Manly crying exists with tears of the son
By Joe Black | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It hasn’t been that long since the Maryville vs. Whitehaven football state championship game. I remember vividly the tears shed by many of the Rebels ... their dreams crushed.
Those were honest tears. Any athlete will have that one thing-that one event that they dream of. An Olympic Gold Medal. A national championship.
I’ve got a confession to make. Yeah, I’ve made ‘em here before.
Usually something embarrassing or at the very least personally cleansing. I’m not sure what category this one falls under.
I’m a softie. I cry easily.
Now I’ve said it. It isn’t a very manly-man thing to say but it is honest. And if I can’t be honest here, then what’s the point? I find that as I get older that it is easier to be totally honest.
So when I watched those young men leave the field, I choked up a little. Not for me.
Heaven knows I’ve had the blessing of so many of those same games on the winning side.
It was more because after spending months with these guys, their pain became my pain.
But I do get emotional easily.
“Marley and Me?”
Cried like a baby. Don’t even let me in the room if “My Sister’s Keeper” is on.
Those Lifetime movies that my wife loves to watch? If they aren’t so obvious or the malady-of-the-day, I can easily find myself getting choked up.
So why admit all this now? My latest grandchild was born 8 weeks ago. Born prematurely, he is just now reaching his due date.
He was so tiny at birth — only 3 pounds, 21⁄2 ounces — he spent a month in the NICU at Children’s Hospital but I already wrote about that.
This has been an eventful affair — certainly an emotional roller coaster. But he’s here and he’s fine (7 pounds and 2 ounces just this week) and now we can look forward to watching him become the man that he will be.
And along the way I want him to know that it is OK to feel emotion. I want him to be able to feel deeply and to love unconditionally.
And that means to be honest with his emotions.
I remember the time that my own dad cried in public.
Maybe it was the first time — it was certainly the first time that I ever saw him.
It was at UT-Knoxville and I was getting an award that I was determined to blow off when a respected and kindly professor insisted that not only would I be there, but my parents would be too.
Keep in mind that my dad quit school after the sixth grade to go to work in a textile mill to support his fatherless family.
So here I am, not only about to graduate from college but getting some recognition for academic efforts.
So I get the award and hear the applause and I’m still pretty casual about the whole thing but then I turned to return to my seat and here was my dad, crying like a baby.
And it was at that moment that it hit me that this had nothing to do with me but had everything to do with his dreams and aspirations for his only son.
You see, it’s not always about me.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (email@example.com)