The adventures (and non-adventures) of a marginally seasoned attorney.


Friday, March 13, 2015

I was attacked by an ESPN reporter for wanting equal treatment of women

I don't like the sexualization of women in sports broadcasting. While I have zero issue with beautiful women in the media, I do take issue with them being treated as models or objects instead of sports professionals. I tweeted about this to my followers on twitter, but soon thereafter, a woman who is a complete stranger to me entered the conversation and began to attack me.

Unfortunately, this stranger who attacked me turned out to be an ESPN reporter.

For context, this is the conversation I started with my twitter followers:

I was really pleased that I got feedback from my followers on Twitter, especially men. A lot of people agreed that women should be taken seriously for their work and not presented as models. There was a very good dialogue about women in the profession.

During this conversation, Britt McHenry, who I have since learned is a reporter on ESPN, apparently did a search for her name on twitter. Someone had mentioned her name in the conversation. She came into conversation midstream, and misunderstood the point I was trying to make:

I have no issue with smart, beautiful women whatsoever. I tried to clarify my point. I tried to explain to her that I had no issue with beautiful women in the media; my issue was with women being treated as objects and not professionals. I tried to tell her that, as a woman who is in a male-dominated profession, I, too, have to work hard to gain respect as a professional and not a "pretty girl."

I copy and pasted the definition of sexualization that I found on Wikipedia - basically, people being treated as sex objects - to clarify what my issue was. I had not accused her of anything - in fact, I felt I was supporting her by pointing out that she should be respected for her work and not be objectivied.

She apparently missed the point.

This surprised me. I had tried to clarify, but instead she implied I was unattractive (I don't have that one trait she has, according to her), accused me of being demeaning, and called me "more of a hater than the men themselves."

I posted this out to the world because I was pretty upset:

Which she really took offense to and decided to put me down because I'm not present in the public as much as she is:

And then she got downright mean:

While I was trying to have a discussion about an issue that's important to me, this ESPN reporter took the time to seek me out, put me down for being less in the spotlight than her, and calling me a bitter, unsuccessful hater. I called her out after this for being a bully. I stand by my statement.

I'm very fortunate that I'm confident in myself. Although I have a good job and have happy with my appearance, my success is not defined by my achievements or the attention I get, but rather in the actions I take to help other people live happier, safer, more loving lives. What if instead of being a confident adult, I was a young, insecure girl trying to share my thoughts with others? Her words could have seriously damaged a person. I'm actually grateful that she attacked me and not someone else.

McHenry was smart enough to delete her tweets after the fact. She played nice at the end and said she wished me success, but saving face is not the same as taking responsibility for the actions you've taken or making a sincere apology.

If you would like to piece together the entire conversation, my tweets are still up. I won't apologize for standing up for myself and what I think is right.

McHenry retweeted this after our dialogue:

Ironic, isn't it?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Guest Post: Things non-parents say to parents that are fine with me

Yesterday, I posted a non-parent's response to the Scary Mommy blog post "13 Things Non-Parents Should Never Say to Parents." Today, my friend Caleb presents a dad's response. A point/counterpoint, if you will.

Take it away, Caleb:

Parents drive me crazy.  More specifically, blogging parents drive me crazy.  That isn’t to say there aren’t some great parent blogs out there, but when your blog is titled “Scary Mommy” I feel you might be the kind of parent that avoid play dates with.  Additionally, I have two kids – boys, 9 and 4.  I would likely drive myself crazy with my ramblings as well.

This particular entry is neither original, as we’ve seen different iterations of this list countless times in the blogosphere, nor is it an actual portrayal of the attitudes of many (dare I say most) parents.  Since Cupcakes gave us the non-parent response, I wish to give the male parent response.  I hope somebody will give the female parent response as well. 

*disclaimer: I love my kids very much even though a few of my counter points may not sound like it.  Seriously, love them. 

1. Ugh. No way. I don't want to have kids. Like, ever. – Good.  Don’t. Or, do.  You’re choice. If you do have kids, at least remove your rose colored glasses in advance.  I had a friend once who was about a month away from his first being born.  He gave me the normal “I can’t wait…greatest experience…love somebody more than you can ever imagine…blah blah blah sappy sappy blah.” I responded that he’s crazy and he’s about to finally have a deeper understanding of how self-absorbed he really is because the arrival of children is the greatest exposure of personal selfishness ever crafted by nature.

2. What do you mean you haven't seen that movie/heard that song/checked out that new TV series yet? – Frankly, if I haven’t heard of it, it probably sucks anyway.  True, I watch/listen less than I used to, so if I’m going to spend the time on it, then it is going to be really good.  So, actually, I advise non-parents to ask this question to parents often because I think we are actually a pretty good litmus test to measure the quality.

3. You never call anymore. – Take the hint.  Kidding.  Well…..  Truth be told, I wasn’t good at calling you before kids. I can’t blame that on my kids.  That’s just me not being a good friend, and I’m guilty as charged.  My bad.  Oh, and your phone dials out too.

4. We're having a picnic in our backyard, but it's strictly for adults. – The blog mentioned that outdoor events “are things kids could barely screw up even if they tried.” Ha! Are you kidding?! My kids go so far as to screw up their own birthday parties. Please, half the time they aren’t even invited into our own house.  I get it. In fact, this might be the least offensive comment on the list.  Thanks for inviting me, actually, as now we’ve got a chance to get away from the kids.

5. We're thinking about having a baby, so we're getting a puppy first to see if we can handle the job. – Oh, don’t do that.  If you decide that you can handle the job then you’ve just ended up with a dog and a kid. It’s backwards.  Wait on the puppy.  Wait until the kid is old enough to scoop the poop from the yard. 

Sidebar: the idea seems to come across in the original blog that parents are wiser than non-parents.  In some cases, we do have infinite amounts of wisdom, which is why I think these comments aren’t offensive at all, but offer us a chance to throw up some warning flares.  Seriously, though, kid first, dog second.

6. You're not going to start buying mom jeans now, are you? – That just sounds like a non-parent friend looking out for a parent friend. 

7. It must be so relaxing to be at home all day with the kids. – I will disagree with Cupcakes here and say that staying at home with your kids all day is not a luxury. Child-care is the new college tuition and for many parents it actually makes more sense to stay at home and save on child-care than it does to work, particularly with parents of two or more children under the age of five. There was a year where I was paying more in childcare than I was on my mortgage.  It’s rough. Additionally, staying at home all day with my kids every single day would be my personal hell.

8. Don't be so lame! You're kid-free tonight! Light weight... – Drink if you want to drink, don’t if you don’t.  Same with kids, make your choice.  However, if you say this line to me then you’ve just guaranteed that we’re going to get into some shenanigans and the cops may or may not get involved.  That’s not offensive as much as it is a dare.

9. That kid is OUT OF CONTROL! – Yeah, Cupcakes and I may not agree on stay at home parents being a luxury, but we’re on point here.  Seriously, take that out to the parking lot. I either 1) left my kid at home because I know how they will act/react in certain situations or 2) have my kid behaving like a perfect little angel, so I don’t think it is too much to ask you to get your kid in check either.

10. Try to be here on time. – I can’t imagine a non-parent ever saying this to me.  Maybe its just my friends.  If I’ve gone through the trouble of getting a sitter and I have to be home at 11:00, then I promise you I’ll be punctual to whatever it is we’re doing because I’ve got a meter running.  Quite the opposite, actually.  My friends are the type that are “fashionably late” and it drives me crazy.  While they may be able to party until morning, I’ve got deadlines. 

11. I didn't invite you because you never say yes. – That’s funny.  The only reason this would be said to me is if I first asked “why wasn’t I invited?” I’m always invited.  See: Number 8.

12. You look tired. Are you doing okay? – This one is tough actually.  Truth is we are really tired.  Truth is also that at times we aren’t doing okay.  Ask this question only if you really care about the answer, have coffee, and have time to sit and listen.  More people should ask this, actually.

13. Well when I have kids, I'm gonna ____, and my kids will never ______, and the rules will be ________. – We all said it.  All future parents are going to say it too.  This isn’t offensive at all.  In fact, this is the one where all of the current parents nod and say “that’s nice” and laugh hysterically in our heads because we all know how this one plays out. 

People parent differently because people are different.  The dynamics between parents and non-parent friends can be challenging because priorities have to shift if you’re going to be any good at it.  That doesn’t mean that one person’s life is better than the other, or that your friend doesn’t need you anymore or vice versa.  It just requires a shift in your relationships as well and that’s okay.  Nobody needs to write an angry blog about it.  There really isn’t a war between the two breeds as much as the Scary Mommy blog would have you believe.  At least, if there is there shouldn’t be.  Grab that cup of coffee and ask each other how you are doing.

I apologize if some of the thoughts were jumbled or off the mark.  I haven’t thought straight in 9 years.

Caleb Coats hails from the mighty city of Green Forest, Arkansas, and now lives in Colorado with his wife and two kids. The first time Cupcakes drove a car, it was Caleb's, and she almost drove it into the side of a church. She's not sure if he knew about that or not.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Things self-important parents should never tell non-parents not to say to parents

One of my least favorite things the internet has brought about is the self-important parent. The self-important parent claims moral superiority over other parents and ESPECIALLY over those horrible subhumans known as non-parents.  Non-parents aren't allowed to have opinions about kids or whether they should have them, and they definitely aren't allowed to think that your kid who is screaming loudly indoors about some injustice like broccoli could be better behaved. That's because when you give birth, the mommy fairy comes and blesses the self-important parent with infinite knowledge that non-parents will never be able to acquire, bless their hearts.

The self-important parent also feels that they are chronically oppressed. Nevermind that as a thirty-year-old southern Christian woman without children, I'm in the minority and made well aware of the social implications of being childless every day, but hey, what do I know? I haven't been blessed by the mommy fairy's infinite knowledge.

Anywayyyy... Against my better judgment, I clicked on a link called "Things Non-Parents Should Never Say to Parents," a commentary to scold those naughty non-parents who clearly are telling you these things because they are selfish, heartless human beings who can never know the plight of the self-important parent. As a non-parent, I'd like to address each of these statements that I'm not allowed to say to self-important parents:

1. Ugh. No way. I don't want to have kids. Like, ever. - Some people who don't have kids want to have kids someday. Some people never want to have kids. Either is okay. Why do you care about a person's personal choice? I think that says more about you than them.

2. What do you mean you haven't seen that movie/heard that song/checked out that new TV series yet? - You'd probably find it even more offensive if I assumed you were completely disconnected from everything, so this one is a lose-lose for the naughty non-parents.

3. You never call anymore. - If you're honestly telling me that you can't set aside 10 minutes every two weeks to call a friend - or even multitask during those 10 minutes every two weeks - then I don't know why ANYONE would want to have kids. I'm sure that raising a very young child is hard, but there comes a point when I don't believe that excuse anymore.

4. We're having a picnic in our backyard, but it's strictly for adults. - If a host doesn't want kids at their house, then they shouldn't be forced to have your kids there. Your friend will understand if you don't come, but don't be a jerk about it because they'll stop inviting you altogether.

5. We're thinking about having a baby, so we're getting a puppy first to see if we can handle the job. - I don't think anyone actually thinks they are the same. But if they do, to each their own. Most people don't know what they're doing when they first have a kid, let's be honest, but the human race has managed to survive.

6. You're not going to start buying mom jeans now, are you? I've never heard anyone say this to anyone ever. But seriously, don't buy mom jeans.

7. It must be so relaxing to be at home all day with the kids. - A lot of people would love to have the luxury to be a stay-at-home parent - and yes, it is a luxury.

8. Don't be so lame! You're kid-free tonight! Light weight... - Your non-parent friends were nice enough to invite you out even though you've made it clear that you think they are heartless horrible subhumans, so cut 'em a break. But seriously, I have many parent friends who stay out late every now and then and are also awesome parents, so it's not immoral of me to ask you to get another drink. 

9. That kid is OUT OF CONTROL! - Well, he is.

10. Try to be here on time. - I think an episode of Friends sums this up the best. Ross tells Rachel they need to leave for the movies at a certain time. She yells "NO! Why do we always have to be on your schedule?" To which Ross replies "It's not my schedule, it's the theater's schedule." Sometimes things require us to be on someone else's schedule - and many times, that is not your child's schedule.

11. I didn't invite you because you never say yes. - I'm lying. I didn't invite you because you told me you didn't even have time to talk to me on the phone.

12. You look tired. Are you doing okay? - HOW DARE YOU ASK ME HOW I'M DOING YOU NAUGHTY NON-PARENT! 

13. Well when I have kids, I'm gonna ____, and my kids will never ______, and the rules will be ________. - Let me fill in the blanks, gal who wrote the original post. When I have kids, I'm gonna be respectful of my friends who choose not to have kids, and my kids will never be used as a reason for me to claim moral superiority, and the rules will probably change over time, but I want my kids to learn how to be kind while still sticking up for themselves. Cool? Cool. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The SEC Family Gathering

The SEC is family - a family that is quick to defend its name, especially when anyone claims that the SEC isn't the absolute best in the whole dang country. However, even the best of families have a little bit of crazy thrown in the mix somewhere, and I think if each SEC school was a real member of a real family, we'd have one disfunctional mess of a Thanksgiving gathering this year.

It might be a bit scary to think about how that family gathering might go, but it's fun to play around with the idea. So with that, I introduce you to the members of your SEC family, based on the personalities of the teams and the fan bases:

Arkansas: The conspiracy theorist uncle - Arkansas always thinks that someone is out to get him - especially the media. He spends hours on the internet developing his theories and sharing them with others. He has lots of guns in his house to protect him from Obama's America.

Alabama: Your arrogant, successful brother that divides the family - About half of the family tolerates him because they think he makes them cool by association. The other half is tired of his crap and wishes he'd fall of the face of the earth.

Auburn: The whiney child - Auburn is that punk kid in the family who makes up some story that his brother hit him, and then he runs and tells mommy how mean his brother was. For whatever aggravating reason, mommy always believes him.

LSU: Your cousin that's always in jail - Look, I'm not saying that he's done stuff worthy of federal prison, but he's not exactly doing "Oh, he's being a dumb kid" crimes like being drunk in public. More like slashing tires and throwing urine on people. You always have to worry about him getting into a fist fight at family gatherings (and being late, too).

Texas A&M: The one no one likes to talk about - He's technically still a member of the family, but he doesn't really fit in, he lives far away, and he has a lot of embarrassing rituals. You think he might actually be a part of a cult.

Kentucky: Your other successful brother that doesn't divide the family - Kentucky is just as successful as Alabama - though in different ways - but he doesn't seem to tick off the family like Alabama does.

Vanderbilt: Your smart cousin (but no one is actually sure what he does for a living) - You know that your cousin is smart. Like really freakin' smart. No one actually understands what he does, though. He's kind of antisocial but everyone gets along with him.

Georgia: Your boring in-law - I mean, he's always at family gatherings, and he's a good enough guy, but no one really has a strong opinion about him either way.

Florida: The sleazy one that all the kids hate - Screw you, Florida. (Unless you're in the title game against a Big XII team, but otherwise, screw you).

Mizzou: The unsuccessful brother with a sense of entitlement - Mizzou hasn't really done much in his life, but you'd never know that from talking to him. He also knows more than you do.

Ole Miss: Your pretentious aunt - We get it. You use cloth napkins at your tailgates. Also - HAHAHAHA Houston Nutt HAHAHAHA.

Mississippi State: Your unpretentious aunt who hates your pretentious aunt - But no one actually hates Mississippi State, even though she's noisy and annoying.

South Carolina: Your sweet little sister - South Carolina is just the sweetest. South Carolina never says a harsh word to her enemies (even when they probably deserve some harsh words). However, even though South Carolina is the nicest, she's actually pretty competitive, albeit inconsistently.

Tennessee: Your divorced uncle - Bless his heart. You used to think he was a jerk, but then he fell on hard times and now you actually feel bad for him. Don't worry, though. Once he gets back on his feet, he'll be the good ol' jerk that you always knew. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The internet is really, really excited that fall is here. If you're feeling left out in the celebration, don't worry! I've created a step-by-step guide on taking the PERFECT fall selfie to post to Instagram so you can be a part of the party, too!

First, you've got to make sure you look don't look like total crap.

Then, you've got to put on a scarf, because it's colder outside and all. I actually couldn't find a scarf when I took this, so I wrapped a pair of yoga pants around my neck.

Next, you've got to hold a cup of coffee. It needs to be in a disposable cup so people will know that you purchased it and that it's full of cool fall stuff like pumpkin spice and ginger and red leaves and college football or whatever other fall thing you can fit in there.

Then you've got to give the camera the "scrunch your lips over to one side so you look quirky and fun" look. 

After you've got the look nailed down, you need to take it OUTSIDE. That's where fall lives, you know.

Take your picture. Then, filter the crap out of it.

Okay, this is the important part. You've got to add lots of stuff to the photo. Leaves are good. A frame is good. An inspirational word is REALLY good. I picked the word "happiness" because it's important to be happy (and also because the first time I read that script, I thought it said "flappiness"). I put it in the center so everyone knows how happy I am.

Okay, now you're ready to post your photo to Instagram! Make sure you've got a lot of hashtags so everyone can find your awesome fall selfie!

I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little disappointed that the orange notification covered up my "#bieber" hashtag.

Okay, y'all. Time to post YOUR fall instagram selfies. Put your insta account name in the comments so we can find your lovely pics!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Becoming Royal

The story of how everyone's favorite Royals' fan, SungWoo Lee, became a fan of the team is pretty amazing. But learning his story made me curious as to how other people - not just people who grew up in the Kansas City metro - became fans. I posed the question to twitter: "How did you become a Royals fan?" Several folks were kind enough to send me their stories.


There’s the easy biographical answers for the three times I became a Royals fan. I was born to it: a son of Royals fans in Albuquerque, coming home from the hospital in a handstitched KC cap in the fall of ’85. I chose it: a seven-year-old, drawing Mark Gubicza in my first pack of baseball cards. And it saved me: a homesick student abroad, rediscovering the Royals to connect myself with a sense of home.

As loyal as I am to the club, I could insert any other baseball team into that biography and the story would read the same. Hell, I cheered for plenty of teams in other sports as a kid—I had to, without any professional sports less than seven hours away—and none of them stuck.

But I never stopped wearing a KC cap. I wore out that first homemade number and a progression of kiddie-sized versions. Once my skull stopped growing, I invested in a fitted cap. I kept wearing it even when I stopped paying attention to baseball, oh, right about when I discovered that women have awesome lady-parts. And it’s still alive only because I wash it by hand every few years to uncover the remaining blue dye.

I’ve tried a couple newfangled Royals lids whose attitudes don’t fit right. The wool fashion is old-school these days, which suits me fine. My old cap and I stick together, and not just because the gnarly sweat stains are tacky as glue.

It’s easy to root for a pristine ballclub, as easy as it is to buy a new cap. But hanging tight through the grime and the muck adds emotion to the ride. When the Royals triumph in the World Series, the tears will taste sweeter. But I’m not just sitting around hoping for a championship. I’m a Royals fan every day, because life is grungy and love shouldn’t be easy. Besides, I’ve put too much sweat into this cap to switch teams now.


I was born and raised in Garden City, KS, way down in southwest Kansas where baseball is more of a secondary sport to football and basketball. At least in high school, anyway. But it's still prevalent for the younger kids to som extent. I digress.
I played T-ball when I was really young, and I would've been 2 when the Royals won the World Series, so it's plausible that any interest I had in the game from the start was the result of their only real success, ever. But beyond that, it's hard to place how I became a fan. I remember having hundreds of baseball cards, and when Bo Jackson got released from the Royals (which I thought was the most insane thing they could've done at the time). I did T-ball for a few years when I was around 6 or 7, but that's all. I never did organized baseball or softball after that, and haven't since.
I didn't pay much attention to MLB during the 90s, but at the end of high school, I started getting a small interest back in the Royals after a friend took me to my first game sometime around 1997 or 98. When I graduated and went to college, it started to get a little "serious" (if you will), and after going to another game or two around 2004/05, I finally called myself a Roys fan.
I left college in 2009, and after I moved home in early 2010, I started watching the games on a routine basis with plans to move to KC later that year. My girlfriend and I moved in together that year, and it's pretty much turned into me fully assimilating everything about Kansas City culture there is in as much time since. My now fiancĂ©  is a lifelong Cubs fan, so I think she gets it to some extent.


Despite living in southwest Missouri, some three hours away from the closest major league city, I initially became a Kansas City Royals fan in large part because, well, it was the closest major league city.
As a 5-year-old with an avid softball-playing father, I naturally asked him one day what baseball team he rooted for. I knew he was a huge Chiefs fan, but he never really expressed his baseball love.
"Well, I always liked watching the Royals because they're close to where we live," he said. "They won the World Series the year you were born, you know."
Suddenly, I needed to learn more about this team ... our team. Around this time, about 1990, I began collecting baseball cards. Mom and dad would buy me wax packs from Walmart and I'd rip them in the car looking for players I'd heard of on the local news. We didn't have cable or internet, of course, so rarely did I ever have a chance to watch baseball games. So when I found a card of a Royals player, I'd memorize his stats on the back. Like that, I became a "fan."
I finally got to attend my first game when I was nine. A kid I played all-stars with scored free tickets for the entire team through his grandma, who worked for the Royals.
I'll never forget that game. Sept. 5, 1995 against the Toronto Blue Jays. My favorite Royals player, Wally Joyner, whom I had tons of cards, started at first base and hit a booming homer onto the grass berm in center. Mark Gubicza, another highly collectible guy, started on the mound.
I saw homers from Joe Carter and a young Carlos Delgado that night, but the Joyner homer and walk-off shot by Bob Hamelin in extras sent me home a winner and a definite Royals fan forever.
I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, so obviously my first sport obsession was college football. However, as a tall, but lanky and terribly skinny kid, football was much more fun for me to watch than play. Enter baseball into my life. Baseball I loved playing. And watching. And reading about. As I lived about 3 hours from Kansas City, the Royals were our de facto professional baseball home team. I remember seeing highlights from their games on the local news from a very early age. (At least, back then, there were a decent number of highlights. Most of my life, the lights haven’t been so high.) The games were almost all carried on local radio, so most evenings during childhood I would drift off to sleep listening to games. The radio station would even do contests, giving away gift certificates to local restaurants if you were the 10th caller after a Royals home run, so I’d listen intently until I couldn't stay awake any longer. My fondest Royals memory was probably having my dad wake me up waaay too early one morning so we could meet Bret Saberhagen and Tom Gordon during a promotional stop in town. I still have their autographed baseball cards among the hundred or so George Brett cards I've collected over the years. I keep holding out hope for another Royals postseason appearance since now I’m old enough to appreciate it more than the last one.


Memory can be flexible, so this is probably not how the story actually went, but it's how I remember it, so it's how it went.

It was fall of 1985. The World Series was on TV. I knew my letters by then, so when the R H E of the score came on going to a commercial, I asked my dad what they meant. He provided a basic explanation of things and that was how I first encountered baseball.

The Royals went on to win the World Series of course, and growing up in Kansas, having "Kansas" anything getting mentioned on the news was cool to me. Even if it was "Kansas" City. That's how I first learned about the Royals and names like George Brett.

So when a kid asked me at school a couple of years later who my favorite baseball player was, the only name that came to mind was George Brett. I didn't have a George Brett baseball card, though, but I did have other players. I probably got ripped off on the trade, but he offered me one Brett card for six A's cards. I agreed, dug through and found some A's cards, and we made the exchange at school the next day. I was the proud owner of one George Brett 1986 Topps card that looked like it had been wadded up into a pocket and put into the wash. And it was my favorite thing. I still have that card.

After that, I started looking at the backs of baseball cards more and learned more about the numbers and got a better sense of who was actually good. Then, by 1988, I recognized some of the names on a Royals caravan. My uncle came into town and took me along to the Mall. On a stage sat Paul Splittorff, John Mayberry, and Jerry Don Gleaton. The next day, my uncle took me to a baseball card shop and we got a photo of George Brett and Bo Jackson standing together. As I remember it, that was the year that our area started to get Royals road game TV broadcasts, so I could see the games and players I was learning about.

Back then, the Rockies weren't around, and the Rangers were way too far. I grew up four hours from Kansas City but it was the closest baseball destination. I'd been to a Royals game once before, but I was only three years old, so I don't remember it other than what's in photos. In 1989, we made it back. It was scheduled to be Picture Day on the field. We got lost. I never made it to the picture part of the pregame. Worse? George Brett had the day off. But the Royals won.

By 1989, I'd also discovered what station broadcast the Royals on radio, which covered the home games that TV wouldn't cover.

And there was no turning back from there.


My story is probably a little different than most.  I was born in Southern California in 1988, so just a few years removed from the World Series win.  Both of my parents were originally from Kansas City where they both lived all their lives until my dad became an officer in the Marine Corps.  We moved around a lot so I lived in CA, VA, back to CA, actually to London, England for a few years during High School, and then to St. Louis, MO where I finished high school and went to Mizzou.  Growing up my brother and I were raised as Chiefs and Royals fans.  I always remember watching Chiefs games on Sunday with my dad when they would be on tv, but watching Royals games didn't happen much since they  were sooooo bad during the 90s.  I was always a fan of the Royals, but didn't follow them that much until I lived in London when I was older(8-10th grade), I would say my interest really peeked when I had moved back America to St. Louis.  I never had any problem with the Cardinals, I really only ever hated the Yankees.  However it only took a few months for my hatred for them and mainly their fans to grow and I really started to rep the Royals. People would always ask me why or how I was a Royals fan.  I would explain how my parents and entire family is from there, but there was more to that.  My brother and I thought about it once when talking with some friends.  We didn't really chose to root for the KC felt more like they chose us.  Something about it just felt right, so we've always been a part of the KC area in that aspect.
 Last year was a really special year for me, because it was the first time I actually remembered a winning season.  I remember 2003 and how they won the first 11 games, but I was in London at the time and I didn't think it really counted.  I could actually watch the games last year ( we get my dad the MLB at bat app since my parents actually live in Italy now so he can watch the games, and I can use it too since I'm in STL).

So that's pretty much my story.  Don't think I could pin it down to one exact moment, but more of something that was spread over 2 decades.


I was born in central Florida in 83 and have spent my whole life here, for the most part.
I became a Royals fan because my dad is one. He was born in KC, mom was born in Leavenworth. Would say 95% of my relatives still live in the area. Parents moved to Winter Haven, FL back in the 70s and I’ve grabbed onto the sports teams from the area (Royals, Chiefs, Jayhawks), even though the only local team my parents follow is the Royals.
I love the Royals, watch almost every game through and talk about them with my dad everyday. If we ever win the World Series, I’ll probably cry tears of joy and call my dad.
And finally, my story:
I always write about baseball somewhat romantically, but that's because I'm genuinely a baseball romantic. I grew up in a small town in Arkansas that's equidistant to Kansas City and St. Louis, and for whatever reason, my parents decided that the Royals would be the team I would grow up watching. I lived in Cardinals country, and my dad grew up a Cardinals fan, but starting in 1988 or 1989, my parents took me to my first Royals game. The Royals became my team from that game forward. I latched onto them, and it never even occurred to me that I could be a fan of another team.
My earliest memory of the Royals was of Bo Jackson breaking his bat at a game. Three times in one game, to be exact (or, at least that's how I remembered it), and I told everyone I knew about it, including at church. I was young enough that the most fascinating things at Kauffman were the scoreboard lights and the various treats, but I loved Bo. When I grew older (but still itty bitty), I put Bo in the prayer requests at church when he got hurt. I was confused when he was no longer a Royal. To me, Bo Jackson was the Kansas City Royals, but the team had to move on, and so did I.
I really didn't have a true appreciation of the game until junior high. Damon, Beltran, and Dye were dominating the lineup - as much as any Royal could at that time - and that's when I decided I wanted to know everything I could about the game. I became obsessed with baseball. These were still the days before high speed internet, so I read the newspaper every day for game summaries. I could tell you the stats of every Royal. I started watching Baseball Tonight, and every morning during baseball season in high school when I woke up, I'd roll over, grab the remote before I'd even opened my eyes, and turn the TV on (it was always on ESPN) to see Royals highlights.
I continued my fandom throughout college - although I spent less time on it, because college is time consuming, y'all. Because the University of Arkansas wasn't exactly a haven for Royals fans, any Royals fan I met became my instant friend. I met my friend Andy my freshman year when I was walking around the dorm and saw someone had a George Brett poster in his room. I walked into his room and told him I loved his poster. Andy and I are good friends to this day.
In law school, my fandom evolved. I genuinely loved the game, but because of this new fancy thing called twitter, I was able to enjoy the community of Royals baseball starting my 2L year. The Royals team and Royals twitter became a great comfort for me, especially while I was preparing for the bar exam. I would quit studying each night when the Royals game came on TV, which meant that I'd be studying longer when the team was on the west coast. I'd still study a little bit when Davies was pitching. I didn't dare study when Greinke was pitching. I loved the chatter on twitter surrounding the game, and I always had a couple of cents to post.
I've been fortunate to meet many in the Royals community after becoming a lawyer, and I love that I can go to any game now on a whim (a four-hour drive whim, mind you) and know that I'll have friends there. I love this team, and being a part of a community has added to my experience tremendously.
I can't imagine supporting any other baseball team. Being a Royals fan is part of my identity.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Not-Really-Rape Culture

Rape Culture is a misnamed concept because most Rape Culture deniers are against rape in some forms. Most people think it's wrong to pull a person off the street and attack them, most people are against perverts raping young children.... and so on. Rape Culture deniers think these things are absolutely horrendous.

And I'll even give people the benefit of the doubt and say most people would at least say that "date rape" - rape where the victim knows the attacker, which makes up the VAST majority of rape - is a terrible thing, too. I think many people say date rape is bad just because it has the word "rape" in it, though, and rape brings up of images of a woman being violently attacked, fighting back against an evil person, but ultimately losing the fight.

Rape doesn't always look like that.

I think what we have is a Not-Really-Rape Culture. We have a culture where we think rape is acceptable in certain circumstances because sometimes, rape isn't actually rape. Here are some examples of things that I've actually heard regarding the concept of Not-Really-Rape:

1. She didn't fight back. If you don't fight back, then you have no right to say you've been raped because defending yourself is your right and responsibility.
2. She didn't call the police. If she had actually been raped, she would have done that immediately. And if she decided to call the police later, she's making it up.
3. Well maybe if she didn't go out looking like that and hang all over that guy, he wouldn't have thought she wanted to have sex. It's her fault.
4. She kept on sleeping with the guy! She couldn't have been raped by him.

All of these ideas are very dangerous. In accepting these to be true, we make false assumptions about how rape affects its victims and we allow rape to become socially acceptable because it's "not really rape."

What would happen if we changed our perspectives? Is it possible that each of these scenarios involved a rape? Let's look at each one of those assumptions:

1. She didn't fight back. Rape victims fight back. 

She didn't physically fight back because she froze. Freezing was her mind's way of providing a defense mechanism. Rape victims don't always fight back physically because mentally, they can't. 
She had verbally told him no repeatedly, but he wouldn't stop. 

2. She didn't call the police. If she had actually been raped, she would have done that immediately. And if she decided to call the police later, she's making it up. 

She didn't call the police because she was humiliated about what happened, and she didn't want to tell anyone. She didn't get the courage to tell anyone until months later, and even then, she still thought it was her own fault for not fighting back, so she didn't think it was rape.

3. Well maybe if she didn't go out looking like that and hang all over that guy, he wouldn't have thought she wanted to have sex. It's her fault. 

She wanted to look nice and flirt with that guy because she really liked the guy. She wanted to get his attention. Being attracted to him didn't mean that she wanted to have sex with him that night, though.  She told him she didn't want to have sex very clearly. Multiple times. But he did it anyway. 

4. She kept on sleeping with the guy! She couldn't have been raped by him. 

The victim had consensual sex with her attacker after he raped her because it was a way for her to regain control that he took away from her. 

These aren't hypotheticals. Each one of these situations really happened. And each time someone angrily proclaims that these situations are "not really rape," that victim is being punished for being subjected to one of the most humiliating, damaging things that can happen to a person. 

So what do we do to get out of this Not-Really-Rape Culture? I don't think there's a simple answer, but I think it starts with recognizing that rape is not "supposed" to look a certain way and with realizing that we're in no position to tell a victim what their rape "should have" looked like. Once we allow ourselves to make those mental shifts, we'll be in a better position to move forward.