You know who you are. You have no class. You can't control yourself. You're a thug. Constantly going on social media to insult and belittle those who don’t share your point of view. Systematically going after those who dare criticize your own or someone else’s sports team (even when they do it in a clean and respectful way). Aggressing even those who wanted no controversy, or disagreement, just to have a healthy discussion. Perhaps they wanted to vent because they were unhappy or mistrusting of the direction their favorite team was heading in. They have every right to voice their opinion, and even their displeasure.
But you chose to go on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media platform your sorry ass is on, and rip that person. You even chose to turn it into a personal attack, to spew your derogatory vitriol, for no apparent reason other than the fact you are insecure, unfulfilled in life, bitter at everyone and everything. Worse, you are incapable of debating like a civilized human being.
This is not Pleasantville. Most things are not either black or white (I get perhaps it's a poor choice of words in this heightened raging race debate but…). There are different shades of grey, nuances, more than one valid point of view. This is true in politics, sports, religion, cuisine, heck just life in general. The bottom line is everyone is entitled to voice their opinion, as long as it remains respectful. Just because someone’ viewpoint is different than your own, does not mean they are wrong. And it certainly doesn’t give you the right to be rude, aggressive and condescending.
I was at a park this morning watching little kids 3, 4, 5 years old, playing together in the plash pad. Kids with different hobbies, interests, backgrounds, just soaking in the sun. A welcoming place for all to have fun, to forget about their day-to-day trivialities, to feel included and respected.
Watching sports, rooting for a team is also a way for us adults to enjoy ourselves, forget our personal problems, perhaps a way to cap off what was a tough day at work, or in our family life. So why does it have to feel so heavy, why are those people there to rain on your parade, just waiting to bring you down, or worse, to insult you whether it be on social media or not, post game, post win, post loss or post posting your point of view.
Your team will win some and lose some, I get that’s a cliché. But why does it always have to turn into something grave, why must it feel so serious. Can’t we just enjoy the game, why do fans have to be so critical to other fans whether they be of their own team or an opposing one.
As anyone who has ever read my blog knows, I try and call a spade a spade when it comes time to evaluate, comment on my beloved Montreal Canadiens. I don’t want to feel like I have to hold back. If I see something I don’t like whether it be pertaining to the team’s management or the play of one or more players, and it’s my right to voice my displeasure. It’s not because you are a fan that you should not have speak out or criticize them. Anyone who believes the opposite is probably incapable of any sort of personal introspection.
Case in point did the Canadiens have to put out a video mocking (albeit tongue in cheek) fans for being up and down in their support of the team. I mean, haven’t the last 30 years with this organization been just that, a roller coaster of emotions, numerous coaches, endless changes to the core, poor player development, and well, a whole bunch of disappointing seasons, missed playoffs and overall lackluster performances? Aren't the Canadiens, not proving my point here- that a fan should not criticize their own team, get down, heck even boo when they feel they have not gotten their money’s worth? How is this different than going to a concert and feeling like the performer did not deliver? Or ordering an item through say Amazon and realizing it did not live up to its stated purpose and capability?
This past week, I posted on a Facebook page post game about how it would be a good thing to have the Canadiens lose the series to the Leafs. That for the good of the franchise going forward, short-term failure would lead to much-needed organizational change. What followed was the usual social media savagery, name-calling (being called a pansy, a knitter, a loser, an idiot, you know the usual grade one insults except here coming from full-grown adults). It was truly disheartening, to the point where I considered closing my Facebook account, as well as my blog. I was fed up that every comment posted on Twitter, FB, or anywhere else, is often followed by a deluge of insults and put downs between fans (again, often ones rooting for the same team!).
But it's not just a bunch of imbeciles who have no life that get off on blasting others. It's friends (well, maybe not anymore), relatives, some media personalities, who are so insecure and thin-skinned that the moment you respond to one of their posts with a different point of view, you become the subject of their ridicule. And if they happen to have thousands of followers, they feel even more empowered to do so.
It’s bad enough that as a society, we are more polarized than ever. Whether it’s over race, political views on abortion, gun rights, foreign policy and so forth. No one is asking you to change your points of view or even meet halfway. But again, can one not have a healthy conversation, can one not at least try and listen, consider, reflect on someone else’s point of view?
Some will say, well, then, get off social media. But that would simply be giving in to the bullies. Reinforcing their power in removing free speech. That can’t be the solution. It should never be. I’m not sure I have the answers in terms of how to deal with this unfortunate reality or that I know of a way to lighten the poisonous atmosphere we seem to be living in today.
But the truth is can we just be able to watch a game without an ensuing war of words, without people taking it all too seriously?
Frankly, YOU take the fun out of being a sports fan. And YOU don't deserve a voice.