put me in, coach
i was going to do a breezy high school football post today -- about my son, the halfback trapped in a tackle's body -- but got a wakeup call from a pubcrim colleague.
some of you might have seen my public criminology site with michelle inderbitzin and sara wakefield, which recently became a contexts blog. today, michelle shared a powerful op-ed piece by one of her inside-out students at oregon state penitentiary. like me, the man worries about his teenage son. unlike me, the man is stuck behind bars and can't do much to help his son address some urgent problems. an excerpt:
I am not looking to the community to help me, I am a grown man and I have made my decisions. I am asking for help for a child who is a part of Oregon’s community. His arrests have been for assault (fighting with his brother), stealing, and possession of marijuana. He has problems with anger. His mom left when he was a baby, he constantly battles with his cerebral palsy, he has had several operations on his legs, and his father is in prison. Wouldn’t you be angry if it was you?
tor and i have our moments, of course, but in comparison ... there is no comparison. i simply can't imagine what it would be like to watch him struggle from a distance. we've both got a few worries, i suppose, but thus far we've taken our freedom and our health for granted. now he's gearing up for his senior football season and i'm gearing up to share some friday night lights with him.
he's usually smiling these days, even (or especially) when lobbying the running backs coach for a few goal-line carries. but i try to imagine how he'd feel if i was in prison, his mom had left him, and he was too sick to play ball. yeah, i bet he'd be angry too.