Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why Am I So Surly (At Times)?

What, me surly?  Hmmmmmm...

I still smile plenty...
I'm sure old schoolmates and teammates remember me as quiet and almost always smiling. I was even voted as having the best smile in my high school senior class.  Surly -- or unfriendly?  I think that most who have known me over the years would describe me as anything but.

Is it a matter of getting older?  I honestly don't think so.  As a matter of fact, Brenda and I probably smile more often than anyone else in our neighborhood, and we spend most of our days and nights laughing like crazy.  As a matter of fact, can you picture the two of us being in a pool almost on a daily basis, throwing a ball back and forth for like an hour straight, and laughing the entire time?  Yup, that's how things go most of the time around here.

As does Brenda.
Still, I guess I have been coming off on the testy side a lot lately, particularly in some social media congregations.  As a matter of fact, mostly in social media circles.

Why so?  Ugh.  

As it so happened, one of my regular business newsletters arrived this morning, and a guy named Gabor was writing about when friends or family tell you that something you strive for with all your might can't be done.  Or, as he says, "When they say that your idea is dumb, stupid and idiotic...  What do you say?"

Gabor didn't stop there, and he continued on with a tear that would take a half-hour for us to read.  But he ended that part of his tirade by suggesting that he just smiles and walks away.  As he says, "... because both they and their words are POISON to my success."

Just so you know, though, he was talking about business success, while I'm mainly embroiled in hockey discussions -- and primarily in what are or aren't best practices when helping developmental aged players.

One thing Gabor and I agree on is how to deal with friends and family when their opinions on business vary drastically with ours.  I mean, I definitely DO "smile and (at least figuratively) walk away".  When it comes to hockey opinions, however -- and especially when those opinions are out there for the world to see, I'm not backing down a bit.  And, ya, I might just get a little surly after a certain kind of conversation has gone on for too long.

Now, let me tell you where the problem really lies...  I've already said that a major difference for me lately is that comments in social media are "out there for the world to see".  My concerns go a lot deeper than that, however...  What really troubles me is that newer or less experienced hockey parents and coaches are likely following a conversation, and they're quite probably guessing that everyone who shares an opinion there really knows what he or she is talking about.  If there's a problem with that, a lot of those who do comment have no scientific basis for what they say, and an awful lot of the advice they share is wrong -- and even potentially damaging -- to young players.

Continuing along with the latter, I cringe whenever I hear someone quote a line they heard at a hockey seminar, mostly because it's usually taken waaaaay out of context.  Again, my main concern is that not-so-experienced hockey folks are following the conversation, and they are being fed the wrong information.  As badly, I guess, is that my silence might just suggest that I'm agreeing with the faulty advice.  

So, I initially try to explain things differently, and I usually do that in quiet tones.  Of course, not all self-proclaimed experts take criticism lightly, which causes some of the exchanges to escalate.  And, once again I'm faced with the same problems:  worrying that the wrong information might be seen by the wrong people, and that my silence might be interpreted as agreeing with that.

And that is when my surly hat usually goes on.       

Am I wrong on any of this?  I'd truly like to know, and I'd respect reader comments added down below.

In the meantime, my long time social media friend (a non-hockey guy), Edward Moore, posted the following pic in what seems like timely fashion...
I know some readers might not get the connection between my sometimes attitude and that pic, but I'll suggest that it means I can't always be worrying about popularity, especially when the truth is at stake. 

PS:  One thing just struck me...  I've noticed that things have gone a lot smoother if one of two things happens:  1) if I can take the time to explain the science to someone I sense won't resist a sane discussion; or 2) if I could get lucky, with my seeming adversary asking me about the sciences ahead of time.  Of course, those are a couple of BIG ifs there, so...
When all else fails, well...