Article: Arrogance and Ego Have No Place on Ballfield
By Janet Pfeiffer
May 17, 2008
Things had been relatively quiet for some time. I thought "Maybe it's over. Maybe they've had a change of heart and decided there was a better way."
It seems that I was a bit premature in believing that adults (not all) could enjoy a sporting event and actually behave like adults. You know: be good role models for the kids and show them how to accept the game as it is and resolve any disputes with dignity and maturity.
At a recent Randolph vs Delbarton high school baseball game (game, not life-or-death situation), an irate man challenged the call of the umpire. When the ump asked the man to leave, he then approached the other umpire in a combative manner and grabbed him by the throat. Bystanders intervened but ultimately he was arrested.
This is not a new occurrence but it certainly is a terrifying one. Several years ago a similar incident occurred. However, the end result was far more tragic. One of the men involved in this altercation actually died. The other was charged with manslaughter. Two live ruined. Two families left to grieve forever. And for what - a game?
Life isn't fair and sometimes there will be bad calls made against us or our children. We need to be able to handle these challenges in a safe and intelligent manner and teach our children to do the same. Show them that it's ok to disagree with one another and that differences can actually lead to great dialogue. They allow for individuals to share ideas, feelings, beliefs, and desires. Negotiating a compromise is the most effective way of resolving a dispute but that doesn't always happen. Present your best case but remember who has the authority and the final say. Respect that person's position, as you would want yours to be respected if the situation was reversed, and accept the outcome. We don't always have to get our way and that's actually a good thing. We can learn to live with disappointment (without resentment and anger). Put everything into perspective, let it go and move on to another activity.
Arrogance and ego have no place on the ball field or in any other area of life for that matter. How egotistical of me to think that just because my opinion differs from the other's that my view of the situation has more merit than theirs or that that person should concede to my demands? Adults need to get a grip on their emotions, maintain their composure under pressure, and display a high level of proper decorum.
While it's perfectly understandable to become upset when witnessing what we perceive as an injustice, it is definitely not permissible to act out in an aggressive or hostile manner.
Next time you find yourself at your child's ballgame, or in any situation where you are in disagreement with another, try implementing the following three steps to avoid a potentially ugly, or deadly, encounter:
STOP... as soon as you find yourself becoming emotional and wanting to lash out at someone, stop. Do nothing. Say nothing. You cannot do any damage if you're doing nothing.
WALK... away from the situation. Take a break. Give yourself time to calm down and cool off. Out of site, out of mind, right? Whenever one reacts on an emotional level there is a higher probability that the decision will be a bad one. Emotion clouds sound judgment. Calm minds make more rational and intelligent choices.
TALK... to yourself or to someone else about why you are so upset. Talking it out allows one to safely release the emotions in a neutral environment and allows the intellectual brain to take over. Think about why you're really upset, what the real issues are, what you'd like to accomplish and the best way to handle yourself in order to do that.
Put everything into perspective. How important is this issue, really?
Once you have calmed down, thought things through carefully and rationally, it's safe to approach the other party to try and resolve the issue.
If the emotions resurface, repeat the process. Excuse yourself and return when calm.
You don't always get a second chance to be smart. One bad choice can change your life forever. It's really not worth it.
Janet Pfeiffer is a columnist for the Daily Record.
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