May 23, 2010  •  In Personal

Boys Will Be Boys…Or No?

Last night, I was taking Comang on his evening walk when I ran into a group of boys playing baseball.

There is almost always a group of middle-school-aged boys playing on this block when the weather is nice (I think one or two of them live on that street) — they are usually skateboarding, biking, or just hanging around.

However, this was the first time I’ve seen them playing baseball…on this busy urban street.

Allow me to clarify: they were spread out over the two sidewalks on either side of the street, with two bases on one sidewalk and the other two on the other. They were throwing and hitting the ball across the street, stopping frequently as cars drove by.

I know that this is a potentially dangerous game, but I am not their mother so who am I to judge? I continued walking my dog and stayed on the far end of the sidewalk, trying my best not to be intrusive as I always do whenever I encounter this group of boys.

As I walked by their makeshift diamond, I suddenly heard a CRACK!

Then I felt it. The unmistakable bend of air as the newly-hit baseball flew right by me.

It was just a mere inches away from my stomach.

I froze. Comang froze at my feet.

Then I heard…

…LAUGHTER?

I could not believe it. These boys were laughing at almost having hit me.

I flew into a rage. “DO YOU THINK THAT’S FUNNY?!!”

The continued to snicker.

“I AM PREGNANT. WHAT IF YOU HAD HIT MY STOMACH? WHAT IF YOU HAD HURT MY BABY??!!!”

No change in reaction.

I was tired from having been out all day. It was getting late, and dark. So I did the easiest thing: I walked away, tears stinging my eyes.

I recounted the story to J as soon as I returned home. He was unsurprisingly sympathetic and angry. Since we are just starting to enter the warmer months and these boys are always hanging out on that street, we decided that we should change Comang’s walk route to extend over a different block. It is a bit more inconvenient, but at least that block is quiet.

I’ve now had the night to think about the incident. I know that whoever had hit the ball had little to no control over its trajectory. HOWEVER, I also know that they should have at least paused the game while a pregnant woman (yes, my belly is big enough to be noticeable now and I was wearing a form-fitting shirt) walked by.

I thought about contacting their parents — at least the parents of the boy(s) who live on that block — but I’m not sure that would help because I’m pretty sure that they do not speak English.

What would you do, or have done in this situation?

11 Responses to “Boys Will Be Boys…Or No?”

  1. Amy:

    Oh yes, those parents would have gotten a visit from a raging hormonal woman. Kids really DON’T know any better, so in that case, the parents need to know. A kid could get hurt crossing the street (running bases) too!!

  2. I would have gone up to them & talked to them and explained how dangerous it is to hit people with baseballs, as comical as that sounds. If it makes you feel better, adolescent boys are kinda my "specialty" right now (though I’m no expert at all) but I can tell you that they often laugh like that when they’re nervous. Very seldom will they apologize/show empathy (ESPECIALLY in front of friends) in a public way, and I’ve had the boys I counsel laugh more than once at my unfortunate circumstances. Usually, I explain as calmly as possible that laughing at people isn’t really an appropriate response, and they’ll laugh when I explain it. Sometimes, when I get them alone, they’ll apologize for their behavior – but rarely.

    Talking to the parents *might* help, but quite honestly – if they are letting their children play in the middle of the street, they probably aren’t going to care a whole bunch. Just a guess. :\

    So sorry that happened/scared you, love. I’m glad you’re okay!

  3. mindy:

    grrr stupid kids!!!!
    i feel old to think that "what the heck are these kids thinking?"
    but in their minds, whatever they do is making sense to them. They need some good spankin, IMHO!!

    glad you’re okay too… close one!

  4. Turtle:

    I’m sorry this happened to you– I have a similar group on my street and I have had a fear of being hit with the ball since junior high gym class. But as the sister of several brothers, the part about the laughter doesn’t really surprise me– like Kalen suggested it was out of nervousness. If you really don’t want to change your route I’d try being assertive right up front– when I walk by the guys on my street, I say something like– "Hey fellas, hold up a second." That way they know I’m there and I look them in the eye and it makes it harder for them to continue. I don’t know if you’ll want to bother after such a close call but it’s just a thought.

  5. Inexcusable

    I would not have tried talking to the kids alone without someone else around (you never know these days, because if they almost hit you & laughed.. who knows what else they could’ve done?)

    If I had known what houses the kids lived in or their parents, I would’ve said something to their parents when they were at home.

    Even if their parents don’t end up doing anything, there’s a good chance they would’ve given the boys a good what fer.

    At least, that’s what my parents would’ve done, if we almost hit a pregnant lady in a belly with a baseball that we cracked across a street.

  6. Ugh, I work with teenage boys, and they are a whole different species. I agree with Kalen. One on one, they can usually be reasoned with, but in a group, it’s definitely harder. And if you feel that you need to, and know who some of the kids’ parents are, I would at least try to discuss it with them. Even if they don’t understand English, they will understand that an upset pregnant woman almost got hit by the ball–should be fairly easy enough to gesture. You could definitely bring your husband for support if it helps. Or, if you semi-know one of the kids, try to at least establish an acquaintence relationship so you have someone from the group looking out for you.

  7. 1st … THANK GOD that the ball didn’t touch you!!! 2nd, I don’t think I would’ve been able to stay calm. I would’ve yelled at them and then make Yug go yell at them … then I’d probably go marching to their homes to yell at their parents. … I’m glad you’re ok Jenny!!!!

  8. OMG. I would have gone up and spanked each kid on the butt. Literally. I would have been LIVID too!!!!!! GRRRRRR!!!!

  9. What would I have done? Probably not the smart thing. Screamed, swore, made a scene of myself. And then probably walked away still enraged.

  10. Geek in Heels:

    Thanks everyone for your support. I think that what bothered me most was not the fact that the ball almost hit me (because accidents can happen), but the fact that they laughed.

    However, after reading what Kalen wrote, I can kind of understand why they were laughing. And looking back on it, it wasn’t malicious laughter. So I hope that although no apologies were said, at least one of them felt guilty about it.

  11. Gosh this makes me upset for you. Not because they laughed, well, yes, that, but because you have to change things around your life because of them. Pre-teens and teens are emotionally undeveloped and exhausting because there’s often a disconnect between appropriate emotions and behavior. They’re still working through it. And perhaps the laughing was the only way they knew to react. It might have been nervous laughter. Who knows, but the point is they weren’t capable of demonstrating remorse or sympathy. I’m not making excuses for them, I’m just saying it sucks that you can’t win in that situation because they’re kids and also because you can’t really talk to their parents about it.

    On the bright side, thank God the ball didn’t hit you.

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