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“In just over a month, the boys will start a new school year at three middle schools. As they become tweens, they are reaching a point in their development when peers tend to matter more than parents and pecking orders shift. When, just as boys begin to pull away from their families, they are hit with immense social pressure to be strong and impassive — to fit the masculine mold of toughness. They are about to be tossed into a social ecosystem that prizes alpha males over quirky kids.
Sitting in the booth behind them, their parents know their influence is about to wane.
They know that although their boys are hockey players, they are not typical jocks. Jared wears braces and glasses and is so skinny the outline of his shoulder bones shows through his T-shirt. Grey has blond, wavy hair that falls past his neck and a collection of essential oils at home in his room. Drew spends his spare time studying vocabulary words to prepare for achievement exams. All three came to hockey through the passions of their parents, and it turned into a passion of their own.
Sometimes even excelling at that — a game known for its brutality — doesn’t seem to impress other guys. At Drew’s school, all the soccer and basketball players sit together at lunch. And if he plays his usual hockey position, goalie, during a similar game at gym or recess, things don’t always go well. “When I play goalie I get bullied,” he says. “If I let in one shot, they’re like, ‘Boooooo!’ ””
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"