I have never really been the most popular guy on the planet. But, one thing I have always earned, is respect. This past year you may have noticed I have been missing in action here. I used to write every day about what was going on in my life on the field, but I stopped. Why? Because I didn’t want to hurt any feelings.
That’s right. Rick the Giant Ass tried to play nice-nice. And what did it get me? Nothing. The ones I tried to appease left angry anyway, and the ones that stood by and believed in me paid the price. Don’t get me wrong, I had nothing but good intentions.
Had I written all year about the daily activities of the league, my teams, and my players, I would have had to of called out a lot of people for behaving badly. Character would have been questioned, doubt raised, and conflict would have been inevitable. Funny thing is, those same people fought with me all year any way! And now, they have removed themselves from my life. All I did was compromise my principles in order to delay inevitable conflict!
My wife said it best, she said, “Why are you trying to make everyone happy all of a sudden? Go back to being an a**hole and at least then you are true to yourself and your core beliefs”. Wow! Sometimes we simply need a smack in the face don’t we? Don’t get me wrong, I feel that I am a fun loving great guy, but not everyone sees me that way. Go figure.
One of the coaches I respect a great deal told me like this. I asked him how he dealt with the irate, the disrespectful, and those with total disregard for authority. His reply? “I’m pretty much a ‘my way or the highway’ kind of guy”. He added, “I will tell them, ‘yeah that’s one way to do it, but it’s not how we are going to do it here’”. I love it!
Of course this doesn’t mean I am not open to new ideas, creative concepts, and individual motivational mechanisms. In fact, I am the kind of guy who likes to delegate authority and sit back and enjoy how inspiring the human spirit can be! There is nothing better than teaching a kid how to do something and then sitting back and enjoying watching them succeed. The same applies to coaches and parents. But from this point forward:
-I will NEVER compromise my integrity again.
-I will stand strong and believe in all my positions.
-I will be open to new ideas but decisive about whether to institute them.
-I will empower all those around me.
-I will praise extraordinary effort.
-I will not accept sub par effort.
-I will not permit disrespect of any kind.
-I will give those that earn it respect.
-I will not tolerate insubordination.
-I will have a plan and execute it.
-I will be honest and straight forward when delivering information someone may not want to hear.
-I will be true to my players, my league, my team, and myself.
Even with 20 years of experience, it is possible to fall into a self inflicted trap. At least I recognized the error of my ways and hope to never repeat it.
I received an email today from our
Umpire in Chief . He was commenting on the spectator’s perspective. Here is his observation:
"You see that crowd over there, they REALLY want the outcome on a play to be one way. And that crowd of people over there, they REALLY believe what they’re about to see is going to have a completely different result. In a way they’re all predisposed to believing what they see, before the play even happens.
Now me, as I don’t care either way who scores the most runs, I may just be the best judge of things out there – good angle, bad angle or no angle at all"!
How true is that observation? So often we see managers, coaches, and spectators questioning umpire’s calls. Why? If you don’t dwell on a bad call, it will quickly be in the past and as you move forward, it will not really even be an issue in the game.
I have noticed a continued lack of
respect for authority. Check out #2 on a softball blog I found. He provides an interesting insight to the spectators chastising of the umpires. Besides his perspective, what are we teaching the kids? Why are we surprised when they disrespect all levels of authority when they are older? Why are we surprised so many kids get in so much trouble any more? Might we all want to look in the mirror?
Everyone needs a moan and grown every now and then, but constantly abusing the umpires is ridiculous!
How will we ever find umpires if this is how they are treated? How will we ever raise leaders if they are not taught respect?
Do you have any bad spectator or
manager stories to share?
Let’s face it. About this time of the season some conflicts begin to rear their ugly heads. Something happened somewhere and someone feels wronged so they begin to argue or lash out. Often this happens when you are losing, but it is not exclusive to that.
Focus on Doing Right
The bottom line is that we have to forget about what the other team is doing wrong, and focus on how we can act right! If the other team is completely disrespecting us, we must kill them with kindness. If they are yelling and screaming, we must sit back and allow them to hang themselves.
Where are the Parents?
And MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL! We, as parents, must control our children, and let the other team worry about theirs. Why would an adult argue with a child of another team? What can possibly be gained from this exchange? Do not stoop to other’s levels, conduct yourself as an adult.
As managers, we have to take the lead on this. We have to DEMAND that our kids act with respect and demonstrate sportsmanship even when we are not getting the same in return. We have to simply demand that our players act with a level of dignity, whether winning or losing, regardless of how the other team is acting. There is no other option.
My teams will NEVER disrespect another team. I may have a player get out of line occasionally, but this is IMMEDIATELY nipped in the bud and if it recurs, punishments are doled out such as sitting out the rest of the game or for the next game. My players know this, they know I mean it, they don’t push this limit because they know they will lose.
Cause and Effect
Cause and effect are very important lessons to be learned in
Little League . Please make sure to:
Clearly define your rules
Always enforce them
Never deviate from them even if it means losing the game
Communicate clearly and effectively.
Getting in front of this will insure that your team plays with respect. When conflicts arise, your team will rest assured that you will handle it and that you have their best interests in mind. They will not feel the need to get involved and you will avoid potential blow up situations.
How do you handle heated situations? What do you do to diffuse the situation?
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