Once when I was but a wee undersized underdeveloped bespectacled quiet shy unassuming wallflower of a small child (about 6th grade I believe)...
I used to get picked on quite regularly.
I was the ideal target – smallest boy in my class and – well, you saw the description above.
One day I was on the bus on my way to school, and some lowlife behind me snagged my hat.
I took a quick look around but of course, but all I spotted was snickering.
Bullies always want you to chase the hat and make a fool of yourself. This time around though, I had other plans.
I ignored the snickering behind me, and the calls to find my hat, and pretended like nothing had happened – like I didn’t have a care in the world.
The bus finally came to a stop at the school, and I made my move.
I quickly slid into the aisle, making sure everyone sitting in front of me could get off the bus (nobody in front of me took my hat, after all) – and BLOCKED THE AISLE.
Some of the lowlifes behind me (yes, there were several) tried to push past me – but I had leverage. Both tiny hands grasping tightly to the seats on both sides, and my small 65 lb frame blocking the way.
Meantime, all the kids in the seats ahead of me and across from me had filed neatly off the bus.
About now the low lifes were getting restless, realizing their situation: they were TRAPPED.
I still didn’t utter a word. Just continued blocking the aisle, despite the growing complaints and shoving behind me.
Finally the bus driver caught on that something was amiss.
“What’s going on?" he roared impatiently.
Some of the lowlifes mumbled something about “he won’t move…"
but I still didn’t budge.
Finally, in a calm, yet loud, squeaky voice, I pronounced:
NOBODY IS GETTING OFF THIS BUS UNTIL I GET MY HAT BACK!
At the moment, there was ONE person in control of that bus – and he wasn’t the guy behind the wheel.
The bus driver then tiredly said, “Give him his hat back."
Finally, the hat was thrown to me from behind.
I took it, put it back on my head, and triumphantly strode off the bus.
I never knew who took it – nor did I care. I do know that nobody ever took my hat again.
Bullying still exists to this day – it always has and it always will, no matter what we do. Its one of the ugly traits of human nature.
And if you’re the one being picked on, and don’t have an answer, like I did, talk to someone. Don’t let it continue to fester and make you miserable.
And if you see others being bullied – be the cool guy and help put a stop to it.
Believe it or not, wrestlers get bullied too. The incident on the bus happened before I started wrestling – but even after joining the team, I had issues with bullies.
Years later, my daughter was being bullied by girls in her class. I helped her develop some tools for her to deal with it, and once I did, a strange thing happened….
She started to go to school with her head held high – and couldn’t wait for them to try something! Because she was ready. After one go-around, they never picked on her again.
If you have any situations you’d like to share with me, or questions about how to handle situations that come up, send me an email and I’ll give you a hand.
Also if you’d like to hear more, let me know.
PS One of my former students told me about a time he got suspended from school because he stood up to a bully – hit a double leg takedown on him, got him down, and said, “Now stop picking on that kid." His parents were proud of him – and I would have been, too. He was a tough guy – he won schoolboy state and wrestled on the Ohio team in the olympic styles of freestyle and greco roman wrestling. That’s what the tough guys do in the spring.
He trained here.