I had a little run in with a local Neo-Conservative Politico a few weeks ago. The forum: a 10-year-old girls’ Indoor Soccer game. It’s a game we consider to be recreational: soccer as hockey using the walls. Our team is an inclusive one; no tryouts, no cuts, and with mixed ages. We have 3rd graders and 4th graders.
We come a little early as requested by our coach, a twenty-something kid, so I watched our sister team play for a spot in the final. They were losing 4:1 which was a really respectable showing for them given that they have 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders on their team and were playing a 4th grade club soccer team.
Then a mom friend whose daughter is on the team told me something that made my blood boil. Apparently, a girl on the Club Soccer Team said very loudly after scoring one of the goals, “That was so easy. This team is sooo bad.” And her mean-girl teammate snickered in support, as all sidekicks to bullies tend to do.
We ended up playing the mean-girl team in the final; not a surprise as they are (or were) undefeated. We came out strong and dominated the ball. By the half, we were up 5:0.
How Soccer is a Microcosm of Our World
It was clear that this game I was watching is a microcosm of the world we live in; dominated by entitled WASPy Republicans who are used to winning. They want to keep their CEO positions on Fortune 500 companies. No doubt too that they are the alumni clout keeping Asian Americans from taking too many coveted spots at Ivy League colleges. In short, Republicans ARE the Bamboo Curtain.
My daughter was the only Asian American on the field and I like to think she was not being mugged because of her race but because she was playing very well. Nevertheless, she was tripped three times in quick succession and then, 5 inches in front of my face, I watched her being shoved around with elbows thrown at her head.
Something in me snapped. I’m tired of being the meek Asian American who takes it quietly and without fuss. That’s the stereotype for Asian Americans, yes? And there’s a long history of this but it hasn’t served us well. So I yelled two words, “Stop shoving!”
Yes, dear reader, I shouldn’t have. But honestly, I lost it.
At the half, the Neo-Conservative Republican coach came out screaming. Literally screaming. In front of all of us including 2 dozen 10-year-old girls. He had lots of complaints including that I was giving instructions to his team (which he then had to redirect. As in, belay that order to stop shoving and continue shoving and throwing elbows.) Did he actually do this? I don’t know, but his team’s fouling starting escalating exponentially by the number goals they were down.
At the end of game line up. Each team high fives their opponents with a string of “good game.” It can be perfunctory though the point of it is to teach good sportsmanship. I was appalled to learn that the Neo-Conservative Coach told a little girl on our team, “Nice game, I guess” in a very sneering tone. (She used the word sneering herself!).
At the end of the game, this coach threw another screaming nutty at our coach that lasted a good half hour. He yelled and screamed that our team should not have won; was not the victor. He wanted a rematch. His adult tantrum ruined the victory for our kids. They were shocked and horrified. Our young coach was shaken up. And he’s 12 inches shorter too.
It’s just a game. These are 10-year-old girls. And I have no idea why a club soccer team is playing recreational indoor soccer in the first place. All the other club soccer teams are playing Futsol in a more even match up of club team to club team. He was just here to dominate on an uneven playing field, creating a breeding ground for arrogant behavior that included mean girl bullying.
That a very Republican thing to do. Aren’t they always insisting on recounts even as they rig the ballots? They like an uneven field when they have the upper hand. Isn’t that why they are always gerrymandering, trying to artificially draw lines to reduce the density of ethic populations?
Republicans Are The Bamboo Curtain We Face
Who are the faces that construct this very real bamboo ceiling that Asian Americans face daily whether in the corporate world or when applying to college? Who is being nudged aside to make way for diversity? Let me tell you, it’s not the new immigrants who held the power for centuries. It’s the old guard … made up of Republicans.
In this instance on a indoor soccer field, it has a real face. It’s this one:
Just like this entitled little girls’ soccer team was not using to losing; they had never lost an indoor game in several years, they weren’t going to go quietly in defeat.
After the half when the ref came over to tell us all to keep quiet, a ball came sailing over the half wall towards my head. It was from the other team. A dad from our team leaned over and whispered, “I think she was aiming for you.” Was she the coach’s daughter? Possibly. I laughed and said, “Well, they lost possession.” When our team got the ball, they sailed it to the other end of the field and my daughter drilled it in for the final goal, beating them 6:3.
Some Stereotypes are True
As for that ball that came sailing to my head, a word to the Republicans: yes, we all know martial arts. We are not going to be silenced any more nor are we going to take this lopsided set of rules that is our current paradigm. You want to keep us down? We are going to fight back. With words. With actions. With blog posts. With tweets. With social media that you ancient prehistorical Republicans don’t seem to understand. It’s a whole new world with a more level playing field.
Did that ball hit my head? Fifteen years of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training kicked it. Left fist up. Elbow in. Very slight twist to the right. An easy and instinctive block. Let that be a metaphor to Republicans. But let this be a lesson to us Asian Americans:
- If we excel, expect increased pressure to keep us down.
- If we win, our win will be challenged.
- Tactics like intimidation and bullying will be used.
- Silence is expected.
Have a voice. Fight back. Train harder. And always, always, get that black belt. You never know when it will come in handy.
p.s. Here’s an article on bullying on CNN. Bullies use all sorts of covert weapons from mean girl intimidation to superior height. Sound familiar? The suggested response? Fight back. Don’t be silent.