Character Building

All too often, I find myself chewing things over before making a final decision about where said ponderings will end up. Sometimes I spit them out to display my regurgitated mess for all to see or I’ll swallow them down and move on from it all.

In recent days, I’ve experienced a few situations where the “freedom of speech” term has been abused to the point where I can barely put it into my mouth. Needless to say, these events are not destined for digestion.

Let’s first discuss a man by the name of Allison Caldwell from Pembroke, NH. Mr. Caldwell, apparently, finds religious diversity to be rather offensive. In fact, he finds Jews to be downright despicable human beings. However, our precious freedom of speech allowed his letter sharing these hateful views to be printed for all to see.

Letters poured in from all walks of life in the Granite State, denouncing the publication’s decision to print the message. The Concord Monitor fiercely defended their position – recognizing that it was tasteless but falls within the acceptable guidelines to our 1st Amendment Right. I can respect their willingness to try to do “the right thing” even if it isn’t the popular thing. But, there is something “off” about posting a message that sends a blanket message of hate directed at a certain group of people.

My second experience was a first-hand one and came at my indoor soccer game this evening. As a fiercely competitive individual, I often get on the nerves of the referees. Tonight, we had a younger gentleman who, apparently, is at his wit ends with our team. He missed several obvious hand balls and I had no hesitation in calling him out on his missteps.

As the game wore on, he grew increasingly upset with my “helpful” suggestions and began ranting about how pathetic our team was. His anger grew when it became apparent that his “authority” was not going to shut me up. At the end of the game, he walked past me and shared a nice little comment with me. I’ll just say that one word rhymed with ducking and the second part sounds similar to bore.

This “man” felt such anger towards me and my commanding ways that he attacked me at the core of my being. He used violent, angry words to share his views. My fellow teammates asked me to let the matter go but, by principal, I cannot do this.

At what point do we draw the line for opinions and hateful words? What good can come from either of these two situations? What ever happened to “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?

And, most importantly, when did acceptance and tolerance become endangered species?

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3 Responses to Character Building

  1. boltgirl says:

    Guy sounds certifiably unhinged.

    Like

  2. AMR says:

    I was not passing the buck – I tend to be a sarcastic bitch and people take me the wrong way. I came give it back and don’t tend to back down easily. Regardless of my tendencies, I never got into his face, yelled at him or said anything more than “hand ball” on several occasions.

    When I received a swift kick across the kneecaps and was a little slow in getting up, I was told “get over it – it’s called soccer”. I’m perfectly fine with that reasoning if it had gone both ways. But, when the referee is literally telling me that he thinks our team sucks and that we are pathetic in a “fun” league, why shouldn’t I think that his lack of equality was personal?

    There’s nothing that should be that serious in a rec soccer league that provokes a referee, umpire, etc. to look you in the face and say “Merry fucking Christmas, you fucking whore”. If you, as both a player and referee, agree that my actions warranted that response then I guess sports is not what it used to be.

    Like

  3. boltgirl says:

    It sounds like the referee should have taken control of the situation at the outset with a yellow for dissent, and maybe at halftime given a reminder to the teams that FIFA’s 2009 Directives to Referees reinforce that handling is only to be called on deliberate hand-to-ball situations, not ball-to-hand.

    I am a very competitive player. I am also a referee. And I can tell you that, despite their best efforts, refs are not going to call perfect games any more than we as players will play perfect games, and that making “helpful” suggestions during a game is not going to change the way it is called. It sounds like your man was completely unprofessional, as “professional” as a forty-buck paycheck for a weekend job can make you, but I would also suggest what I tell every player who comes unglued on me when I don’t call a game the way they would like: take the class, put on the yellow shirt, and find out how different it is to make the calls when you’re the one with the whistle or flag in your hand rather than being a player or spectator. Or, alternately, I ask them how much they would enjoy me coming into their workplace and screaming at them about how they’re not doing their jobs right.

    He was wrong to lose control of the situation and forget he had cards in his pocket. You were wrong to take “commanding ways” with him (it’s in the Laws of the Game). There is absolutely no justification for his language toward you, but I gotta say that I understand the frustration of having a bad day as a ref being compounded by players who forget they’re not playing in the World Cup. “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” goes both ways.

    Like

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