Category Archives: sportsmanship

Facebook is Killing Me…Not with Kindness

And it’s killing you, too.

Back in the day, when someone was a known criminal or evil doer, the townspeople would get together and hunt them down. There always seemed to be a surplus of pitchforks, so everyone could carry one as they ran. (Not very safe, people of yesteryear.) Some folks with very good balance and short hair could carry both a pitchfork AND a torch.  Yeah, an open flame. This angry mob would get themselves riled up at Farmer Jenkins barn and then run through the streets screaming and crying out for the mischief maker. Getting the hell outta Dodge was probably the best idea for the troublemaker if he wanted to avoid the tarring and feathering that came next.  Ouch.

angry mob

Luckily, tar and feathers aren’t used as much anymore, but that angry mob mentality is still very much alive in our society. Even in polite society, if there is still such a thing.  Our standards for others are so high that we are instantly outraged with any mistake, large or small. No one is allowed an error anymore. Especially if you have any sort of celebrity status. Yes, of course I have examples.

The Oscars 2017

If you are a follower of this blog, you will know that I’m not a fan of the Oscars™.  (I put the TM in there to be funny.) I am an avid movie watcher and I appreciate each and every person who is involved in the making of a film from best boy to starring actor. (What does a best boy do anyway?) That being said, I don’t like a group of elite rich folks telling me what movie is the best. The whole process is fixed and ridiculous. Here’s Adam to tell us why:

Should filmmakers be recognized and awarded? Certainly!  How about we let movie fans vote or let professionals be judged by their peers in a non-televised event?  They can tell us about it afterwards. We can write them letters and tell them they’re great. (Thanks Joe Walsh!)

joe walsh

But I’m straying from the point here. If you were awake on Oscar night or the next morning, you heard about the Best Movie announcement “epic disaster.” No, there wasn’t an earthquake or violence of any kind, but Warren Beatty was involved. Mr. Beatty and Faye Dunaway were tasked with presenting the award for Best Picture. They were given the wrong envelope and subsequently announced the wrong movie as the winner. A few minutes later, the mistake was realized and the correct film was announced. People were disappointed, I have no doubt, but everyone is okay. No one was taken to the hospital, the roof didn’t collapse and no one’s “goodie bag” was taken away. Later that evening, it was announced that the two accountants from PriceWaterhouseCoopers handed Mr. Beatty the wrong envelope.

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These two people were instantly vilified in the media. As per usual, folks who were unaffected by the accountants’ actions were crying for the accountants to be fired immediately and banned from the Oscars for the rest of their lives. And we should all get to throw an egg at them. Brian Culllinan and Martha Ruiz apologized many times and said they were “devastated” by their error. It was revealed that Mr. Cullinan was engaging in social media right before this fateful error, so that makes it even worse for some reason. If he had just been standing there picking his nose, would that make it okay? In an admirable twist of fate, PriceWaterhouseCoopers did not fire the two accountants. They are quoted as saying it was an “honest mistake.” The two accountants lost their gig at the Oscars, but their company kept them on.  An honest mistake.

Ryan Lochte

Remember that guy? Ryan Lochte is an Olympic swimmer. He has won 12 Olympic medals and currently holds four world records. That’s pretty fantastic and he did it all before he was 31 years old. This guy knows what he’s doing in the pool.

Swimming - Olympics: Day 4

Then the 2016 Olympics in Rio happened. Ryan was finished with his events and went out on the town with a couple of his teammates.  Four young men at the top of their games partying in Rio. They got drunk, they did dumb stuff. Lochte was accused of vandalizing a gas station bathroom. A security guard pulled a gun on him and the others to make them stop. Lochte handed over some money to pay for the damages and the story got way out of hand from there. So, Ryan was probably upset about the incident and told his Mom about it over the phone, but he didn’t tell anyone else. Somehow, a FoxNews reporter heard about the incident and reported it. The International Olympic Committee and Ryan both denied the allegations, but then there was the video footage.  Whoops. So now Ryan was caught lying to his Mom and possibly the Olympic Committee and now had to save face in front of the media. So, he did some creative storytelling.

Everyone turned on Ryan in a heartbeat. He was a beloved American athlete the day before, but now he is the scum of the earth. He finally admitted his wrongdoings and was quite severely punished.  He was banned from professional swimming for 10 months, he would miss the 2017 World Championships, he was not allowed to visit the White House with Team USA and he had to forfeit $100,000 dollars in bonuses.  He also lost most of his endorsements, including Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Syneron Candela. ESPN estimated he lost a total of 1 million dollars.  But I’m sure it was way more than that.

Did you ever lie to your Mom when you were in your 30s? Did you ever get drunk with your friends and do something really, really stupid? Well, I did. (Sorry Mom.) Thank God there wasn’t social media during my public drinking days. So glad I don’t have to relive those moments with the world looking on. I get it, lying is terrible, especially when acting as an ambassador for your country, but I feel the punishment did not fit the crime. He didn’t tell everyone what happened, his mom did and then he was forced into a precarious situation.  Now instead of being remembered for being one of the best and most decorated swimmers in the world, he’s that swimmer who lied in Rio. Everyone on social media ganged up on Ryan, judging him harshly for making a choice we might have made in that situation. It’s hard to know what you would have done until you’re in that exact situation.

It’s so easy to be anonymous on Facebook. Just yesterday I was scrolling through my newsfeed and I saw a news article about a celebrity speaking out against Trump. A person I know personally and love commented on the article in a very startling and vulgar way. It made me very sad. I know my friend would never speak to someone like that in person. Not in a million years, but on Facebook, it’s okay. I have other friends, people I love mind you, who constantly pummel Facebook with political posts that judge the current administration harshly. Although I don’t agree with most anything Trump says or does, he’s not even being given a chance to say or do anything. He is constantly met with a mob of folks ready to burn his house down. And then there’s an equally angry mob of Trump supporters who will burn everyone else’s houses down. It’s a constant ping pong match on social media that I’m tired of looking at.

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You may be thinking that I should just stop logging onto to Facebook. You’re probably right, but like you I am addicted to it. It’s something to do while I’m bored. I like hearing from my friends that they like my writing or my band’s video. I like seeing pics of people’s dogs and cats doing silly things. I try to scan past the negative and rejoice in the positive. I’ll listen to the news in my car and watch on TV when I get home. I’m not looking to be totally ignorant of the world’s events, but I can’t rely on Facebook as my sole and correct news source. I can’t join that angry mob. I want to hear every side of the story and make my own conclusions. I’m not going to demand that accountants resign from their jobs for making a mistake. I’m not going to sign a petition to ban Ryan Lochte from swimming for the rest of his life. I’m not going to take on your political crusades because you think I should.

What I’m getting at here is that you should think for yourself. I certainly encourage you to share your thoughts and views with others and then listen to their thoughts and views. But do it in person. Go to a town hall in your neighborhood and speak your mind. Let your voice be heard by the people who need to hear it.  But, before you speak, take some time to carefully consider your position. Did you gather all of the facts about the story? Did you put yourself in the same situation and think about what you would have done?  Can you forgive another human person? Does this issue greatly affect the outcome of your life? How about a little less judging and yelling and a little more compassion and thoughtfulness? Also, please do some research and check your facts BEFORE you share and rant.

And some pictures of your cat would be appreciated.

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The Quest for the Olympic Gold-en Rule – Quit Being Stupid!

Are you feeling a little nauseated? Headache, fever and a chill? Perhaps just an occasional pain in your tummy that comes with an auditory groan? Have you been watching the Olympics on NBC?  Okay, now I see what the problem is. Olympic fever. In a few days, you’ll feel better.  In the meantime you can distract yourself by watching something light like, “The Night Of” on HBO. (That’s a joke, it’s very good, but really heavy.)

I, too have been watching the Olympics on NBC. Initially, I didn’t think I cared, but actually I’ve been enjoying most of the coverage. Yes, I’ve even watched women’s volleyball which I normally detest. Those ladies are really good!  If you’ve been keeping up with social media, you may have noticed folks getting bent out of shape over the treatment of women during coverage of many events. You’ve probably heard of Katie Ledecky, “the male Michael Phelps.” Oh boy…that’s no good. Are you a fan of Corey Cogdell? She’s the wife of a Chicago Bears player. Oh, and she also won a bronze medal in trap shooting.

I didn’t even know trap shooting was a thing. Here’s an informative video:

 

This treatment of women is awful, archaic and chauvinistic. I’d also like to bring up Simone Manuel. I actually watched her win the gold medal. It brought tears to my eyes how excited and shocked she was to have won. What an achievement for anyone! One of the first questions NBC asked her was how it felt to be the first African American female to win an individual swimming medal. Of course she said she was proud and took inspiration from others before and hopes to offer inspiration to future swimmers. Good answer. I realize this may not be the popular opinion here, but can’t we let her have a moment to enjoy her victory as an American? I feel like if we keep putting labels on everyone, we are going to remain separate from one another. Do we call out if a winner is an Italian American or Chinese American? No. I realize it’s an historical event and we should definitely talk about it…in a few minutes or even the next day. Give her a chance to enjoy her win as Simone.  Geez. And I can’t even talk about how we’re making fun of how a woman athlete looks during competition. That’s inexcusable. Shame! Shame!

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I digress…back to NBC. First, I’d like to start out by saying I love Bob Costas. I think he’s one of the best interviewers in the business. He once had a late night talk show where he interviewed celebrities. Sports and non-sports people. His questions were so interesting.  Why was that ever cancelled?  Maybe I was the only person watching it.

bob costas

Okay, we’ve got that out of the way. During the first week of the Olympics, I tuned in when I had free time, mostly in the evenings. Here’s what I noticed…the broadcast was very America-focused. I was only seeing events where Americans were top contenders. Usually the events I saw ended in an American winning a gold or silver. The only medal ceremonies I saw were for Americans. This made me wonder if Americans were winning every single gold medal.  I looked into it and no, Americans did not win every event. Was NBC broadcasting these events for ratings? As a fan of the Olympics I was interested in seeing anyone win. I didn’t care what country they were from. Since I’ve been watching the coverage I have seen one medal ceremony that was not for the USA. ONE!  That’s nuts!

Did you see Usain Bolt win his third gold medal in the 100-meter run? He’s the fastest man on the planet three times over. I didn’t see him receive his gold medal. He’s pretty famous and they sure made a big deal about him before the race. I also saw Max Whitlock from Great Britain win the gold medal in men’s floor exercise, while Diego Hypolito and Arthur Mariano from Brazil took silver and bronze. I had no idea who these guys were, but I was thrilled for them. They were ecstatic. Jumping up and down, crying, laughing…it was a pleasure to watch. No medal ceremony. What the heck?

usain bolt

After voicing my concerns to Steve (my charming husband) he mentioned that Olympic events are televised on other channels. I wasn’t able to find much. We watched about an hour of golf on the Golf Channel. (Go figure.) I was glad to see this broadcast was not focused on the Americans, but more on the leaders in the competition. Honestly, I NEVER watch golf on TV, but this was pretty interesting. I’m not sure who won. The gentleman from Great Britain was in the lead when I tuned out. I mean, c’mon, it’s golf.

Memo: Yes, Justin Rose of Great Britain won.

Over the weekend, I did see an improvement in NBC. I saw some backstories on athletes other than Americans, which was refreshing, but no medal ceremonies. This seems like encouraged poor sportsmanship to me. Are we only interested in events where our country is the best? That’s not the spirit of the Olympic games. We are supposed be celebrating the best athletes the world has to offer. Certainly an American win offers a sense of pride, but we should also encourage and cheer for other countries. And for pete’s sake! Let’s treat the women with a little respect!  Bob Costas told me that 53% of the American Olympians are women. That’s the most in Olympic history.

Bottom line: We are all human beings and we are all capable of achieving great things. We should embrace every victory from every country, every woman and every man.  And, of course, Bob Costas.

Bob Costas Real