Thursday, November 8, 2012

Poor sport

Finally, the ugliness is over. In the last month, I learned that the only thing that brings out the viciousness in people more than a presidential election is baseball. Now that the election and the World Series are finished and the winners have been determined, I hope that the rudeness level can be taken down from utterly abhorrent and back to just the usual.

I didn’t unfriend anyone on Facebook during the World Series or the election, but I definitely considered it. I did unsubscribe from a few people so I wouldn’t read so much nastiness every day, but even that didn’t make it go away completely.

When did people stop being good sports? When did it stop being important to be gracious in winning and losing? How are children supposed to learn how to be good sports when the adults around them are sore losers and obnoxious winners?

To avoid talking politics, which I almost always try to do, I’ll keep most of my examples baseball-related.

I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over thirteen years now, and when the Giants beat the Texas Rangers in the 2010 World Series, I celebrated with everyone else. I wore orange and black and hollered at the television. Fans come together over their love for the home team and the game of baseball, and I was right in there with them.

I would’ve celebrated just as hard this year, except the Giants played against my former hometown team, the Detroit Tigers. I grew up watching the Tigers play and watching my dad pump his fist in the air and yell “YEAH!” whenever our team scored.

As much as I’ve come to love the Giants, I had to route for my roots. Plus, the Tigers haven’t won a World Series since 1984, and I like to cheer for the underdog.

I knew I would catch some flack from my California friends, especially after I posted a photo of the super awesome, kick-ass Detroit pumpkin I carved. But I had no idea I would get so much.

I’m a good sport when I know it’s all in fun, so the first few comments didn’t bother me. But as with any joke, it’s only funny the first time you hear it. After the bazillionth time, a joke’s just not funny anymore. Enough already! You smile and pretend to laugh, but your jaw is clenched as you try not to visibly roll your eyes. “Yeah, haven’t heard that one before... haha…grrr.…

I’m all for posting positive comments about the team (or politician) you support. I’m all for healthy competition and the spirit of the game (or debate). I also enjoy a good analytical discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of each team (or candidate).

But in both the cases of the World Series and the election, I witnessed entirely too many negative comments about the opposition, and the comments weren’t limited to the game or the candidates.

People were seriously mocking Paul Ryan’s hair and Obama’s pants, as though fashion and hairstyle choices are relevant to one’s ability to lead a nation.

I read comments bashing my home state and its people. They said Comerica Park was ugly, Detroit was ugly, the Tiger fans were ugly, the team’s colors were ugly. But the only ugly thing I noticed were the words, written and spoken, that could never be taken back.

I know most Giants fans didn’t mean anything by their gentle joshing and it was all in fun, but a few took it too far with their hurtful words. Maybe they didn’t realize it, but they were attacking my childhood memories, devaluing my nostalgia for the team I grew up with, criticizing my home.

If you said that the Tigers’ defense couldn’t hold up against the Giants, I would concur. If you said that AT&T Park’s beautiful views of the bay are unmatched, I would enthusiastically agree. But when you say awful things about Michigan and “Michigan people” right to my face (or to my Facebook), that’s just plain ignorant. Although I love California, I’m still a “Michigan person,” whatever that means.

All I could think was “These are our children’s role models?” I basically heard the adult version of “Nah-nah-na-boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo. We rule. You drool. Nee-ner, nee-ner, nee-ner!”

Highly unbecoming.

If I heard my child behaving that way, we would have a serious talk about what it means to be respectful and gracious in winning and in losing. It’s a shame that adults often expect better behavior from children than they expect of themselves.

Now, with the election over as well, the ugliness is finally subsiding. I’m sure you all felt that, too, skipping right over anyone’s Facebook status that was more than a couple lines long to avoid reading yet another half-baked, ill-informed, unconstructive political rant. There are still a few Romney supporters who are being sore losers and a few Obama supporters who are being obnoxious winners, but hopefully they’ll stop using Facebook for their platform in another day or two.

Why can’t they just write a blog and keep their ranting there like normal people do? Duh. :)

Pouring my heart out with Shell today over at Things I Can't Say. Check her out!