Juvenile Behavior

I’d like to tell a story about myself for a moment…

Long ago when I was but the age of seven, I played little league. Our town’s various teams were named after major league teams, and the one I was one was The Braves. We were alright, but by no means the best. Somehow we finished second for the season, which to this day is a shock to me.

The undisputed superior team in the league was The Yankees. I remember the growing concern among the little kids on my team as the date grew nearer for us to play against the Yanks. They had destroyed every other team. They were gods among children. They had all the best players, and clearly they were hand-picked, since the Mayor’s son was on that team. The umpires never ruled against them because James Beasley (the Mayor’s son) was their pitcher. They feasted upon the hearts of their enemies, and once… once someone knew a kid who heard of a guy who struck James out and was never heard from again. Also his house burned down.

Of course none of this was true. This was the work of a juvenile collection of minds inflating the other team to be godly bogeymen. After all, it’s easier to stomach losing if you feel that it was beyond your mortal means to win. James was on their team, yes, but that was only because each team was formed based on where the child lived. He was a great pitcher, yes, but that’s because he worked hard at it, not because his father paid off umpires.

The day of the game finally came, and our inflating of our adversaries turned to making fun of them and trying to drag them down. They’re too stupid to use gloves, one kid said, so they catch the ball in their hats. A stupid rip, yes, but remember we’re all seven to nine-years-old. We turned them from gods to villains. We mocked them. We said horrible things about people we didn’t even know, all to hide our own feelings of inadequacy.

When it came time to hit the field, we were pumped up with bile for the other team. We’d show them! Those cheating bastards… We were GI Joe and they were Cobra, by god!

We got our asses kicked in every way you can imagine. They were Hogger to our level 3 Human. We, the self-appointed good guys, had lost. We lost *hard*.

At the time, it was crushing. I wanted to quit playing and indeed the next game I did manage to be conveniently sick. We had to play them again at some point, and I’d break into cold sweat thinking about it. Looking back, however, I see those days with the clarity of an adult mind. Those kids weren’t doing anything wrong… we were. They were there to play a game, and do their best at it. They never once mocked us, picked on us, or showed anything but the best sportsmanship. They were pro (for little kids) and we were scrubby little jerks making fun of them and building up bellies of hate to mask our fear.

The reason they were so good was that they dedicated themselves to being good. It was as simple as that. We, on the other hand, dedicated ourselves to fretting about the other team. All of our energy was tied up in hating them when we should have been trying to out-play them. We should have been practicing, coming together as a team, and facing game day with smiles on our faces and a “may the best team win” attitude.

We can be forgiven our mistakes though. We were all no older than nine. I can’t speak for the others on my team way back then, but I eventually saw our behavior for what it was and learned from the error.

I’m telling this story without context because it dawned on me this morning, upon waking, just how similar this story is to a situation I’m currently dealing with. The roles are reversed now, but the key message still rings true.

Sometimes… the reason you’re not doing as well as you could be is because you’re too busy looking at the other team. Worry about yourself first. Fix the problems at home. That other person is probably more successful because they’re working very hard to be a success, rather than coveting his or her neighbor’s successes.

Think about that. Don’t fall into the mental trappings of a seven-year-old mindset. Not unless you are one… then you’re fully excused.

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~ by Udiyvli on 02/10/2010.

One Response to “Juvenile Behavior”

  1. damn good stuff on a lot of levels – keep it up.

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