field can never be perfectly level.
DMV74 (Northern VA)
I wonder if she mom in letter 1 would have a problem if it was a boy that was bigger? It’s so weird that she would go through this length to have competition removed from her son’s path. There’s always gonna be a bigger, better, smarter, more naturally talented player than your snowflake. It’s ok. But to telegraph to him to be resentful of girls at such a young age is pure negligence.
Anonymous (Boston MA)
Teach your son now not to resent and feel threatened by women who are better than him at something. This is an excellent teaching moment if you want to raise a man who respects women.
Loren Crowley (Corry PA)
@Anonymous This sounded like another trans youth in sports story. Girls sports will be ruined by letting tase girls play. They're really boys so they have an unfair physical advantage. My daughter doesn't get as much playing time because the trans girl is so much bigger and stronger. Lets get the Republican led legislature together to pass a law banning trans athletes from participating. Hold up. How many trans kids are you talking about statewide? So, now girls who mature faster become feared in the boys 10-12 age bracket. Where's the law banning this unfair advantage?
JKL (Westchester)
@Anonymous And vice versa of course.
Jeremiah (Franklin, TN)
@Anonymous The letter writer doesn't mention if the son has an issue with this other player or not. I think this shows more of her anxieties than any real concerns of the son.
Scs (Santa Barbara, CA)
There are damper pads to dull the volume of drumming
Bethp (NRW)
LW#1 A GIRL is better than your boy? OMG! Jeez. He better get used to it. What worries me far more, is the fact that girls have only been allowed to play since "a few years ago". As a feminist, you should DEMAND equal rights for girls, not begrudge this girl her abilities. I guess we can be glad that nobody has asked to have this girl's genitals checked. Parents used to be able to understand that their kid might not be the best in everything and that this is totally okay. Losing with grace is an admirable trait.
Jan White (Montreal)
Outshined: Shoes are shined People are outshone
Joyce (Florida)
@Jan White Yes!
Pauline (NYC)
@Jan White ~ Finally. Thank you! Now, can you please start on the "reigning vs reining in" and past tense "lead vs led" gaffes?
Julie (PNW)
@Pauline Don’t forget “laying” in place of “lying”. If you’re “laying there”, show me the egg! It’s torture to hear even professional broadcast journalists making this mistake.
M.H. (NYC)
I know that lots of people are going to pile on that mother in the first letter. But being a mom is hard. And she clearly took it a step too far when she tried to help her son by unfairly elbowing the little girl out of the picture. Let’s hope she backs off and follows Philip’s advice.
Linda Hoquist (Topsham Me)
@M.H. But being an angry mom is apparently pretty easy. Hope she matures at some point.
Korgull (Hudson Valley)
I coach Football (soccer to you yanks), and the kids are coed, ages from 10-12 and there is a wide variety of sizes and abilities. There will always be someone bigger, or smaller, than your kid on every team they play for or against. A good coach, not a jock, should play your kids based on strengths and abilities, not merely stacking the deck with the biggest and ignoring smaller or less experienced players. Your kid has a coach problem, not a teammate problem.
Jessica (East Bay, CA)
YES!!! Well said!
GWE (Ny)
@Korgull I don’t disagree. ….but the mom has a prejudice problem. Despite her claims, she’s advocating for the removal of a girl from a team where she’s performing well to one where she may be dwarfed bu bigger kids and the pretext she wants to use is that the other player is a girl and girls have not been host of ally included.
DL (Colorado Springs, CO)
@Korgull When I was in high school in the '60's, I loved gymnastics, but felt no need to compete, and I didn't want to perform in front of an audience. The gymnastics coach let me practice with the team, even though I took time on the equipment away from the girls who were actually on the team. Today, winning is everything, and I doubt any coaches would allow such a thing now, which is sad.
BTO (Somerset, MA)
There is always going to be someone that out shines someone else, the best advice you can give your child is, to go out there and give 101% and don't worry about the other players.
Bethp (NRW)
And don't forget to have fun!
NYCSANDIs (NY)
@Bethp As if youth sports is about having fun... Too often boys youth sports is about coaches exercising power and preening parents who work together to raise boys who are indulged academically in both high school and higher education but fail to learn the meaning of the word "No". In any capacity.
Sgt Schulz (Oz)
@BTO How do you get to give 101% if you don't get to play a lot?
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