On Passion, Perspective, Play-offs and People Skills

Yin Yang BasketballI only ref occasionally, but whenever I do, and deal with each team’s highly biased view of the exact same plays I am seeing, I am amazed again at how human passion affects not just how we feel, but what we actually see.

Passion filters reality, causing us to mostly see that which we were already inclined to believe.

There is a poignant scene in the movie The Color Purple where a white women who is prejudiced about blacks, gets her car stuck. A group of black men come to her aid, but all her predetermined mind can see is a mob of black men coming at her and she freaks out. No amount of calming or logic from these men can persuade her to see the situation differently.

I think of that scene often when discussing basketball here.

Passion predisposes us to see things a certain way.  This is a reality of the human mind that all of us who enjoy discussing sports, religion, or politics need to keep in mind.

In practical terms, just because someone sees things differently than you, and won’t come around to your way of thinking, it doesn’t mean he or she is a belligerent loser with a reserved seat on the short bus to Troll Middle School, and is worthy of nothing more than your personal disdain and personal attacks.

The reality of it is, he is simply tainted differently than you are.

In fact, if you were in his shoes, you’d likely see it his way too, or at least understand why he thinks the way he does.

Whenever you feel the passion rising in you and are tempted to have a go at someone, remind yourself of this.

In time, the end of season awards will be handed out. In time, playoff teams will get eliminated. In time, some of us are going to be ecstatic and others enraged. Have you given any thought as to how you are going to react and how you are going to treat others when that time comes? Grumble? Gloat?

I knew a guy years ago who HATED women drivers. I’ll spare you the details of his complaints, but he complained about them a lot.  One night after work, he came upon a car ahead of him driving slowly in the fast lane. He grumbled about women drivers as he pulled around her, only to discover that the driver was actually a man.

Did he say to himself, “Oh! Wow. Maybe I was wrong about women drivers. Maybe men are just as bad.”

No. He said, “Stupid man! You drive like a woman!”

You don’t want to be that guy.

You don’t want to be that guy in the group who is embarrassing himself in belligerent defense of his biases, unaware of how he comes off, or how he turns others off.

By all means, debate with passion, but do it also with tolerance and with class.

After all, friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

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