My niece is an amazing softball player. She was just in Florida with her team in some series that attracts a significant amount NCAA scouts. Apparently, the competition was fierce. A key player on her team was ejected very early in the series. Their star pitcher was taunted by an aggressive player on their opponent’s team. She let emotion get the best of her and retaliated with no regard to consequences. Her thinly veiled rage was detected, which is why she was charged with intentionally hitting a batter. This is grounds for dismissal. After this huge misstep, the team fell apart and they lost in a blow-out.
My son tells me that in soccer, savvy players will scout out the weakest link and make every attempt to break them down emotionally so they will react like a pressure valve and call a foul on themselves. I like that he knows this, which has taught him to understand the impact of giving one’s power away. He has learned to see right through taunting and use it to his advantage channeling that energy and adrenaline to enhance his own performance. Unfortunately, my niece’s teammate did not understand that she was falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book. She stooped even lower than her antagonist. She hurt her chances with the scouts behaving like a loose cannon in a high stakes environment. She also hurt her team by depriving them of an important aspect of their strategy – her.
Coincidently, I am friends with the pitcher’s parents. I promise you, they blamed her dismissal on biased refereeing. They denied that the hit was intentional and decried the refs for not intervening to punish the taunting that led up to it. This is a girl who has won prestige for her community service and respect for activism at church. The parents are anti-bad behavior! It was very clear to me that their love of righteousness only worked one way…. for them. When someone else acts out – they are sinning. When one of theirs acts out, it is because they have been pushed to it by victimization. Then I pointed out their self-deluded sweet-spot to my sister in some good old-fashioned gossipy back-stabbing. This is when my alarms starting blaring!
Here I was, the teacher of the mirror philosophy, pointing out a hypocrite as if the very act of doing so wasn’t utterly hypocritical! I had to stop to accept and forgive my self-delusion so I wouldn’t be swallowed by my shame and begin trying to rationalize or justify my behavior. Rather, I admitted it to my sister and explained all the various ways I have done what she did and how easy it is to fall into her parents’ trap… as I had so clearly just demonstrated. My God, this stuff is insidious Everything I spot – there I am!! This is why I affirm quite often that I intend to see and assume the best in all encounters and situations. As I always say, I am a work in progress that looks like two steps forward and one step back, two steps forward…..