Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dear Ray Rice,

      Granted, I've got a soft spot for football players.  It's the only sport in which I've participated (in an "organized" fashion - I also played a bunch of touch football and tackling games in the neighborhood.  Tackling is fun)  It's the only meeting point my father (who died when I was pretty young) and I ever had together.  When we could talk about nothing else, we could talk about why tackling has left the game (Dear GOD, if he could see the way people tackle now!)   But here's the other side of the equation - growing up in a house full of sisters taught me that it's never (repeat NEVER) appropriate to put your hands on a member of the fairer sex.

     They can be hard to understand.  They can be hard to relate to on ANY terms.   But guess what? They're human spirits who are not as  physically strong as we were built to be.  Note that I said "physically."  Doesn't mean that they're not strong.  My dearly departed mother used to say "there's a good reason the Good Lord decided to let women have the babies - men would've surrendered."  She also used to tell me that "any man who would hit a woman is a coward.  It's easy to be brave when you know you're stronger."  How many movies and stories (and reality)  have we seen play out where chaos reigns until a woman tells everyone in the room to shut up and settle down?   From Mama Corleone ("Santino!!!  Don't interfere....") to Scarlett O'Hara ("God is my witness...")   They can kick ass and take names on their own terms.   Even now the woman I love the most can make me behave with a telling glance from across the room (or, usually, from her seat at a football game....yeah, I'm a lucky Neanderthal.) 

     So here's the rub Ray Rice.  I wish you well in whatever you choose to do going forward.  But stay away from anything that makes you a symbol for stronger and faster professional athletes, many of whom I've been fortunate enough to meet face to face. My impressions of them have always been that they're guys just like the rest of us.  All we see is them running over people, causing concussions, throwing  99 mph fastballs at batters' heads, stopping short-handed goals with high sticks or putting dunks back in faces, But I'm quit sure that MANY of them have one of those "weaker folks" somewhere saying "We need to talk..."    

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