I recently attended a cold, windy soccer game for Minion #3. With 5 kids, I’ve seen a lot of soccer, and I’ll be seeing a lot more! At this particularly unpleasant evening I had a, er shall we call it . . . an altercation with another parent.
I was pushing a double stroller back and forth behind the rows of parents, keeping one ear to the twins’s demands for “Bottle!” or “Nack!” or “Toy!” (They do speak in complete sentences, but not when they’re whiny, cold and miserable) and one eye on the game. As I passed the row of parents for the opposing team (keep in mind we are all from the same town, same schools, same everything!) I heard a father who is known as a complainer make a comment about the ref’s calls. I’d like to point out these kids are 6 and 7, just for clarity’s sake. His comment was mild, but wrong, and since I’m the wife of the regional soccer commissioner, I took it upon myself to issue a gentle reminder aimed at all the parents as I passed. “It’s just U8 soccer. Thy’re just kids having fun.”
I honestly meant it as a gentle reminder. There was no malice involved. And I wasn’t even singling him out. I didn’t say his name. My tone was not aggressive. And we’ve known each other for years. Apparently, this was unacceptable.
He marched after me demanding to speak and informed me he “didn’t appreciate me calling him out like that.” The discussion ensued, which included me pointing out that the refs are volunteers, they aren’t perfect, it’s U8 soccer, they’re just having fun, and he was wrong anyway because the ref called it right, he just didn’t know the rules, but it was wasted breath. He just wanted to argue, interrupted everything I said and brought up other issues that had no bearing on the discussion in the first place. But the biggest problem was, he was upset I dared to challenge his assessment of the game. And this is where a soccer game is like a blog post.
If you want to internally vilify a referee, call them every name in the book, complain about their calls, convince yourself they are being paid by the other team (I actually had a parent claim this about a volunteer ref at a recreational soccer game for 12 and 13 year-olds) then be my guest. If it’s in your brain you can think whatever you want. The minute you blog, Facebook post, Tweet or speak about your opinions (soccer or otherwise), you have allowed the world around you to respond. So don’t be pissed when someone disagrees with you!
I think it’s important when you respond to an opinion to be as respectful and calm as you can be, otherwise you’re just perpetuating an argument. In fact, if someone’s opinion has you so worked up you’re spitting teeth, it might just be better to hold your tongue. If their opinion is so far out there that you’re that upset, nothing you say can bring them back to the realm of reality. It can be hard, but sometimes it’s better. I could have let that incident go without making my comment, but I wasn’t angry, and I didn’t realize how angry this other person would get. But that was his issue, not mine, and I never apologized for my comment, because he was the one who took it wrong. Plenty of other parents smiled and waved and indicated they agreed with me.
Anyway, just keep that in mind when you post. If you don’t want people to respond, then keep it to yourself. That’s what a blog is for: to generate discussion and share ideas. It’s not about you being right, or getting the last word. And if that’s what you’re aiming for you might want to reconsider why you’re blogging. And the same goes for commenting. Opinions are like . . . well, you know, everyone has one, so don’t expect everyone’s to match yours.
Do you like receiving comments on your blog posts? What if they don’t agree with you? And do you comment on the blogs of others? Why or why not? What’s your biggest pet peeve when bloggers respond to your comments on their posts?