It was the summer in the late 70s– I was 13 and playing rep soccer. One night, we had a practice at the same compound where my older sister was also practicing. My dad drove us and went between both practices.
For some reason, I was not in a great mood and didn’t really like the coach – and this night, me and one of my friends decided to pick on one of the weaker players on the team, bullying him.
The coach got so fed up, he made me and my friend sit on the sidelines and not practice. Well, my sister’s practice ended first and as it turns out we were giving a ride home to one of her team-mates. My dad got to our field and the coach told him what happened and quoted some of the things we had been saying to the kid we were bullying.
Well, my father was furious and said he would deal with me once we got home. I climbed in the back seat of the car with my sister and her friend. My sister asked: “Why weren’t you practicing when we pulled up?” Trying to be cool, I replied it was because the coach was being a jerk.
Dad responded: “No – you were being the jerk, and some jerk’s bottom is going to pay the price when we get home.”
I could have died having my dad basically announce a spanking in front of my sister’s friend, who now had a huge smirk on her face. This girl was a good friend of my sister, so she knew that our parents firmly believed in spanking. But actually having it mentioned in front of her was mortifying.
Eventually, we dropped off my sister’s friend and we went home in silence. Once we got there, Dad told me to go straight to my room – my sister looked at me with a ‘yikes’ expression.
I had only been in my bedroom for about 10 minutes when Dad walked in, yanked me up from my bed and sat down there himself. “Let’s go,” he said shortly, “you have earned a licking.”
In one motion, he pulled down my soccer shorts, put me over his knee and proceeded to give me a very hard spanking with his hand. This was all Dad ever used but my father was a policeman, standing 6ft 4in, and could wallop hard. That day, I was resolved to ‘take it like a man’ but that didn’t last long – I was reduced to tears.
Finally the spanking ended and my butt was on fire. I was told to stay in my room the rest of the night. Shortly afterwards, my older sister stuck her head in the door and said: “Sorry – your butt must be so sore. I still remember my last one from Dad.” That had been about six months earlier, by the way.
Needless to say, I never bullied anyone again and did not tolerate it at all with our kids when I became a dad. In fact, my wife used to love to tell our kids this story as a warning of what happens to kids who are involved in bullying.