Here is my son, on his 9th birthday, putting on his Oakland Raiders Darren McFadden jersey. He loves that jersey with all of his heart.
Some may think it's silly to allow a child to invest that much time and energy into an NFL team (or any professional sports team for that matter) with their bad attitudes, insane salaries and giant egos, but the way I see it, you are only little once. And I kind of think that a life without passion gets pretty boring. I'll take the sports obsession over girls any day.
Fast forward to tonight. He'll be turning 12 this week. I think that this jersey has easily been worn over 100 times in the last three years. McFadden is the leading rusher in the NFL as of this week. The Raiders are competitive this year. KJ is so proud to wear it.
We had a softball game and he was playing football with his buddies while his dad and I played. He took the jersey off because he didn't want it to get dirty. He folded it up and put it in the dugout. When it was time to go home, the jersey had disappeared. Yes, out of our own dugout. He is crushed.
My gut reaction was the be really upset with KJ for not taking better care of his stuff. He had been waving it over his head and celebrating/bragging about McFadden's rushing yards. I am a HUGE believer in personal responsibility, and all of this could have easily been avoided if he had just kept the stupid jersey on. Or put it in the car. He could have prevented this from happening.
But then I started thinking that I am placing all of the blame in him, the victim. Sure, he could have kept the jersey on and he'd still have it. But how sad is it that he couldn't trust that the darn thing wouldn't have disappeared right out of our dugout?
I hope hope hope that there was some misunderstanding and that it's going to show up in someone's bag. But if it doesn't, you had better believe that he'll never be so naive and trusting again.
And that kind of breaks my heart.