It’s Saturday morning and I’m sitting at our local soccer dome while K and the other 8-12 year old girls practice. Just to my right there is a gathering of five men talking loudly enough for everyone around to hear. I don’t know them but I assume they are dads to the slightly older girls. They’ve covered the morning basics – the happy return of the sun in these early mornings, the American news update, and the latest failings of the “pathetic excuse of a hockey team” (their words, not mine) called the Habs.
And then it’s coffee talk. It starts with gentle teasing about the guy who orders his coffee double-double. “That’s dessert, man, not coffee.” And laughter.
“You know that pay it forward thing? That actually happened to me this week. I got to the window and my coffee was already paid for. Apparently E’s mom saw me in the drive-thru and paid for my coffee.”
And then the pivot.
“Don’t you wish E’s mom wanted to pay it forward another way?”
“I know right – hottest soccer mom on the team.”
“I’d hit that. I’d even pay for her coffee from then on.”
“I think you’d owe her at least a steak for that.”
“I’d give her filet mignon for a month.”
Five dads. To beautiful girls who are working their hardest out on the soccer pitch. Probably really good dads. Dads who love their daughters more than their own lives. Dads who would likely punch the man who said that about their daughters.
Yet they are men who still brazenly engage in “locker room talk” and seemingly have no shame about it.
That’s the world we live in. While we build up our daughters on the soccer pitch, telling them they can do anything, praising their endurance and strength, challenging them to push harder, just off to the side is a group of men talking like that.
When does that change?