There were even a couple of times when I’d fill in for the regular coaches at the games. I’ll admit that this was a little nerve-racking, and I’m sure this was true for Sasha as well, who may have winced when her dad would voice his displeasure with a particular call made by the referee. But I was so proud, watching her run up and down the court, seeing her learn and improve and gain confidence. And I was hopeful that in the years to come, she would look back on experiences like these as the ones that helped define her as a person – and as a parent herself.
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All of these are symptoms of the same disease: a manic reinterpretation of “democracy” in which everyone must have their say, and no one must be “disrespected.” (The verb to disrespect is one of the most obnoxious and insidious innovations in our language in years, because it really means “to fail to pay me the impossibly high requirement of respect I demand.”) This yearning for respect and equality, even—perhaps especially—if unearned, is so intense that it brooks no disagreement. It represents the full flowering of a therapeutic culture where self-esteem, not achievement, is the ultimate human value, and it’s making us all dumber by the day.