Well, this isn’t over.
You know how sometimes you wish you would have said that.
During a conversation something doesn’t sit well, but you can’t exactly pinpoint it. Or you don’t agree, but struggle to find the words to explain yourself.
So, you stay quiet. You keep it in.
With the forests of California on fire (again) this summer, tides of smoke wash into the central valley. The sun shines red, and little specks of ash accumulate on the roofs of cars at night.
With the thick smoke comes warnings and air quality alerts like:
“Moderate,” “Unhealthy,” or “Unhealthy for sensitive groups.”
People are encouraged to reduce exercise outdoors on extreme days.
And extreme people use this as an excuse to make ridiculous statements.
With smoke in the air, my daughter’s soccer coach sends a group text mentioning that she is keeping an eye on the air quality. To which a parent replied “it’s terrible outside and instantly gives us full headaches and coughs….it’s just horrible outside.”
None of the other 18 parents on the group chat chimed in supporting the ridiculous statement, but nobody refuted it either.
And this is where I was weak. I think they should practice, but didn’t say anything.
If someone wants to keep their kids home due to asthma or sensitivities, that’s fine. But what about those of us who would rather their kids go outside and play with others than sit idly on the couch watching a screen (while inevitably still breathing in some smoke particles).
But, I didn’t say anything. And practice was cancelled.
I believe there are others in the group who would have been happy to go.
Because nobody spoke up, they assumed the other parents agreed with Instant Headache lady.
I could have said “chill the fuck out and stop being dramatic. It’ll be fine for the kids to be outside for 45 minutes, like they were during recess at school today.”
Another tempting response was “Let’s practice. We lost 0-7 last week and haven’t practiced since. We’ll set the starting line-up today, to keep the weak-ass smoke-headeache kids off the field this weekend.”
Or opted for something like “Since they have a game in two days, practice would be really beneficial. Maybe we can shorten it to 30 minutes, and anyone who’s sensitive to the smoke can stay home. I’ll be there with my daughter if anyone would like to join us.”
But I didn’t. I typed something, then deleted it. By not wanting to create waves, I made it worse. And because nobody said anything contrary, the parents assumed that everyone else agreed and were all living with headaches that throb the instant the front door to their home is opened.
In every situation, others will agree with your opinion. They might be waiting for someone else to say it first because they think they are alone. By holding back, you’re letting everyone else down.
Your homework this week: Where are you keeping quiet about something that you believe? Speak up, and see how many others are actually on your side.
So now we have a game Saturday, and haven’t practiced since the 0-7 ass whooping. And what’s worse is I could have done something to help. But I hesitated and was weak.
My only hope is that our opponent has a dramatic parent, and a bunch of other followers as soft as I was. Never again.
P.S. Where are you scared to speak up?