Protect your parts

We’ve signed our kindergartener up for soccer this spring. It seemed like a good deal until we realized we had to buy him a jersey, a ball, spiked shoes, and shin guards. I don’t know if we were required to get the shoes, but everything came as a package at the sporting goods store. They saw us coming from miles away.

The shin guards were deemed essential. I suppose this is the way of the world, but it struck me as overkill. I played after-school soccer in elementary school, and we never entertained the idea of protecting our shins. Naked shins were part of the competition. If you couldn’t kick the ball, you compensated by nailing another kid in the shin. Likewise, you had to be aware of your surroundings, inasmuch as they contained other kids’ shoes. After limping home a few times, you learned to pay attention to the game.

I don’t think kids have changed. This smells like adults fearing liability. I’m confident my son will learn to hate wearing shin guards after 30 seconds. They will watch his soccer matches from the trunk of the car. He’ll get kicked in the shin, it will hurt, and maybe he’ll learn to move a little quicker when an expensive soccer shoe is sailing toward him. The thing for the courts to know is that his parents were warned to properly equip him.

putting on shin gaurds

This is how we put on our new shin guards.

shin kickin'

And this is why we put them on. Forget soccer, Daddy could use a pair of these for walking around the house.

I played a lot of baseball when I was young. I already had a glove when I started Little League, so the only thing my mother ever had to buy me was a jock strap. I was her fourth son, but the only one she ever had to buy a cup for. I wonder if she realized her good fortune.

For some reason, we didn’t need a cup to play our regular season. Around July, the coaches chose an All Star team from our town to play against neighboring towns. For this we needed to wear cups, because outsiders would certainly be less considerate of our collective loins than friends and neighbors were.

My mom was inexperienced at selecting such equipment. Consequently, she presented me, at age 10, with an adult cup. I didn’t know the difference; all I knew was that it was difficult to walk, let alone run, wearing that monster. This was not the problem it might have been as I was not much of an All Star. There was little call for me to do much running in the dugout. Through the games, I, and my man-sized bulge, kept company at the end of the bench. Thank goodness, I never had to waddle out into the light of day and play ball in that condition.

Paba Bear and Baby Bear

Size matters – when you’ve got to fit that thing in your pants.

By the next season, we figured out our mistake. I got the appropriate equipment and was able to ride the bench in relative comfort. So I guess the second cup was worth the money. I hope we get that much value out of my son’s shin guards.


25 comments on “Protect your parts

  1. tom w says:

    Obviously, your mom had high hopes for you. Just like when she bought a too big school outfit
    , “Oh he will grow into it in a few months”.

  2. Oh god. Kindergarten soccer is the worst. And ironically, my son hates wearing the shin guards for soccer, but loves wearing them at any other time. To be honest, his shins probably need more protection during is regular daily play than during the absolute nothing he does on the soccer field.

    Have fun!

  3. Julie says:

    Shin guards? Isn’t soccer just a bunch of running? If I had a boy, I can see myself accidently buying him a man’s size cup. It would make a good blog post.

  4. I think you can wrap a couple newspapers around your son’s shins for shin guards, try the same thing when baseball season starts. Everybody’s all about recycling these days, you might start a trend and save lots of money. You could become a parent-hero, or people might just think you’re weird.

  5. yearstricken says:

    I think SOTS is on to something (or possibly just on something). Paper shin guards and paper cups. 🙂

  6. pieterk515 says:

    Hopefully by now you require the man size box…;-)

  7. Traci says:

    We really are to the point of bubble-wrapping our kids. I used to climb trees every day during my childhood summers. I wonder what outfitting that now requires (that will profit the sporting goods stores). I think carabineers and repelling gear would be a must.

  8. Andrew says:

    I never wore a cup during little league, and I was catcher. So thank god I can still pee straight. You’re clearly a good parent. I don’t remember my parents buying anything except for a glove. And now that I think about it, mine was actually a hand me down. So never mind. I owe them a talking too…

  9. Lol, good God, I remember having to wear a protective cup as a kid. I hated it and I think my dad was the only one who made his kid do so. Geez dad, my nuts are the size of raisins but whatever. The shin guards are mandatory every where now I guess. I hated wearing them. THey made us wear them in high school and college as well.

  10. Jeff says:

    I played little league catcher two seasons without a cup, it’s a miracle that a wild pitch, or foul tip didn’t smash my nads. The last baseball season I played ball puberty hit and I was too embarrassed to ask my parents for a men’s size athletic cup, the youth model didn’t provide enough ‘coverage’. Talking to your mom about jockstraps is never an easy topic for either party.

    • You really don’t want to discuss the cup size you need with your mom. And a cup isn’t really the kind of thing you want to save up to buy on your own, is it?

      • Jeff says:

        Funny you should ask, a few games into the season I went to Sears and purchased an adult cup and supporter with my hard earned money. Having a female clerk ring up my ‘nut cup’ was almost as embarrassing as shopping for the first cup with my mother. Or, getting my first regular jockstrap for 7th grade basketball in a packed sporting goods store. Dad managed to miss these magical moments with my mom and a salesperson finding the correct type and size jock to support and protect my gonads. It’s amazing the level of detail one can remember on such a taboo topic.

        When you have an undergarment that has a 3″ wide waistband, two leg straps, and a pouch that you slide a hard plastic cup into, there is no denying what you are protecting. I think this is part of the reason most little league players now wear compression shorts with a cup pocket rather than an athletic supporter.

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