Monday, March 21, 2011

Boys and Bullying

One strong, athletic boy stands in the middle of the gym. He scans his teammates for an opening. Dribbling the ball, he avoids the small boy to his right. The small boy, Alex, yells, "I'm open, Jeff!".

Jeff pretends to ignore him, and walks slowly toward the hoop. He forgets about that thought in his head to give the small boy a chance. He thinks only of his desire to make the point, and hear his team celebrate his greatness.

Behind him, Alex, the small boy, clenches his fists, angry that his teammate won't give him a chance. Running without thinking, he slams his entire body into the back of Jeff. If he won't let me play, then he won't play, he thinks triumphantly as Jeff crashes to the floor and the ball slowly rolls away. His entire body feels the sweetness of revenge pour through him -until his teammates' voices echo across the gym.

"Come on, Alex! Why did you push him down? He could have scored a point!" they yell as Alex returns to reality, realizing what he just did. He lowers his head and walks to the sidelines. His teammates continue their taunting.

"I wish you weren't on our team. We always lose because of you, Alex," they continue on and on until Alex buries his head in his arm and sinks to the wooden gym floor.

Jeff gets up just as the final second leaves the clock. He walks over to where Alex lays with his face covered in his shirt. He bends down as his anger twists his stomach around and around. He waits until Alex looks up at him, and says "You're such a baby, Alex. That's exactly why I never throw the ball to you. You always mess up, and then we always lose."

Alex's mind jumps about trying to make sense of everyone and everything. He can't understand. He doesn't have anyone that cares. Why do I even try, he wonders as he curls himself back into a ball. Maybe they're right. Maybe I shouldn't play ball anymore. He plows through his negative thoughts as a wrecking ball bashes into a building that's already crumbling from disrepair. As Alex lays on the ground, he torments himself with put down after put down. He begins to feel numb to his frustrations. Soon, he no longer cares anymore. If they don't care enough about me, then why should I?

His self doubt eats away at him, day after day. He doubts everything and everyone -every single day. He loses faith that there are caring people in the world, and soon loses trust in anyone at all.
Every night when he goes to bed he wonders, why should I get up tomorrow?

Isn't it amazing how our own desire to receive praise blinds us to the hurt that we cause others?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. You have described this moment so well - the emotions and actions which come from being bullied and ultimately turning into a bully even for a few brief seconds. It's sad and very heard to digest that children fell this way on a daily basis. That there aren't more people trying to alleviate some of the bullying by taking a stand and discussing the topic. I know some are and I'm so glad.

  2. Well done. Did you share this with your class?