Growing up, my brother played baseball, and my parents were heavily involved in that. They knew all of the other high school athletes and their parents. I know, #notallathletes, but at least 90% of the baseball, football, and basketball players at my high school were scummy assholes. At least half were outright bullies. Based solely on their exploits in sports, my parents and their friends would assume these guys were angels and any slight against them was an affront on goodness itself. They would talk at dinner about so-and-so and how hard they were having it academically and how challenging it is to balance sports and school, etc. Meanwhile, I knew the person(s) they were talking about and they cheated on assignments, paid no attention in class, or were just plain irredeemably stupid. Any protests from me about how much these guys sucked and deserved any hardship they got were quickly shut down. I should note that my brother really was one of the good ones and wasn’t friends with the ones I knew to be awful.

This continues to be a sticking point to this day. Some of the kids they knew have gone on to be professional athletes and my parents will tell sob stories about how many hours they spend on the road or whatever and how hard it actually is to live on a $4M salary, while at the same time talking shit about hard working regular people (people that are very close to us and doing difficult jobs like nursing or working in restaurants) being “lazy.” Any protests from me usually end up with an uncomfortable silence at best, sometimes an outright argument.

While my discussions with my parents frustrate me, it’s clear that their opinions are mirrored nationwide. My experiences in high school watching astonishingly huge assholes get adoration heaped upon them are hardly unique. I just find it insane the amount of default respect and heroism we assign people just because they’re good at throwing a ball.