Yesterday I sat watching a basketball game with a lifelong friend and her 28 year old niece. We were seated behind a 40 something year old man and his mother. As the game progressed, the man started taking pictures...of the cheerleaders from the opposite team. We couldn't help but get a little worked up as we noticed that he continued time out after time out to take pictures of the girls performing tumbling stunts. He had a large camera. We could see the screen. We knew what he was doing. Finally, our 28 year old made the motion like she was pushing up her sleeves. Okay, here we go. "Excuse me sir," she tapped the man on the shoulder. "If you don't mind me asking, what are you going to do with those pictures?" The man just looked at her. His mother asked what she said but he shrugged her off. She was oblivious to what her son was doing. "I noticed you were taking pictures of the cheerleaders." Finally he said, "They are just of them standing around." "Oh no sir. I've been watching and they are not just pictures of them standing around. You know, there is right and there is wrong and what you are doing is just plain wrong. These girls are someone's daughters." Total silence. He had since propped his feet up on the wall in front of him and his body language was in total defense mode. "What you are doing is really bothering me. It's just not right." I couldn't hear everything the man was saying but I do know that he stopped taking pictures. As we left the game, this 28 year old girl asked if what she had said was okay. She explained that she had just had enough and what she saw happening was wrong. Personally, I was proud to be there. I was proud to know this young girl who was willing to stand up for this group of girls she did not know and would never meet. I was proud of her tone with the man and her insistence and yet compassion in her voice for his complete ignorance, or so we wanted to believe. As she said, "Maybe this will at least make him think about what he was doing. My guess is, since his mother was right next to him while he was taking those pictures, that no one has ever told him that what he was doing is wrong."
As we began to leave, my 10 and 14 year old girls walked up (they were in seats closer to the playing floor) and of course, wanted to know what was going on. I took the time on the ride home to explain what had happened and how beautifully our young friend had handled everything. I took the opportunity to remind my girls of the importance of dressing appropriately. I explained that the cheerleaders were not the ones in the wrong in their uniforms and yet there are people who take advantage of situations and there are people who have problems.
One young girl standing up for a group of innocent young women... One young girl speaking up in one obviously sad situation... I wonder, if she wasn't there with us would I have had the guts to say something? Lord have mercy our world.