Let’s hope it’s true.
This morning I’m praying that never again will a father or mother tell their little, teary son that, “Big boys don’t cry.” I’m desperately hoping that after Andrew Murray, the British tennis star, walked up to the podium following his heartbreaking loss at Wimbledon and shed real tears, that we can finally banish that horrid, dated, misinformed phase from our parenting lexicon forever.
“Tough it out.” “Crying’s for sissies.” “Boys don’t cry.”
Oh, it makes me wince. As a retired therapist, I know first-hand how much these innocuous little phases can cause problems later in life. I’ve seen these messages compel men to hide their tender feelings and shut out people who love them because of this ridiculous idea. Believe me; this view of maleness can only lead down a road of relationship woes.
But this morning when I glanced over the headlines, I felt so giddy and hopeful.
That’s because yesterday the world got to see a typically stoic guy break down into tears. Only it wasn’t just any guy. It was a world class tennis player born of a brawny Scottish bloodline, who was representing Great Britain, an entire nation known for its courageous, stiff-upper-lip approach to emotional expression.
And lo and behold, he cried in front of everyone…
And the world hugged him back. It was simply beautiful.
Did you watch it? Twenty-five year old Andrew Murray was the first Briton in seventy-four years to reach the Wimbledon finals. He was trying to be the first Briton since Fred Perry won in 1936, to win the Wimbledon title for his countrymen.
It was a gritty, courageous display of athleticism and for a few hours you felt the tension and hopes of the 15 million Britons who were riveted by this match. Would it finally happen? Could this young, talented Brit bring home the elusive title?
It was sheer excitement. But in the end, he lost. Only something wonderfully refreshing happened when he stepped up to the podium to be interviewed.
And it wasn’t just his mother and his lovely girlfriend who responded to his open display of heartbreak and disappointment. Andrew Murray had been swept up by the powerful support and pride of his entire nation and when he finally tried to speak, his raw, pent-up emotions poured out.
And the best part was the reaction by other men.
Like this tweet by Hollywood’s burly, tough ‘real’ guy—the ultimate Gladiator-Russell Crowe:
“….Andy Murray, you are a champion in my eyes, one day mate it will be you.”
I know what he meant. Because afterwards, when Murray spoke to the crowd and jokingly said “I’m getting closer,” while his voice cracked with emotion, I felt a swell of admiration.
At that moment, I think every mother could imagine their own son’s face following a heart-wrenching loss. Every Dad could envision the hours of endless practices and total dedication to a singular sport. Every person could relate to putting it all on the line. And losing.
That’s why I think we were all crying a little, inside. And I’m hoping that all the boys and men, who watched this, had a chance to realize what women everywhere have always known.
That there are times when shedding honest tears can make you feel so much better. And there’s even more. When you let down your guard and dare to show others your genuine hurt and vulnerability, people can relate to you. They can even love you more. That’s why Andrew Murray endeared himself to an entire viewing audience yesterday.
Because in the end, realness is always rewarded.
What do you think?