Tuesday, November 9, 2010

So which is the better course?

My blog post question is a serious one and I am looking for anyone's thoughts on the matter.  I feel pretty good about the path I have chosen, but I wonder if there may be a better way.  So please feel free to enlighten me if you have another alternative school of thought or opinion.

To clarify right from the start, this is not a philosophical question about the universe or anything like that.  I know my place in the eternal scheme of things and have really never had any doubt with that.  My inquiry is based on a much more trivial thing (and is probably not even worth a silly blog post about it).

Here's the question and then some background (would it be foreground since it is after the question?):
 - Is it better to leave an escalating conflict situation if you feel you are unlikely to accomplish anything positive from it?  -or-  Is it better to finish the conflict and/or try to ignore it?

Now for the background/foreground or whatever grounds I am coming from ... maybe playground is a better venue for the topic is, of course, basketball.

Tonight, and the past two weeks, we have had 12+ guys show up for basketball.  That part is nice, but when we got to 17 guys I realized you can have too much of a good thing.  I really hate playing basketball when you have to sit more than one game in between playing.  It would not be so bad if there were a better core group of players so the games go by quickly.  But the majority of the folks I play with are spotty at best and not really very passionate about the sport (I myself am probably too passionate).

I'll try to cut to the chase here.  There are always those few guys who have a certain "air" about them.  Usually they were the high school quarterback type who have put on more weight than they would ever want to admit and I assume they are still feeling like they run the world (as they likely did in high school).  Well it is these folks that I generally cannot stand ... mainly because they are never wrong.  Just like in high school where they could not be picked on or bullied or given a failing grade in a class (if the football team was any good), they also cannot ever be wrong in their adult life.  (Side note: check out the song by Bowling For Soup titled "High School Never Ends" or the video too if you can ... hilarious!)

Not really cutting to the chase you say?!  Well, you're right!  I apologize (something HS QBs - or any other sports star for that matter - rarely if ever do) and I'll try to remedy that.

So one of these "jocks" knocked a ball toward the sideline tonight.  I ran toward it and he bowled me out of the way.  To be fair, we probably more collided with one another.  The ball bounced out of bounds.  I helped the jock up and asked if he was okay.  He said yes ... and then he and his team attempted to keep the ball claiming that it was a jump ball.  I challenged this by saying that he had knocked it out and that I never touched the ball.  He raised his voice and said it was a jump ball (jocks are usually quite articulate).  I asked if that was always the rule "So if you knock a ball out of bounds all you have to do is fall down with someone and it becomes a jump ball?" and he got more angry.

At that point, I turned and walked toward the stage calling for a substitute.  My decision was to simply walk away because I recognized that I was never going to get him to accept any possibility of being wrong and it just wasn't worth the effort.

He began catcalls and his teammates joined in on the complaints of me being a princess, etc.  They called for me to stop being a baby and just play the game.  So after a few choice words about how I was stopping because he wouldn't shut up about it (which in hindsight I wish I had been mature enough not to say) ... I simply, and quietly, left.

So I ask you, humble readers who have not pestered me while I took many weeks off from blogging (thanks for that by the way) ... knowing that I was in no position to simply let it go and keep playing ... what should I have done instead, if not just realizing I was out of control of my temper and choosing actively to leave?

One side note:  This evening's incident marks at least the 5th time that I have challenged a call by this particular jock ... and he has not backed down on a single one.  About three times ago was when I decided to start leaving if/when he personally refused to back down.  This is the third such incident in about a year and I have walked away from each one.


  1. First and foremost - it's great to have you blogging again!! I've missed your posts!

    Now, in regards to your question that you've posed (this was a really fascinating post, by the way)...I feel that you did the right thing in just walking away, and I'm proud that you have taken the high road in these many situations that you've had with this particular "jock". Clearly, this dude has some issues (he seems to be a bit narcissistic!)and there is no point in trying to deal with that. Too much drama! And he's incapable of seeing beyond himself, so there's nothing you could do. I applaud your decision to walk away, even with the ribbing and insults that you got (which is a typical reaction from insecure people!) You did the right thing!

  2. I agree with Jeremy... I think you did the right thing. I would suggest trying to talk to this guy outside of basketball if you were friends like that, but if he's only someone you interact with during b-ball then he's not worth it. I have known some people that think they are still 'the big man on campus' (or big woman- haha) and I haven't figured a way to give them a reality check so I have just removed them from my life. Sometimes you just have to make the decision to avoid negativity even before it happens. Let's go running instead! ;P

  3. Oh- and by the way- good to see you blogging again! Where are the pictures of the hand in your hair?!?! ;) Missed you!

  4. I think you made the right decision. You are a better man for making the right (and tough) decision.

    This is a hard one since you love basketball so much and want to play. Unfortunately people like that ruin things. But I am a big believer in karma and I am sure it will come his way.

    I would have left as well. I remember a few years ago I was playing on a team from work and we were playing a team of such players. One of them was so mad (and full of himself) at one of my teammates that he gave him a nice shove when no one was watching. I confronted him after the game and said that if you want to play sports you have to have sportsmanship. He said a few choice words at me while huffing and puffing his chest. And I told him he was acting like a child and the guy he shoved acted like a man by just ignoring such childish behavior.

    And then I never played again (I am not as passionate about basketball though). Heh... I guess I am not much help.

  5. I like the not playing idea :) Just kidding... But maybe when the "Jock" is there you just don't play...

  6. I think walking is the best way to go. I learned a lonf time ago that loosing your temper and basketball isn't a good mix. It makes me a worse player.

    I've been up against those people too. I will usually question the call and take a stand. But, it's usually apparent pretty quickly whether what I have to say will have any impact or not. I don't feel like it's worth spending my energy on arguing when it's not going to change their mind and just ruin my game.

    But, I hate that those people that can't let go of their glory days in high school can come in and ruin the game for others without ever feeling the effects themselves. I try to remember that I am a mature adult who doens't need to prove my worth on the basketball court. And that I am going to feel better by walking away then letting it get to me too much.

    My brother-in-law posted a statement on his facebook that made me think of basketball. "Don't get mad, just play harder". That's what really pisses those types off. And it's a much better feeling than the regret that comes from saying things you shouldn't and acting like a baby! Good Luck, it sucks not to be able to play.

    Maybe you can lock him out of the church?