Friday, November 15, 2013
My loyal reader...and equally loyal sister, Sherry, called me the other day with a few suggestions for this blog, one of which was to clarify the first half of my previous post about the basketball player, which I have since done. I had a feeling it was confusing when I wrote it, and since she read it quickly twice and didn't get it, that was enough reason for me to go back to edit it.
Her second suggestion was that I write my thoughts on the NFL bullying case that has been such a topic of conversation around the country the past few weeks.
My thought is this: ______________.
I have no thought on it for the overly simple reasons that:
a) For some reason, I just really don't care
b) I don't like to judge and
c) I am a big believer that to really be qualified to express an opinion on something, one has to gather as much evidence as possible coming to a fair conclusion. To truly understand that case, I'd need to read what the victim was alleging, what the alleged bully said about that, and then what the team owners and coaches and even his teammates had to say about it, just to see if what was alleged was true...which takes me back to a) above.
I was bullied a little in 9th grade, but not much. Enough that it was one of the reasons my parents gave to want to send me to Westtown, but I didn't have a lot of courage in those days, so antagonism of any sort seemed pretty scary to me. So yeah, I don't like bullies, and won't try to defend them. But I also know there is a certain amount of acceptable hazing that goes on in pro sports that is just team camaraderie-type stuff, which is not that big a deal to me.
In this case, it's like the situation with the Notre Dame star football player last year and something about a fake online girlfriend? I really have no idea or very little what went on there even though people were talking about it everywhere I went and on every late night talk show I watched. I just didn't care. That is personal life stuff that just doesn't concern me and I'm not comfortable judging the person/people involved or analyzing their personal choices.
So, sorry, Shez. I'm the wrong one to ask about that sort of thing. But thanks for the idea and for the editorial feedback, which is always welcome.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Driving home Friday night, at some point the juxtaposition of two otherwise seemingly unrelated thoughts drew me to an unlikely conclusion.
The first thought centered around Andrew Bynum, who was returning to play against the 76ers that night. As backround, when the 76ers traded (an awful lot) to get him last season, he was one of the top players in basketball. It was only after getting him that the extent of an injury he had became partially, and eventually fully known. As a result, he never played a single game for the 76ers and the fans have made it clear on sports talk radio that they resent him for it, not just because they were so excited to get him and their team gave up so much for him and ended up with nothing, but because it was alleged that after he had one bad knee and had missed half the season, it was reported that he then hurt his other knee...bowling! With half the season yet to play! And then when the season ended there was a youtube video posted of him dancing the salsa in Spain, on the knees he supposedly couldn't play on.
But now with his contract ended with Philly, he is playing for another team, and is just the proverbial shell of his former playing self, averaging half the minutes and less than a quarter of the points and rebounds he had before he was hurt.
So there was an expectation, since met, was that the 76ers fans were coming to the game more to boo Bynum than to cheer their hometown Sixers. Even though I am a fan of the Sixers and understood why the fans were upset, I felt myself feeling more sorry for the player than angry with him. And, as I say, I felt a certain amount of sympathy for him.
My second line of thinking was being upset with myself for some relatively innocuous thing I'd said earlier that day. I can't even remember what it was now, but it was similar to something I'd said earlier in the week that I still wish I could take back. I was walking into a meeting with a prospective Head of West Chester Friends School and was introduced as the President of the Board, which I virtually never identify myself as, usually just saying I'm a member of the Board, lest it seem I'm trying to impress anyone.
Someone else in the room, who I admire greatly, then said "He's a very important person!" And when I looked at her, she had her usual big smile that let me know she was just kidding me, but complimenting me at the same time. All I could think of, having somewhat being put on the spot, was that she was right, but only in terms of Trev and Emma and the rest of my family, but under the pressure of the moment, with all eyes on me, all I could think to say was "I am, to some people."
It wasn't until 5-10 minutes later that I thought back to that exchange and thought - what a dolt! That was worse than if I had just identified myself as the President in the first place. It both seemed condescending and self-righteous in one badly played sentence. And I've been trying to find a way to go back to her to apologize ever since. But then I think it seems self-absorbed to even come back to it at all and she has probably long forgotten it.
And so I'm kicking those thoughts around, thinking how unnecessarily hard I'm being on myself when it hit me:
Liberals are much more forgiving of other people than they are of themselves and conservatives are more likely to be just the opposite.