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Scout denied Eagle conference

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Well my son finally received an e-mail from the scoutmaster. He said he wants my son to do three more overnight campouts to fulfill his "active in the troop" requirement. He also copied all the assistant scoutmasters on this e-mail. Is this reasonable? That would mean my son would have to do weekend campouts in April, May, and June. (there is no campout in March). My son completed all his requirements in October, and he won't have his scoutmaster conference until June. This seems unreasonable. I read on the BSA website that doing a percentage of outings is NOT a requirement for being "active in the troop".

He participates in all activity in the troop including helping younger scouts, fund raising, service projects, community service, etc. The scoutmaster doesn't see this, as the only activity the scoutmaster attends is weekend campouts. I have never seen the scoutmaster at a service project, or fundraiser. In fact, in all the time I have been at the troop, I have never seen the scoutmaster help at any eagle project or even attend Scout-o-Rama.

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Well my son finally received an e-mail from the scoutmaster. He said he wants my son to do three more overnight campouts to fulfill his "active in the troop" requirement. He also copied all the assistant scoutmasters on this e-mail. Is this reasonable? That would mean my son would have to do weekend campouts in April, May, and June. (there is no campout in March). My son completed all his requirements in October, and he won't have his scoutmaster conference until June. This seems unreasonable. I read on the BSA website that doing a percentage of outings is NOT a requirement for being "active in the troop".

He participates in all activity in the troop including helping younger scouts, fund raising, service projects, community service, etc. The scoutmaster doesn't see this, as the only activity the scoutmaster attends is weekend campouts. I have never seen the scoutmaster at a service project, or fundraiser. In fact, in all the time I have been at the troop, I have never seen the scoutmaster help at any eagle project or even attend Scout-o-Rama.

Ya know, if someone dumped this on my son, he'd call his patrol together and they would be camping on the next three consecutive weekends. Fact is, not camping for the next two months is unacceptable. I'll wager that half of his bad attitude comes from keeping cooped up all winter!

 

If the camping requirements had been given to the boy when he earned Life, I would call this "borderline reasonable."

 

Well, your son has two options. Cheerfully go camping (which honestly, I think he should do regardless) and wait out this storm, or call your council and ask how to file an appeal for a board of review without the scoutmaster's conference.

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My son called home from college the other day complaining about his physics professor. He just got his first test back on which he made a 55. Not to bad considering the average for the class was less that 50 and no one passed, according to the professor. And there is no curve . If he makes 100 on the remaining three test and the final he still makes a B. According to him, the test is a common on for all sections of the course offered by a number of different professors. Unfortunately, his professor covered only a portion of the material in class. The practice test his professor distributed only covered those topics the professor covered in class, Hardly seems fair, huh?

 

So his options are to file a complaint against the professor, informally whine to the department chair, or have me call and raise Cain with the university over the shabby treatment my son is receiving, pointing out that I'm paying $20,000 a year and expect better instruction.

 

Instead, my son, an Eagle Scout, has done the following: 1) he has signed up for tutoring for the course, 2) he's found when other sections of the course are being taught and is planning on auditing the classes taught by other professors, 3) he's figured out how to download course materials and study guides from all the other professors, and, 4) he spoke to the graduate assistant who teaches his lab for the course and found out that the exams are all based on the textbook and that he should focus on that, not the materials the professor gives him.

 

So, Myboy, my boy, what lessons do you want your son to gain from this experience? How do you want him to handle similar situations in, say, September?

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My son called home from college the other day complaining about his physics professor. He just got his first test back on which he made a 55. Not to bad considering the average for the class was less that 50 and no one passed, according to the professor. And there is no curve . If he makes 100 on the remaining three test and the final he still makes a B. According to him, the test is a common on for all sections of the course offered by a number of different professors. Unfortunately, his professor covered only a portion of the material in class. The practice test his professor distributed only covered those topics the professor covered in class, Hardly seems fair, huh?

 

So his options are to file a complaint against the professor, informally whine to the department chair, or have me call and raise Cain with the university over the shabby treatment my son is receiving, pointing out that I'm paying $20,000 a year and expect better instruction.

 

Instead, my son, an Eagle Scout, has done the following: 1) he has signed up for tutoring for the course, 2) he's found when other sections of the course are being taught and is planning on auditing the classes taught by other professors, 3) he's figured out how to download course materials and study guides from all the other professors, and, 4) he spoke to the graduate assistant who teaches his lab for the course and found out that the exams are all based on the textbook and that he should focus on that, not the materials the professor gives him.

 

So, Myboy, my boy, what lessons do you want your son to gain from this experience? How do you want him to handle similar situations in, say, September?

Point taken. I would want him to handle this on his own. My suggestion will be to have him negotiate with the scoutmaster to find a middle ground. Also, he needs a commitment from the scoutmaster that he will get his conference when he has met the conditions. I wouldn't be surprised to see the scoutmaster ask for more things for him to do after he's gone on these campouts.

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It sounds like your son has already been trying to work it out with no success. A call to the District Advanvement Chair is in order by you - at least as a sounding board to get a feel for the District reaction to the situation.

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What Q said. Twocubdad's son is an adult and professors can do whatever they want. Your son is not an adult and scoutmasters cannot do whatever they want, and this scoutmaster is out of line.

 

If your son doesn't mind playing the SM's games, then that's that. If he does mind, like Q said, he'll just have to call the council and start the appeal process.

My 17-yr-old self would have hit reply all and let the SM know that he does not have the authority to do what he's doing but that I'm a reasonable guy and will camp 3 more times in addition to the a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m activities that I had already participated in, and wished he'd been there to see how active I am.

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What Q said. Twocubdad's son is an adult and professors can do whatever they want. Your son is not an adult and scoutmasters cannot do whatever they want, and this scoutmaster is out of line.

 

If your son doesn't mind playing the SM's games, then that's that. If he does mind, like Q said, he'll just have to call the council and start the appeal process.

My 17-yr-old self would have hit reply all and let the SM know that he does not have the authority to do what he's doing but that I'm a reasonable guy and will camp 3 more times in addition to the a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m activities that I had already participated in, and wished he'd been there to see how active I am.

My son is about one year ahead of MyBoy's. He is in his second semester of college. I can give you similar stories which are more than a year old, if it works better for you.

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What Q said. Twocubdad's son is an adult and professors can do whatever they want. Your son is not an adult and scoutmasters cannot do whatever they want, and this scoutmaster is out of line.

 

If your son doesn't mind playing the SM's games, then that's that. If he does mind, like Q said, he'll just have to call the council and start the appeal process.

My 17-yr-old self would have hit reply all and let the SM know that he does not have the authority to do what he's doing but that I'm a reasonable guy and will camp 3 more times in addition to the a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m activities that I had already participated in, and wished he'd been there to see how active I am.

At some point somebody needs to set this Scoutmaster straight. I highly doubt the OPs son is the only scout this Scoutmaster has been road blocking

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One side of the story here.

 

So Honestly.......how many meeting does he make a month???? How many campout has he made in the last year????

 

My Troop has an attendance policy of 50% for meetings and outing for scouts and 80% for youth leadership.

 

Active is a unit policy...That might be what his beef is

 

 

Hard to give advice......

 

Go a head and do an end around and go to the District Advancement chair and see how it affects his ECOH.

 

If your going to have that conversation with the DAC, how about not making it about your son, but about a SM who is not following Advancement guidelines and the district should look at it.

 

You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around

 

 

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Very long time lurker, MB Counselor, Committee Member, Den Leader, parent, and longstanding Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member who has heard of this situation one too many times to not finally express an opinion...

 

 

"You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around"

 

To the careful reader/observer, the quote above from a prior commenter is very telling indeed.... this type of gleefully being primed for a fight should have no place in Scouting on any level by any adult, least of all a SM. Not very attractive nor honorable.

 

If this young man has completed his requirements in good faith, has participated in good faith to the best of his abilities within the parameters of his physical abilities and other obligations, especially academic obligations which as a high school student may be exerting a tremendous pressure on him, then perhaps it's time for the Scoutmaster to move along and find other avenues within which to express his ego and need to dominate the underlings.

 

Instead of giving him a hard time over exacting attendance requirements which he may simply be unable to meet at this stage of his schooling, look at him holistically - does he LIVE Scout spirit? Have YOU as his leaders been successful in instilling the VALUES of Scouting, as demonstrated in his everyday life? Does he set an example to his high school peers by maintaining good grades and lending a hand to those who struggle? Does he have good relations with his teachers and mentors? How easily can he get letters of recommendation, from how many people in the community outside of Scouting, and what are the contents of those recommendations - non-commital or impressively glowing - and how consistent are they? Does he regularly and willingly without duress attend to the obligations of whatever faith he may follow? Does he share his time and talent with his faith community? Does he have a job? Was his Eagle project thoughtfully conceived, significant and touch people's lives by serving a real need, whether it involved a million hours or not to complete? Not everyone has to build a bridge in the woods, clear fifty miles of trails, or involve fifty people to be "worthy". Look at the VALUE it brings and the depth of maturity it took to conceive instead.

 

Has he done anything other than not meeting your stringent and most probably arbitrary attendance requirements to displease or dishonor the troop - such as have a driver license suspended, get a girl pregnant, do drugs, take alcohol or smoke pot where it is illegal, drop out of school without cause, have someone sue him, especially if these things have been very public or in the newspaper? Does he lie, steal or cheat his way to success? Has he used profane language when addressing peers or adults? Has he physically or verbally hurt or threatened another Scout or caused a safety hazard on a campout? Is he a bully? Has he been involved with the police or court system? Can the SM or other adult leaders answer NO to all these questions regarding their own behaviour in their past youth or now as adults?

 

If the answers above are yes and no to the appropriate questions, then CELEBRATE the wonderful job YOU have done to help him become that honorable type of person, instead of looking to nit-pick technicalities and artificially stand in his way to make yourself feel powerful and important.

 

With the year after year decline in overall Scouting membership numbers nationwide, SIX percent decline this year alone, wouldn't it be better for the survival of the organization you all claim to love so much to help an honorable young man achieve his long-term goal, deepen his love for the program and have him look with fondness toward the day he might have a son of his own to introduce to the program, perhaps becoming involved as an adult to lead the next generation of Scouting forward? OR is it better to take a good kid who may not be YOUR perfect, ideal Eagle and make him bitter and resentful forevermore?

 

Having worked with a number of them myself, I acknowledge there are wonderful Scouters and SM's out there. Those Scouters are owed a tremendous debt of gratitude by the Scouts they work with selflessly and by their parents. Increasingly though, and very distressingly, I am more and more frequently running across narcissistic, egotistical, power-tripping, head-game playing, passive-aggressive, subtly-bullying, hostage-taking, gate-keeping, boy-leadership usurping SM's who have completely lost sight of who and what this program is supposed to be about. It is particularly infuriating when these behaviours are committed by a SM who is himself NOT an Eagle. To them I say, you should be ashamed of yourselves and the sooner you move along the better, for the good of the boys you are negatively affecting and the Scouting organization as a whole. I encourage you to re-read the guide to advancement - it is clearly stated you don't get to gate-keep a Scout from becoming an Eagle because he does not live up to some fantasy ideal you have of what a "worthy" Eagle is - that is not your prerogative. Particularly for older Scouts, it explicitly states that a Scouts outside obligations, accomplishments, and service are to be counted toward whether he is active and spirited.

 

Ask yourself, who is truly living Scout Spirit? Who is truly making it ugly? Who is truly doing the stomping around? And more importantly, WHY?

 

Original poster, if your son can look himself in the mirror and honestly know he EARNED that rank, then teach him to respect himself enough to respectfully not take no for an answer and pursue what is rightfully his without indulging the fancy of this SM's ego. Remind him this an opportunity to learn to deal with this type of difficult personality which he will certainly encounter in the real work-world. It is unfortunate he has to encounter it so early within the supposed safety-net of Scouting. Don't let it get him down. And certainly don't be intimidated by words such as "You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around". Because that is what they are counting on and how they flourish in acting inappropriately. Oh, and anything you might agree to, GET IN WRITING with a specific deadline - concrete things that are not open to their subjective interpretation, so they cannot employ their favorite trick of all - running out the clock to the eighteenth birthday. Been there, done that, seen it all from both sides.

 

Best of luck to both of you.

 

- BoyLedMyEye

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One side of the story here.

 

So Honestly.......how many meeting does he make a month???? How many campout has he made in the last year????

 

My Troop has an attendance policy of 50% for meetings and outing for scouts and 80% for youth leadership.

 

Active is a unit policy...That might be what his beef is

 

 

Hard to give advice......

 

Go a head and do an end around and go to the District Advancement chair and see how it affects his ECOH.

 

If your going to have that conversation with the DAC, how about not making it about your son, but about a SM who is not following Advancement guidelines and the district should look at it.

 

You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around

 

Attendance guidelines only apply if they were communicated when the Scout in a timely manner (like when the Scout started his current rank). I'm stating that for the OPs benefit. I'm know you already knew that BD.

 

It's tough to give advice when we don't have all the info.

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Very long time lurker, MB Counselor, Committee Member, Den Leader, parent, and longstanding Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member who has heard of this situation one too many times to not finally express an opinion...

 

 

"You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around"

 

To the careful reader/observer, the quote above from a prior commenter is very telling indeed.... this type of gleefully being primed for a fight should have no place in Scouting on any level by any adult, least of all a SM. Not very attractive nor honorable.

 

If this young man has completed his requirements in good faith, has participated in good faith to the best of his abilities within the parameters of his physical abilities and other obligations, especially academic obligations which as a high school student may be exerting a tremendous pressure on him, then perhaps it's time for the Scoutmaster to move along and find other avenues within which to express his ego and need to dominate the underlings.

 

Instead of giving him a hard time over exacting attendance requirements which he may simply be unable to meet at this stage of his schooling, look at him holistically - does he LIVE Scout spirit? Have YOU as his leaders been successful in instilling the VALUES of Scouting, as demonstrated in his everyday life? Does he set an example to his high school peers by maintaining good grades and lending a hand to those who struggle? Does he have good relations with his teachers and mentors? How easily can he get letters of recommendation, from how many people in the community outside of Scouting, and what are the contents of those recommendations - non-commital or impressively glowing - and how consistent are they? Does he regularly and willingly without duress attend to the obligations of whatever faith he may follow? Does he share his time and talent with his faith community? Does he have a job? Was his Eagle project thoughtfully conceived, significant and touch people's lives by serving a real need, whether it involved a million hours or not to complete? Not everyone has to build a bridge in the woods, clear fifty miles of trails, or involve fifty people to be "worthy". Look at the VALUE it brings and the depth of maturity it took to conceive instead.

 

Has he done anything other than not meeting your stringent and most probably arbitrary attendance requirements to displease or dishonor the troop - such as have a driver license suspended, get a girl pregnant, do drugs, take alcohol or smoke pot where it is illegal, drop out of school without cause, have someone sue him, especially if these things have been very public or in the newspaper? Does he lie, steal or cheat his way to success? Has he used profane language when addressing peers or adults? Has he physically or verbally hurt or threatened another Scout or caused a safety hazard on a campout? Is he a bully? Has he been involved with the police or court system? Can the SM or other adult leaders answer NO to all these questions regarding their own behaviour in their past youth or now as adults?

 

If the answers above are yes and no to the appropriate questions, then CELEBRATE the wonderful job YOU have done to help him become that honorable type of person, instead of looking to nit-pick technicalities and artificially stand in his way to make yourself feel powerful and important.

 

With the year after year decline in overall Scouting membership numbers nationwide, SIX percent decline this year alone, wouldn't it be better for the survival of the organization you all claim to love so much to help an honorable young man achieve his long-term goal, deepen his love for the program and have him look with fondness toward the day he might have a son of his own to introduce to the program, perhaps becoming involved as an adult to lead the next generation of Scouting forward? OR is it better to take a good kid who may not be YOUR perfect, ideal Eagle and make him bitter and resentful forevermore?

 

Having worked with a number of them myself, I acknowledge there are wonderful Scouters and SM's out there. Those Scouters are owed a tremendous debt of gratitude by the Scouts they work with selflessly and by their parents. Increasingly though, and very distressingly, I am more and more frequently running across narcissistic, egotistical, power-tripping, head-game playing, passive-aggressive, subtly-bullying, hostage-taking, gate-keeping, boy-leadership usurping SM's who have completely lost sight of who and what this program is supposed to be about. It is particularly infuriating when these behaviours are committed by a SM who is himself NOT an Eagle. To them I say, you should be ashamed of yourselves and the sooner you move along the better, for the good of the boys you are negatively affecting and the Scouting organization as a whole. I encourage you to re-read the guide to advancement - it is clearly stated you don't get to gate-keep a Scout from becoming an Eagle because he does not live up to some fantasy ideal you have of what a "worthy" Eagle is - that is not your prerogative. Particularly for older Scouts, it explicitly states that a Scouts outside obligations, accomplishments, and service are to be counted toward whether he is active and spirited.

 

Ask yourself, who is truly living Scout Spirit? Who is truly making it ugly? Who is truly doing the stomping around? And more importantly, WHY?

 

Original poster, if your son can look himself in the mirror and honestly know he EARNED that rank, then teach him to respect himself enough to respectfully not take no for an answer and pursue what is rightfully his without indulging the fancy of this SM's ego. Remind him this an opportunity to learn to deal with this type of difficult personality which he will certainly encounter in the real work-world. It is unfortunate he has to encounter it so early within the supposed safety-net of Scouting. Don't let it get him down. And certainly don't be intimidated by words such as "You understand this is going to get real ugly if you just go stomping around". Because that is what they are counting on and how they flourish in acting inappropriately. Oh, and anything you might agree to, GET IN WRITING with a specific deadline - concrete things that are not open to their subjective interpretation, so they cannot employ their favorite trick of all - running out the clock to the eighteenth birthday. Been there, done that, seen it all from both sides.

 

Best of luck to both of you.

 

- BoyLedMyEye

I'm going to go to bat for Basementdweller.

 

"You understand this is going to get ugly if you go stomping around "

 

Basementdweller Isn't being gleeful about conflict , it's a fair and very justified warning to be careful with the situation.

 

Since you are new here, (at least to contributing) feel free to create a new thread in the New to the Forum section. Introduce yourself.

 

The situation is unfortunately more common than it should be. Glad you created a post to give some advice.

 

Yours in Service,

Sentinel947

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It took me a couple passes through for me to figure out where you are coming from, BLME, but after letting your post sink in, I'm perfectly fine with your approach evaluating Scout Spirit. You've done a great job of describing those elements which should constitute Scout Spirit.

 

But here's the rub, somewhere there is a parent -- actually probably a lot of parents -- when faced with their nearly 18-year-old son not being given the Eagle award to which they feel he is entitled, will describe your definition of Scout Spirit as "stringent and most probably artificial" or "nit-picking technicalities". Been there, done that, got the patch, hat and t-shirt.

 

As a long-time lurker, you probably remember my old friend Beavah. Da Beav was not a band-wagon kind of guy. He frequently was the first and usually only poster to take the side of the person not participating in the discussion -- the Scoutmaster in this case. Devining the other side of the story usually required some between-the-lines reading and maybe a few assumptions. Beav's usual assumption was always that the person being tried in absentia was a reasonable Scouter with the best interest of the Scouts and the program at heart. I have a soft spot in my heart for Scoutmasters, not so much from having been one for years, but from having HAD ONE for years as a Scout. (My old SM is still a very dear friend). I take great exception of your description of egotistical Scoutmasters other than in extremely rare instances. I have met many Scoutmasters with who disagree on a number of programmatic issues, but never as you describe.

 

Anyone who as been a Scoutmaster for more that a couple of years has faced the circumstance of a Scout who wanted to be a Eagle Scout but didn't particularly care anything about participating in the usual activities of being a Boy Scout. Any number of times I've had young men return to the program after a year or two or more absence looking to complete Eagle. My request of such situated Scouts is always to "get involved." This request is often independent of the Scout having completed the six month participation requirement. I will usually ask the Scout himself what level of involvement he can commitment. Clearly, I will have a number in mind but happily the Scout's commitment is usually greater than what I would have asked for. An added requirement? I'll concede some will say yes, but I believe it to be it a reasonable part of being a member of the troop. Frankly, BSA's instruction that we should remove inactive Scouts from the charter is, I think, disingenuous.

 

I will admit the part of MyBoy's OP with which I'm most uncomfortable is the SM being unaware of his son's real participation in the troop due to the SM's frequent absences. I'm the kind of SM who is at the scout house whenever the lights are on, so it is difficult for me to wrap my head around that. I would like to hear the SM's side of that and hear what the other troop leaders have to say. (Insert standard language regarding the limitations of online forums here.) No matter how thin you slice the ham, it has two sides.

 

Unfortunately, Basementdweller is all too right about appeals getting ugly. I've been screamed at by a sobbing mother, called a SOB during a troop meeting by a furious father and wasted countless hours which could have been better spent on actual troop programs (or work or my family or just about anything else.). Won't make that mistake again. The only way to win is not play the game. You don't like the decisions of the troop? (And yes, it will be a troop decision involving the SM, committee chair and COR). Then appeal or find another troop more agreeable to you point of view. The troop will not invest resources into defending an appeal. We understand that probably means the appeal will go against us, but that's okay. The remaining Scouts in the troop come out ahead. Of course that means the Scout will be working with through the council -- not the troop -- to complete and receive his Eagle.

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What Q said. Twocubdad's son is an adult and professors can do whatever they want. Your son is not an adult and scoutmasters cannot do whatever they want, and this scoutmaster is out of line.

 

If your son doesn't mind playing the SM's games, then that's that. If he does mind, like Q said, he'll just have to call the council and start the appeal process.

My 17-yr-old self would have hit reply all and let the SM know that he does not have the authority to do what he's doing but that I'm a reasonable guy and will camp 3 more times in addition to the a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m activities that I had already participated in, and wished he'd been there to see how active I am.

Like I said, TCD, your adult situation is not the same as this boy's situation. But as a mature young man, he's got decisions to make on his own.

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Beav's usual assumption was always that the person being tried in absentia was a reasonable Scouter with the best interest of the Scouts and the program at heart.

 

Unfortunately, my experience with SMs as both a youth and adult is of ignorance and ego as described by Myboy. There's a book--a few, actually--with 90% of this stuff in it. My opinion in my troop is always the minority and written off as "my way or highway" because I am literally the only person who has ready any of these books. The SM handbook, the PL and SPL HB, the Guide to Adv., and the Guide to SS, etc.

 

Every one of these threads is situational, and this SM is ignorant--willfully or inadvertently, it doesn't matter--and his position is wrong. I don't care about his intentions, I don't care about his heart: He's wrong. He is either wrong on purpose, or he is wrong because he is no good at his job, whichever, same difference. If he's wrong because he's unfamiliar with the GtA, his heart isn't in it. If he's wrong because he refuses to abide by the GtA, his heart isn't in it.

 

Next week someone might come around to pan their SM and if they're wrong and the SM is right I'll be right there by the SM. But in this situation, taking Myboy at face, the SM is a heel.

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