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The Badass Inside

“Take him out, Coach!” — I yell across the gym.

It was more of a wail than a directive, “him” being my son and “Coach” being my husband. Reed is playing basketball and has just taken a spill. He is all right, but my heart is pounding, as he is playing injured tonight. Earlier in the day he’d had his chin sewn up, thanks to a fall off his bike. He’s been complaining of road rash elsewhere on his body, but not enough to sit out his game. He loves basketball more than just about anything.

I am so afraid Reed will bonk his chin on the court. The thought itself makes me wince.

My request sets off the 16 year-old girl sitting on the bleachers in front of me.  She leans over to her mom and says something I don’t catch. But my daughter hears her “Eff You, Bee” remark. Defending my honor, Tessa rises to the bait: “Don’t be rude!”

The girl’s mom, as if spring-loaded, lays into Tessa, “YOU’RE BEING RUDE! Shut your effing mouth!”

Never one to back down, Tessa matches the woman expletive-for-expletive. All while I’m trying to get my daughter to hear my more moderated voice directly in her ear, “It’s OK. Stand down. De-escalate. Stop. It’s all right, Sweetie.”

The inflamed woman is now inviting 13 year-oldTessa to take it outside. It’s taken only about 4 seconds to get from my “Take him out, Coach!” to the mom’s  “Ya wanna go at me!? Let’s go outside! Let’s go!” The woman is practically beating her chest at my daughter.

My own mom gets involved at this point, touching the woman on her sleeve and saying, “C’mon. You’re the adult here. Let’s calm things down.”

That douses the woman’s ire. She sits back down and we don’t hear from her or her daughter for the rest of the game.

My entire body is pulsing with adrenaline, and my brain races to to make sense of what’s just happened. The daughter must have thought that I was calling for the OTHER coach to take out HER brother, who was on the OPPOSing team. She knee-jerked based on a faulty assumption, and before anyone knew what was happening, she and her mom were ready to fight. Like really fight!

I feel my blood start to boil. I envision my formerly peaceful self doing all sort of uncharacteristic things. I’m sizing these two up, determining that, in fact, I CAN take them. At least the mom. All those turbo-kickboxing classes are about to pay off. Tessa can totally take the daughter. I even fantasize a scene in which I say, not even in my own voice, I’ma cut you! (as if I even had a knife on me). I’m debating whether my first blow will be a jab or a roundhouse kick and just how much damage it will do on impact.

Damn, I’ve got a badass inside me!


Our team is winning, and Tessa and I gleefully cheer obnoxiously loud at each basket made by our boys. At the final buzzer we have won by 9 friggin points. Take that b*tches!


Have you ever had your dormant pugilist awakened?


This post is a part of #Microblog Mondays. What’s that? A post that is not too long. Head over to Stirrup Queens to join the fun.

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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15 Responses

  1. Oh my gosh, what is WRONG with people that they would curse out a teenager and offer to “take it outside???” This is horrifying to me! I am glad you have your inner badass, I’m glad your mom shamed the woman into realizing that SHE is the adult and should not be encouraging that chest-beating behavior (I totally saw this as that scene in Mean Girls where all the students become jungle animals), I’m glad nobody went outside. Sheesh! And all for a misunderstanding over who was to be taken out of the game. Ugh.

  2. That’s unbelievable but having had one daughter heavily into sports since kindergarten, I’ve seen it all in our small town. Enough so that it wasn’t even fun to go and watch her play because of the very poor attitudes and behaviors of some of the parents, not the kids. I like hugs better than fists :).

  3. Holy moley! Talk about being in the wrong. I hear you with the sizing and feeling adrenaline. When someone challenges you in such a terrible way, it’s natural to want to attack. Glad the best way to handle the situation was simply to cheer on Reed!

  4. Every single day 🙂 Hence why I wear steel-toed boots; even in summer.

    But really, escalating it to curse words even if you were calling out the other kid instead of your own child? That still seems a little extreme for kids playing a low-stakes sport.

  5. Wow, that is intense! I suspect I’ll prefer the preschool stage of parenting where my only interaction with other parents is nodding in the hallway between drop-offs.

  6. I’d go for the roundhouse. Has the element of surprise.

    I can’t believe they said that to you. And to T. WTF?! And worse, that the PARENT was the one escalating things with your DAUGHTER. Wouldn’t she have wanted the same for her son? Here’s one of those situations in which I wish (roundhouse aside) I had a magic “empathy” button, so you didn’t have to explain yourself.

    But yes, I’ve stood in those shoes. Seething. Ready to kick a**. Glad that you managed to walk the high road.

  7. My money would have TOTALLY been on you and Tessa! And yes, often during TKD classes I have secret fantasies of using my new found punching and kicking power on a certain family member who completely deserves several punches to the head!

  8. Omg! I thought the next part of the story was that woman turned around and slapped your mom! Well, if it’s any consolation, had you all been male, there probably would have been a brawl in the stands. I would not have reacted well myself to someone cursing out my daughter. You’re a wise woman. You’re a mama bear, that’s all, we’d all fight for our kids. I had a little moment with my son’s teacher yesterday and my inner scary woman came out for a couple of seconds. That’s why it’s good to go the gym!

  9. Wow. It’s mind boggling to think a grown woman would try goading a 13 year old girl into a physical fight, especially when she’s a mom herself. Really?

    I don’t blame you for the adrenalin rush and instinct to protect.

  10. Too funny! My kids play competitive soccer and I once heard a guy yell: “Take her down Livie!” Yeah, they were 10. I think I would always lead with the roundhouse…:)

  11. I can see why they sometimes ban parents from sporting events…

    Crazy people are everywhere. I tend more towards the verbal rather than the physical. So I would imagine myself delivering cutting remarks that shame the woman to the point where she had to leave. 🙂

  12. I love this post for so many reasons…especially the kick-boxing classes coming in handy for your bad-ass-self. Too funny! Too effing funny!!!

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