The Summer of the Jock Strap Debacle
by Suzanne Seese
It was the Summer of 1997 I believe, the Summer that, when we speak of it, we refer to it as the Summer of the Jock Strap Debacle. I led a sheltered life growing up, my mother kept penis talk far, far away from me. By the time I was married I only knew its two basic functions, peeing and making babies. Anything else and I was clueless.
So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself standing in the middle of my kitchen hearing the words from the oldest of my three little boys, n”Mom? I need a cup.” To which I replied, “A cup of what sweetie? Dinner’s almost ready.”
My husband was climbing the corporate ladder and putting in some late nights. I was a Stay at Home Mom juggling scraped knees, broken windows and baseball. So my 10 year old looked at me and I could tell he was searching for the right words. He has always been my sensitive child. When he found the words he was looking for, he presented them to me, “I need a cup for baseball.”
I turned my head to the right a bit and looked at him out of my left eye. I scrunched my eyebrows together and pursed my lips also to the left. The boy and I each were struggling with finding the correct utterances and I quickly realized we were in uncharted territory. I finally spoke, “Do you mean a cup for baseball, umm, to protect stuff?”
All this time I thought protection for down there was a condom. Relief washed over his face when he realized I was on the same page that he was, “Yes,” he said with a big grin, “I need it tomorrow for practice.”
I was grinning too but mine was starting to fade, “Tomorrow? Why didn’t you tell dad sooner?”
He left me in the kitchen with my mouth hanging open. When I regained my senses I dialed my husband, “I have to buy a baseball cup tonight for practice tomorrow. I don’t even know what they look like. Is there a special store for them?”
He didn’t respond right away, I’m certain he was laughing at me but I can’t prove it,
“You don’t know what they look like? I have one in my softball bag.”
“That triangle thing?”
This time I heard laughter, “Yeah, the triangle thing.”
“Well can’t he just wear yours?”
“They come in sizes. You should probably get him a youth medium, same with the jock strap.”
“It holds the cup in place.”
Sweat began to bead on my forehead and upper lip, my breath came in short bursts. I was going to hyperventilate or have a heart attack because I could hear my heart pounding in my inner ears. It was only a matter a time before I keeled over. My husband started to talk me down from the ledge, “Take a deep breath. Go to WalMart, in the sporting goods section, go to the baseball aisle. Are you still there?”
“WalMart, sporting goods, cup and strap.”
“Well, the box will probably say athletic supporter. Are you still there?”
“Yeah. You had to know he needed these things, why didn’t you take care of it?”
“That’s what your son said.”
We had dinner before the shopping. I informed the two younger boys we were going to WalMart and the oldest told them why.
“Oh,” says my middle one, “I need a cup too, if I want to be a catcher or I can just keep borrowing Alex’s.”
“Wait, you borrow your best friends baseball cup? Don’t you need a strap?”
I was horrified. I went to almost all of their practices, how was I missing the exchange of a triangular cup going from crotch to crotch?
“Mom, it stays in place when you squat.”
“We’re getting you one too, no more borrowing.”
“Mommy, can I have a baseball cup?”
My youngest said, who was four and had no idea what we were talking about but didn’t want to be left out.
I looked at that face, “You aren’t going to need one of those yet but we’ll get you a Match Box car.” His smile always lit up a room.
“Awwww….I want a Match Box car too.”
It was only a matter of time before we spiraled out of control. And the chance of it being in public increased as our mini-van made its way across town. I could see WalMart looming in the distance, almost taunting me. I breathed in through my nose, out of my mouth and found a parking spot.
We made our way into the store. I pause, surveyed the entire area, I spotted the big sign that said sporting goods. I stared at it long enough to have three faces look up at me with furrowed foreheads. ‘Don’t let them sense your fear,’ I thought to myself. I put the 4 year old in a shopping cart, one of them was contained, and we headed for the penis protectors.
We wheeled our way to the sporting goods main aisle and slowly began looking down the smaller aisles. I prayed to the Lord above that I might not have to ask someone where those things were. Prayer answered, we found them. And wow I was amazed at the variety I had to choose from.
“These are them, then, huh?”
“Do you put that on your face mommy?”
My older two giggled at my youngest question.
“No,” the middle one said, “It goes on your privates.”
More giggling and the youngest look at me to see if it was true. I gave him a nod yes and stopped him, “Can you wait until we get home before you ask another question, please?”
He thought hard for 20 seconds, “No.”
“Well we have to go get that Match Box car but if you want to wait…”
“Let’s go get the Match Box car.”
He had a serious look on his face and I knew there was a lot going on in that 4-year-old head. He wasn’t going to let me off the hook. Right then I swore if I got out of this alive my mother was going hear about this tale from beginning to end, and I would make sure I said penis at least 5 times.