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The other day, there's a long lull between games. One of the Dads and his son come to keep me company while I drink coffee and read the paper. We're making idle talk, when out of the blue, the kid says "They think I'm soft.".

We try to reassure him, but it's hard going. Especially when you don't know what caused him to say such a thing. I didn't want to make him feel any worse.

Every once in awhile, some kid says something that haunts.

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Hey @blocker, is "they" his teammates? I assume, but can't really tell from your post.

Assuming it is, there's nothing you can say except: "prove to them you're not." Win a battle. Win another one. And again.

You get the idea.

I asked him who "they" were. He said "all of them". I didn't push it too much, his Dad is better suited for that job.

I dunno if anyone actually said it. But, that's his perception.

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