Un Gran Problema
Joey Marino y su hijo, Frankie, tenían un enorme problema entre manos.
Frankie no sólo sufría un acoso implacable, sino que además no sabía cómo iba a volver a enfrentarse a ellos.
Joey necesitaba idear un plan para ayudar a su hijo. Y la solución perfecta no tardó en llegar. Solo necesitaba que Frankie se pusiera de acuerdo.
Hacerlo Bien Por Sí Mismos
Joey vivía con su mujer, Angie, y su hijo, Frankie, en Buffalo, Nueva York. Él trabajaba en la construcción y Angie era profesora auxiliar.
Les iba bien y Joey estaba contento de poder mantener a su familia.
Pero aunque a su familia le iba bien, no todo era perfecto. Su hijo Frankie tenía problemas graves.
Joey y Angie no se habían dado cuenta de nada al principio. Frankie había hecho un buen trabajo ocultándolo todo. Pero ya no podía ocultarlo por mucho tiempo.
Sus padres no tardaron en darse cuenta de lo retraído y malhumorado que se había vuelto.
En cuanto llegaba del colegio, se iba directamente a su habitación y cerraba la puerta. Joey y Angie no sabían qué hacer.
Normalmente Era Alegre
Ni siquiera habló mucho durante la cena. Comió, se excusó y volvió a atrincherarse en su dormitorio. Se quedó allí toda la noche hasta la mañana siguiente.
Joey y Angie se dieron cuenta de que a su hijo le pasaba algo.
Su comportamiento normalmente burbujeante y hablador había sido sustituido por alguien con una actitud completamente diferente.
Cuando los días se convirtieron en semanas, y todavía no había ninguna mejora en el comportamiento de Frankie, Joey tomó sobre sí mismo para sentarse y hablar con su hijo.
No podía permitir que Frankie anduviera por ahí descontento por algo. Si era su trabajo de la escuela, sería algo que necesitaría la atención inmediata.
Pero Joey no tenía ni idea de lo que realmente estaba atormentando a su hijo.
Una noche, cuando Joey se armó de valor para hablar con Frankie, llamó a la puerta de su habitación y le dijo: “Frankie, ¿puedo entrar?”. Tras un momento de silencio, Frankie contestó: “Claro, papá”.
Joey entró en la habitación y vio a su hijo sentado en la cama, con la mirada abatida. “Eh, campeón, ¿va todo bien?
Últimamente pareces muy decaído”, dijo Joey con dulzura, sentándose junto a Frankie.
“Sí, papá. Estoy bien”. Pero Joey no le creyó y decidió preguntar de nuevo. “¿Estás seguro, chico? Estas últimas semanas han sido extrañas.
Llegas a casa y te vas directamente a tu habitación”.
Frankie miró a su padre y pudo ver la preocupación en sus ojos. “Sí, es sólo que la escuela ha sido un poco difícil últimamente”.
Algo Seguía Mal
Pero Joey no estaba convencido. Aunque Frankie mostraba algunos signos de mejoría aquí y allá, él sabía que algo seguía fallando.
Todavía parecía haber algo que pesaba sobre los hombros de Frankie. Claramente se le había escapado algo, y Frankie no hablaba.
Iba a averiguar exactamente qué era antes de que fuera demasiado tarde.
Decidió tener otra charla con él, pero esta vez, no iba a darse por vencido tan fácilmente. En cuanto terminó la cena, Joey vio cómo Frankie se dirigía a su dormitorio.
Ante la insistencia de su mujer, Joey llamó a la puerta del dormitorio y entró cuando Frankie respondió a través de la puerta.
Joey se sentó y se preparó para lo que estaba a punto de suceder.
“Hijo, necesito que hables conmigo. Ha pasado un mes y veo que algo te preocupa de verdad. Tienes que contarme qué te pasa para que pueda ayudarte”.
Cuando Joey vio una sola lágrima rodar por la cara de Frankie, supo que había descubierto algo.
Su hijo estaba sufriendo, y esto hizo que Joey sintiera su dolor.
Frankie dudó un momento antes de abrirse por fin: “Bueno, papá, son los niños del colegio.
Se burlan de mí todos los días porque a veces me acompañas al colegio. Me llaman bebé porque todavía necesito a mi padre conmigo”.
Joey se enfadó ante esta revelación. No podía creer que los niños pudieran ser tan crueles.
El corazón de Joey se hundió ante las palabras de su hijo. No tenía ni idea de que algo tan sencillo como acompañar a Frankie al colegio le estuviera causando tanto dolor.
“Oh, Frankie, no tenía ni idea. Siento que tengas que lidiar con esto.
¿Pero sabes qué? Lo afrontaremos juntos”, le tranquilizó Joey, poniendo una mano de apoyo en el hombro de Frankie.
Al día siguiente, Joey se despertó con una nueva determinación. No iba a permitir que esos matones siguieran atormentando a su hijo.
Sabía que no podía enfrentarse directamente a los chicos; eso sólo empeoraría las cosas para Frankie. En lugar de eso, tenía un plan mejor.
Joey pensó en algo que le había ayudado a llegar a donde está ahora. Y todo lo que necesitó fue disciplina.
Una Infancia Problemática
Joey recordó su propia infancia problemática, en la que también se había enfrentado a matones. Fue entonces cuando su padre le apuntó a clases de judo.
Aquellas clases no sólo le habían enseñado defensa personal, sino que también le habían inculcado confianza y disciplina.
Ahora, se dio cuenta de que había llegado el momento de transmitir la misma sabiduría a su hijo.
Un Secreto Revelado
Cuando Frankie fue a la escuela ese día, no tenía ni idea del secreto que su padre estaba a punto de desvelar.
Joey le había apuntado a clases de judo sin decírselo, y había dispuesto que las clases tuvieran lugar discretamente después del colegio.
Cuando Frankie volvió a casa aquella tarde, Joey le dijo con una sonrisa: “Oye, colega, tengo una sorpresa para ti. ¿Te gustaría aprender unos movimientos de defensa personal muy chulos?”.
Un Nuevo Vínculo
Frankie parecía desconcertada pero intrigada. “¿En serio, papá? Sería fantástico”.
El chico estaba radiante de felicidad, pero no tenía ni idea de a qué camino conducía.
Pensaba que había hecho algo bueno por su hijo, pero no se había dado cuenta de lo que en realidad le estaba haciendo. Sólo lo descubriría semanas después.
Las Semanas Siguientes
Durante las semanas siguientes, Frankie asistió diligentemente a las clases de judo. Al principio, estaba un poco indeciso, pero con su padre a su lado, empezó a sobresalir.
Joey vio con orgullo cómo su hijo ganaba confianza y progresaba en su entrenamiento.
Pero Frankie no tenía ni idea de quién era realmente su padre. Cuando el polvo se asentara, ya no habría vuelta atrás.
El Comportamiento De Joey
Frankie notó en las últimas semanas que el comportamiento de su padre había cambiado ligeramente.
Era sutil, pero sin duda algo digno de mención.
El repentino interés de su padre por meterlo en Judeo despertó un poco de sospecha en la mente del joven.
Frankie era un niño inquisitivo y sentía que tenía que averiguar de una vez por todas cuáles eran los verdaderos motivos de su padre.
Tenía que haber algo más que simplemente querer que él pudiera defenderse.
Frankie indagaría un poco para tratar de averiguar la verdad detrás de todo. ¿Era su padre realmente el hombre que decía ser? ¿O escondía un oscuro secreto?
Una Larga Historia
Frankie empezó a pensar qué pruebas podría encontrar para resolver este misterio.
Pensó en el cambio de comportamiento y se dio cuenta de un detalle crucial.
Se dio cuenta de que había algo de gran importancia para su padre. Nunca salía de casa sin él y, en cada paseo, lo llevaba consigo. ¿Era la pista que necesitaba?
Hiding Something Important
Frankie was certain that his father was hiding something. He was onto his trail now and knew exactly where to start looking. It was so obvious now that he thought about it.
His dad’s behavior did always seem a little strange. Why did he always walk around in that coat?
Was he hiding something important underneath it or inside of it? But he had no idea that his father wasn’t who he said he was.
A Different Person
Frankie had noticed discrepancies in his father’s behavior over the months.
Sometimes he’d disappear for a day or two, and his mom would say he was visiting another family.
He didn’t know whether or not to trust his mother. But one thing was for certain, he was hiding something now, and he might not have been the man he said he was.
There was one thing Frankie was genuinely scared of, his father’s defensive nature. He knew the way his dad looked at the bullies was one of genuine anger.
The last thing Frankie wanted was for his dad to do something behind his back.
But when the dust cleared, that’s exactly what his father was planning on doing.
Frankie had a plan. If he could find definitive evidence, he’d be able to confront his father and make sure no one got hurt.
But poor Frankie had no idea what he was going to unearth.
He was about to poke his nose in business that no boy should have. It’s difficult learning secrets about parents, and Frankie’s discovery was going to be no different.
The item in question was his father’s coat. He wore it every morning when taking him to school; was that the key to it all?
The more Frankie thought about it, the more it all made sense.
Maybe the laughter was also because of the way his dad dressed. That’s when Frankie decided what his next move was – he’d go to his dad’s room. But some secrets should have been left alone.
Frankie snuck up the stairs toward his father’s room. He was preoccupied in the kitchen and wouldn’t notice – it was now or never.
The door to his father’s room was open at the end of the hall. The boy knew he’d have to do some detective work to get to the bottom of things.
But he had no idea how deep things would go.
He slowly pushed open the door to the room and crept towards the cupboard.
He felt sweat creep down his forehead as he knew he was so close to the truth.
What kind of incriminating evidence would be waiting inside the cupboard? He knew it would be in there, but what secrets would be waiting once he checked it out?
After opening the cupboard, he saw an assortment of clothing all hanging up. That’s when he saw it. It was freshly ironed and pressed.
The same long overcoat that his father wore when they walked to school. What was he hiding inside?
It had to be a key factor in everything, but being so nosy had its consequences.
Frankie took it out and laid it out on his father’s bed. He started examining it more carefully than he ever had before.
What dark secret was hiding in the pockets? But that’s when he heard it.
Dread crept up Frankie’s spine as he realized what was going on. He couldn’t be caught red handed like this. He needed to act quickly.
Just as Frankie was about to start searching the pockets, he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. He knew what was coming if he was caught in the act.
If he was actually correct in that he didn’t know everything about his dad, he could only guess what would happen if he caught him discovering his dark secret.
He’d have to think of another way.
His father’s trust would be broken if he saw him rifling through his things.
Frankie put the coat back with lightning speed and managed to make it out of the bedroom.
Frankie breathed a sigh of relief, but he didn’t know that he wasn’t out of the frying pan yet. His father was more clever that he had given him credit for.
Without being able to examine the coat, Frankie was now clueless as to what was going on.
His father was definitely hiding something, but when would he get a chance to take another look?
The boy wanted to believe that he had been sneaky enough to leave behind no trace of his nosiness. But his father was going to notice, and then everything would be blown wide open.
Frankie was hopeful that he would get to the bottom of things, but he had no idea how deep the secrets ran, and his father wasn’t the only one keeping them.
Just as the boy had finished wondering how to get the truth, he heard heavy footsteps coming towards his room.
Had he been careful enough, or was he going to regret it?
Joey came into the room with an irritated look on his face. He turned to Frankie and said, “You weren’t in my room, were you?”
This was it; Frankie had to be convincing now.
“Yes, sir, I was just looking for my favorite pair of socks; I can’t find them.” He made up a simple enough lie, but would his dad buy it?
His father’s face of irritation suddenly softened. “That’s why my cupboard door was slightly open.
Well, next time, just ask me permission to look through my things, okay?”
Frankie nodded at his dad and smiled, who ruffled his hair. “Are you ready for Judo? I have a surprise for you when we next go.” But what did he mean by that?
Soon, Frankie’s next Judo training day came. He had no idea what to expect when his father said he’d have a surprise.
But he wouldn’t have to wait much longer.
Frankie was waiting for his dad at the bottom of the stairs to take him to practice when his father showed him the surprise. Frankie’s mouth hung open.
His dad stood at the top of the stairs and smiled. He was wearing something eerily familiar; that’s when it clicked.
His dad was in the same Judo kit that he was wearing, but why?
“Why are you wearing that, Dad?” He asked, but his father told him he’d find out at the training center. Frankie had no idea what to expect.
Going Back To Judo
In the meantime, Frankie looked back to his judo training.
But once there, that’s when his father didn’t just walk him inside, he greeted the instructor too, what was going on?
That’s when it clicked. It was strange; his father had also picked up the defense classes. At first, he thought it was a way to bond.
He enjoyed having his father there with him, but he saw the motivation in his dad’s eyes and the way he seemed familiar with the instructor.
Something wasn’t right, but what was it?
But now, he felt like his dad had ulterior motives. What was his father planning? And did it involve him in any way? The boy would find that out too soon.
But week after week, his father kept up the training with him and he started getting comfortable. It started becoming something they both looked forward to.
Was his dad really just trying to bond with him?
The suspicious boy started training with his dad every time they went to Judo class. After a few sessions, he started loving having his best friend there – his dad.
That’s when all of his suspicions and doubt faded away, and he let his father in.
It was a great time, but he should have at least kept a little bit of doubt; it would be his downfall.
The boy had no idea that his father was still going to do something to the bullies and he would be powerless to stop him. He had lowered his guard despite the Judo training.
The Judo classes became a special bonding time for father and son. The two had never had a bond this close before.
But thanks to the bullies, they gave them an excuse to find something to do together.
Frankie had never had so much fun before, but that was just the calm before the storm.
They practiced together, shared their fears and triumphs, and Frankie even confided in his dad about the progress he was making in dealing with the bullies.
Frankie knew that the next time any bullies tried messing with him, he’d be able to do something about it.
But the boy didn’t know what his father was plotting.
Dealing With Bullies
The bullies at school had no idea what Frankie was up to. They continued to mock him and taunt him, believing he was still an easy target.
Little did they know that Frankie was now equipped with the knowledge and skills to defend himself.
But he wasn’t the only one who had a vendetta against the bullies.
He not only learned grappling techniques and takedowns, but the most important skills that his father wanted him to learn were how to control his feelings, emotions, and impulses.
The lessons were good for a developing boy.
It was something that Frankie arguably needed – even if the bullies weren’t a problem.
Not Completely Honest
They also learned about the values of perseverance, respect, loyalty, and discipline.
It was what he learned when he was a young boy, and he only wanted the best for Frankie.
But Joey wasn’t being completely honest with his son. He didn’t just partake in the activities because it helped him bond with his son, he had kept a burning fury inside of him for weeks.
Joey had hidden something from his son for weeks and even though he didn’t want to admit it, it was a pretty petty thing to hang onto. He only wanted to protect his son.
As only a father would understand, Joey would do anything to make sure his son was okay.
Even if it meant holding onto petty grudges that no adult should.
Planning His Revenge
Unbeknownst to his son, Joey had been planning his revenge ever since his son told him the truth about what was going on.
His blood boiled and he wanted to get even.
Even if it was for the wrong reasons, he knew that his son would enjoy it. He knew that no one would ever bother Frankie again once they got a piece of him.
But Joey was keeping something from his son. Something that he wanted to reveal to him at the right time.
He was glad to see that Frankie was taking to Judo so quickly.
It made him proud and only made what he needed to reveal to him even easier. Joey couldn’t even believe that he had kept it from Frankie for so long.
The Secret Unveiled
One evening, after a particularly intense Judo training session, Joey sat down with Frankie in their living room.
Frankie was catching his breath, his face glowing with excitement and a sense of achievement.
“Dad, did you see that throw? I can’t believe I did it!” Frankie exclaimed, still filled with adrenaline.
What Do You Mean?
Joey smiled, feeling a mix of pride and anxiety about what he was about to reveal.
“Frankie, there’s something important I need to share with you,” he began, taking a deep breath. “You know, I wasn’t just an ordinary kid like you when I was your age.”
Frankie’s eyes widened with curiosity. “What do you mean, Dad?”
Joey hesitated for a moment, then decided to come clean. “I was a Judo champion, Frankie. I have a black belt in Judo.”
Frankie’s jaw dropped, unable to comprehend what he had just heard. “Wait, you were a champion? You never told me!”
“I know, son. It’s just that… I wanted you to find your own path, to love Judo for yourself, not just because I did it,” Joey explained.
Frankie’s mind was racing with a mix of emotions. He felt both awe and a touch of pressure. “But Dad, what if I can’t be as good as you were?”
Joey gently placed a hand on Frankie’s shoulder. “Frankie, it’s not about being as good as me or anyone else.
It’s about finding your own strength and using it to protect yourself and others when needed. You’ve been doing amazingly in the classes, and I couldn’t be prouder of you.”
A New Perspective
As the days went by, Frankie’s perspective began to shift. Knowing that his father was a Judo champion filled him with a sense of pride, but he also understood the responsibility that came with it. He didn’t want to let his dad down.
With his newfound confidence and his dad’s constant support and guidance, Frankie started to confront the bullies at school.
Instead of resorting to violence, he tried to reason with them, showing them that he was not to be messed with. But would his newfound skills work on the bullies?
Still Being Bullied
But it didn’t have the desired effect he had hoped for.
The bullies still made fun of him, and even though Frankie tried to show off his new skills, they just laughed it off as a sign of bluffing.
Frankie became angry that they weren’t taking him seriously and began to question whether the Judo lessons were really going to help him in the long run.
That’s when he decided that words weren’t good enough for these guys.
He was going to get physical because it seemed like the only other way to get them to back off.
Secretly, Frankie began practicing to take the ultimate revenge against his bullies. He didn’t want his father to know, or else he would be in big trouble.
Something He Would Regret
The day finally came, and Frankie asked his father to just drop him off at a corner where he would just walk the rest of the way.
When Frankie requested that, Joey knew that something was going to happen. He then put on something special that was hanging in his cupboard.
He wasn’t going to let Frankie do something that he would regret.
As Joey dropped Frankie off at the corner, he watched him walk and then promptly parked the car and followed him.
And then he saw how his son came face to face with his tormentors. They began taunting him and then pushed him around a few times.
Joey couldn’t just stand by and let his son go through this. But something stopped him in his tracks.
Ready To Fight
Frankie removed his jacket and revealed his blue Judo gi. He had been wearing it under his clothes all this time.
He took his fighting stance, and with that, the bullies were left speechless.
Just as Frankie was about to do a hip toss, Joey decided to step in. He, too, removed his jacket and walked up to the scene wearing his own gi with the black belt. “Hey, leave this kid alone.”
Standing Up For Himself
“Don’t come near him, or else!” With that, the bullies left the scene, and Frankie looked relieved to see his father. He took a deep breath. A newfound determination filled him.
He remembered the countless hours of training, the support of his father, and the lessons he had learned about perseverance and standing up for himself. But would the bullies have earned their lesson?
Disclaimer: In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.