Aug 14

Judge Much? Maybe We “Shouldn’t” but We Sure Do!!

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

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Photo by Michael Stravato for The New York Times


I read this article a few minutes ago. It is about two amazing girls who run endurance events at ages 10 and 12.


In a society that talks A LOT about not judging…

we “shouldn’t” and we frequently tell ourselves that we don’t…

Oh my gosh, is there ever a ton of judging!!!!

This article is a perfect example.


  • The author wrote, “among some of America’s best endurance runners, were two scrawny girls…” He goes on to describe their thigh and hip size. Why? Because, clearly these bodies aren’t “acceptable” for this line up.
  • Another runner at the start line told the girls to cover their ears when the cannon went off. Clearly this is not the first time they’ve run. That was condescending and I love Kaytlynn’s reaction of simply staring straight ahead and focusing on her race.
  • Another runner – who is NOT a medical professional, by the way – stated, “they are smaller than my son and I wouldn’t think to enter him in the race. It could harm their growth.”   She further gives her opinion of the girls’ dad as “pushy” and goes for the popular sway by villanizing him and making it seem like he’s putting too much pressure on the girls. Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. The woman giving her opinion has positively NO way of knowing that. As the girls’ mom states, “I wonder why some folks are so sure of the best way to raise other people’s children. I thought about answering them, but I decided: these people don’t know us. They’re on the outside and can’t see the inside.”
  • Television has been banned from the home. Oh, the horror!!
  • “Dr. Mininder S. Kocher, an expert on sports medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, said there was not enough solid research to make across-the-board judgments about children and endurance events.”  Even so, the author cherry picks a couple of things that “could” happen if young children run.
  • W. Douglas B. Hiller, an orthopedic surgeon at North Hawaii Community Hospital, said. “Bottom line: I wouldn’t recommend it, but I wouldn’t forbid it, either.”


Yes, deeply immersed in this social-media inspired world, everyone thinks they are qualified to give their opinion. People judge everyone and everything. To be honest, I find it rather annoying.  No. That’s not the right word. It’s maddening!!!  That’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it.


People think there’s a “cut off age”.

“You shouldn’t do ‘this or that’, at 50″

“You shouldn’t wear this or that at 60”

…although this seems to be turning a little bit and popular societal thought now supports older people doing whatever they want.


“Kids shouldn’t exercise to the ‘extreme.  They should do ‘kid distances’.'”

“You shouldn’t allow your kids to do ‘this or that’”

The list goes on and on and on….


Well, I think these girls are amazing!! Not that “they will be amazing” but that “they are”!  There was a time, in the not too distant past, when popular sentiment realized that champions had to start early.

Just three examples:

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Photo credit: Flavia Mandréa



By the age of 6, Nadia Comaneci was hooked on gymnastics. She trained 6 days a week and 4 hours each day. I have a very hard time believing the masses would find this “acceptable” today. Well, Nadia became the first gymnast in Olympic history to be awarded a perfect 10 (for her performance on the Uneven bars in 1976). She was 14.





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Photo credit: Fightland Blog

– Everybody loves Ronda Rousey right now. BUT because she defended her body and said she’s not built to F** millionaires…NOT because she breaks other girl’s arms in the ring, nor because she won an Olympic medal in Judo at the Summer Olympics in 2008. Her mother made her fight several times even though she had severe injuries; and sent her to a match once as a form of punishment. What? That’s clearly child abuse!  Popular opinion doesn’t seem to matter. Ronda adores her mother: and the feeling is mutual. By the way, AnnMaria De Mars is pretty friggin amazing, in her own rite, if you don’t know. In 1984, she became the first American to win at the World Judo Championships.

Ronda started training at 11. By 17 she had qualified for the Olympics.


Photo by Edwin Martinez

Photo by Edwin Martinez


Venus Williams has redefined women’s tennis with her strength and athleticism. Her father moved the family to Compton, California because of its high rate of gang activity. He “wanted to expose his daughter to the ugly possibilities of life.” Clearly….that can’t be okay!! What kind of parenting is that? I could start a Facebook group to “Save the Williams Children” and I can guarantee you, it would get some traction. By the age of 10, Venus’s serve topped 100 miles an hour. She turned pro at 14.



I sincerely don’t understand. I just don’t.

People find these stories “inspiring”. Yet, in the midst of the person learning their craft, working hard every minute of every day, the popular belief is that “it’s sad”, and “these people are going to have life-long scars”.  It takes time to hone your craft and become the best of the best. It’s years and years of work. It’s takes focus – which means it takes focus away from other things. Many times, THE best start at a very young age.


We judge their parents and parenting style.  We judge whether or not it’s “okay” for them to do these things.  We judge whether they are too extreme.  WE judge everything about the process until we rally behind an Olympic champion who is out there representing our country.  Then we’ll cheer.  We’ll forget about how much they had to do to get there.


I have to ask.

Given the fact that social media is FULL of Rousey meme’s and posts which have nothing to do with her amazing athletic accomplishments but rather one statement she made;

Considering the fact that popular opinion is “we should all be treated the same” and “everyone gets a trophy these days”,

is there even a place in our kindler, gentler future for competitive sports?

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