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The Press Box For September 30

By Ed Parsons - Editor | Oct 1, 2020

Everyone has an opinion, especially in the world today. Seems like everybody has a platform to fire off a hot take whenever they want, even if they don’t know what they are talking about. As a coach or athlete you need to understand that. It’s life and your in the wrong business if that throws you off.

Last week at a local football game there was a lot of talk coming from the sidelines (outside the fence) condemning the school administration and BOE because the gates to the field were locked and admittance was limited to a select few. It got really nasty as they also mentioned some of the players by name who they felt shouldn’t even be playing and how certain coaches should resign.

One of the recent sayings that I’ve seen that I like is, ‘The lion doesn’t care about the opinion of the sheep.’ I’ll leave it at that…It’s pretty fitting.”

Believe me, the coaches and parents know who you are. We’ve all experienced criticism at one time or another. Sometimes justly, sometimes unjustly. Whether deserved or not, criticism-if processed correctly-can prove helpful rather than just hurtful and humiliating. Use it as motivation. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, but make sure you don’t forget who the people are who had a lot to say.

Being quick to listen doesn’t come easily or naturally for most people. However, when we choose to listen first instead of being defensive, we have the time to process what actually is being said. And time helps diffuse some of the initial sting of the criticism, and creates space to decipher the source and intentions of the comments. Mostly they are simply rude and meant to hurt, solely aimed to devalue you, while coming from jealous individuals.

Being slow to speak is especially difficult in a society fueled by social-media. But in taking time to respond-if responding is even necessary-you’re more apt to remove yourself from getting defensive from the personal snub and are more likely to gain clarity, and focus on what has been said.

Being slow to become angry is a challenge since our pride naturally wants to defend our position and retaliate when it feels threatened. However, unbridled anger is rarely beneficial. Anger not only creates physical and emotional health problems, but it can be detrimental, breeding contempt, malice, and ill-will towards the criticizing source.

Thus, monitoring your emotions and understanding why you feel a certain way in response to critical words opens the possibility of acquiring new insight about yourself. Anger as a first response rarely does the same.

The old saying consider the source rings true in most of these situations. If I was to mention by name the individuals gathered in that group, I’m sure the answer would be just that. “Consider the source.” In a time when we are struggling to keep the country safely running, nothing is normal. We as fans, parents and citizens should consider the circumstances surrounding athletics at the high school level. We are lucky to even have games with the COVID-19 still out of control.

I say if you aren’t happy standing outside the fence, turn on the radio or just stay at home. We all want to watch our kids play ball, we all want to experience the game atmosphere. As fans we need to contemplate the risk to everyone involved, especially the athletes. Nothing especially our selfishness outweighs the risk of causing a local spread of the virus which could disrupt our way of life even more.

I stand behind our school decisions when it comes to the safety of our children. Nothing else matters! eparsons@tylerstarnews.com