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Mom pens open letter to parent who made fun of her son's size

Posted May 3

When a mother overheard other parents making fun of her son's size at a rugby match, she took to social media to defend her child. It didn't take long for her message to resonate with thousands of friends and strangers alike. (Deseret Photo)

NEW ZEALAND — When a mother overheard other parents making fun of her son’s size at a rugby match, she took to social media to defend her child. It didn’t take long for her message to resonate with thousands of friends and strangers alike.

As Rochelle Mara stood faithfully on the sideline at her 10-year-old son Eljae’s match, she was surprised to hear another mother making fun of a “big boy” on the team who was “slowing the team down,” according to Today.

Mara was shocked and hurt when the woman identified Eljae as the kid she claimed was “not an asset to the team.” When she told the woman Eljae was in fact her son, the woman quickly took off, Mara said.

Mara took her frustration to Facebook, in a post directed at “The Parents on the Sideline.”

“Number 8, Eljae. My boy,” she wrote. “He does not need to hear your negativity. He, nor any of the other boys/girls, needs to hear you talking down about them, so please … stand there on that sideline along with the rest of us parents and support our boys and girls. All of them. Win or lose … They’re all out there playing the best they can, Number 8 included.”

Mara mentioned the fact that while Eljae may not have been the best player on the team, he showed up every single week in support of his teammates.

“Eljae is out there training with his team once a week, he turns up every weekend to play alongside his team, the same team your kid plays for!” she wrote. “Eljae is out there on that field supporting your son in the game, just as I’m out on that sideline supporting them — your son included!”

Mara’s post grabbed the attention and sympathy of friends and family, but spread beyond those who knew her. It’s been liked more than 130,000 times, shared 10,000 times and generated more than 18,000 comments in less than a week.

“Proud of you mom!” one commenter wrote. “Someone needs to stand up for him. If those ‘parents’ bully your child then … odds are they are saying all this in front of their children. Keep getting into their faces and support your son.”

Mara said she can’t believe the response she’s received, noting she’s heard from people all over the world.

“I was absolutely blown away with people congratulating me for speaking up, offering love and support and sharing their own stories with me,” Mara told Today.

Mara told Today she met with the team coaches to discuss the incident, but insists that while she hopes the parent learned her lesson, she doesn’t want her to keep her child from playing on the team.

“That would only be taking away from the child and I want nothing more than for this kid to have the same opportunities as Eljae in the game,” she said.

For now, Mara says she’ll remain on the sideline, cheering on her favorite rugby player.

“Both myself and Eljae will forever be grateful for the love and support we’ve received over the past few days,” she told Today. “Words don’t even begin to describe.”

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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