Thursday, September 29, 2005
Relationships: A bully made me feel bad
I'm taking a break from playing at Live Oak. Because of a fight. Not a physical fight, a verbal one.
I was playing there a few weeks back, and ended up on the same team as the notorious Big Mean Guy (BMG), who is actually fairly well known around Berkeley for being big, mean, and insane. He's also an aging baller, but he is not handling it well. He talks CONSTANTLY, and feels compelled to coach on every play. It's not so bad playing against him, but playing on his team is a nightmare. If you make a mistake, he'll criticize you instantly and vociferously. If you do something good, he takes the credit ("THAT'S what I'm talkin' about. That's what I've been telling you to do.") No one likes playing with Big Mean Guy.
Anyway, back to the game. Again, me and BMG are teammates. He's talking/coaching to me on every play, because our other teammate was a Live Oak "old head" and friends with BMG. BMG always picks on who he perceives as the psychologically weakest player. That would be me. I took it for one game, which we won, and which I played well in. Foolishly, I thought that he would let up in the 2nd game because we won the 1st and I carried a lot of the defensive load (BMG made me cover the best player on the other team). Wrong. It gets even worse.
Now I'm near the breaking point. I don't want to fight with BMG because he does not listen and it is impossible to reason with him. At the same time, I'm having some racial guilt, because BMG is a black dude and I'm wondering: "If this guy was asian or white, wouldn't I have spoken up by now?" So I decide, against my best instincts, to start making snide comments to him about his coaching. BAD IDEA. He freaks out, gets right in my face, and starts yelling. I try to be calm and reasonable. No dice. He keeps yelling. He wants me to back down and admit that he's right. He's saying, "if you can't play in our system, we'll get another player." Now I'm torn. I don't want to play anymore, but pride won't let me walk off. I decide to just check the ball in and try to resume play, but I can't resist making another snide comment. BAD IDEA. Now he won't let the game continue, and actually kicks me off the team. I leave the court, ashamed and fuming, vowing never to return.
I actually did go back to Live Oak a couple weeks later. BMG was there, but we did not speak. I heard him bragging loudly about another argument he had been in the day before, and realized that he had probably had so many fights since ours that he didn't remember our fight. This made me even angrier, as I had been all torn up about it for days and he probably only thought about it for about 10 seconds. I am too sensitive.
Labels: aging, psychology, race
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Perhaps somebody will one day invite BMG to the revelation that pick up ball doesn't really involve a "system". Well, other than the system of getting beat means getting off the court.
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