Thoughts for Thursday | softball
Imagine this. You take a beautiful picture of your children that you absolutely love – playing softball (and baseball), share it with Softball is For Girls and ask, excited to share your pride and joy with the world, if they will post it up on their page. They share it for the world (or at least 94K softball fans) to see, and then suddenly, YOU (and SIFG) are attacked by perhaps well-meaning, but surprisingly rude and hurtful strangers.
In case you missed it, the picture we are talking about is the photo of a softball and baseball player (siblings) posing in their gear on train tracks. It is a stunning shot. It is a photograph that made a mom and dad (just like you) proud and happy. It is probably framed in their home, displaying their passion for sports and their children, like millions of other photos that we all have in our homes.
Yet this picture, evoked anger. And it invited a lot of folks to become offended and LASH OUT! One fan wrote….
“Why don’t you just take a picture of your children holding a loaded gun to their heads?” Seriously people, is that even appropriate to say?
Another said the photo was ‘child abuse,’ and the parents should be arrested.
We received far too many emails from what we call ‘concerned’ fans letting us know that taking pictures on train tracks was illegal and dangerous. We had one fan (who didn’t even appear to have any softball players in her family) email us more than 5 times, threatening us, and trying to intimidate us by saying they were ‘reporting it to Facebook and the authorities.’ (Meanwhile, the post is still up on the page, indicating that in a world of ugliness where some pretty disgusting things are prevalent online…much of it in your children’s Instagram feeds – even Facebook felt the post was benign)
We also received numerous emails from fans that decided to sit behind their computers and call us things like stupid, and ignorant, and evil and murderers. (With name calling adults like this, it’s no wonder we have so many bully kids running around)
We sat back, scratched our heads, and wondered what kind of crazy world we live in where people – a) have enough time to badger a Facebook page about a picture with no ill intent and B) take it upon themselves to take everything so personal and as an invitation to become offended and C) would call a perfect stranger ugly names?
While we appreciate and are constantly HOPEFUL that our fans will help us monitor our page for inappropriate content – and while we definitely HOPE to be a platform that invites adult conversation and debate about the things that matter to us as softball parents and players – WE DO NOT tolerate ugliness. Even if it is well-meaning.
Our goal is to empower the players, parents, coaches and fans of fastpitch. To share the passion. To give these girls a voice and a WHOLESOME place where we can all enjoy the sport.
We have so many profanity settings on our page that you cannot even type in all caps, or use the word ‘Hell” in a comment and have it display in our threads.
We have 4 daughters of our own, and we STRIVE to provide a page that is both adult and kid friendly. We don’t discuss politics. We don’t go out to offend people. We don’t call people names. We don’t bully folks if they disagree with us. Our intentions, are GOOD, even if we do make mistakes. We are a community! And , If you have been around here long enough, you know that.
We delete comments and ban people (when we see them) from fans that are hostile or degrading in any way. We won’t post pictures of teams in bathing suits for goodness sakes, because we know there are sickos in this world.
Before you email us with accusations and name calling – Go scroll through our page….it is probably one of the most benign, happy, and CLEAN pages that you will find online today. And THIS takes work. A lot of work, that does not pay a dime. We do it because we share the passion of fastpitch softball.
Therefore, it is disgusting to us that people would react with such hatred and ugliness. It is ridiculous to us that people would turn something around and make it EVIL. Or accuse a mother they don’t know of child abuse. Or accuse US of enticing people to commit suicide or illegal acts.
While we sincerely do appreciate people letting us know that train tracks pictures are perhaps not the safest option, and illegal – it is definitely not the kind of thing that warrants such outrageous reactions and lashing out from people.
A simple email or comment like “Hey, this is a great picture but it is illegal for people to post pictures on train tracks” would have sufficed.
What does all this have to do with softball, you ask?
Actually quite a bit. It is this same behavior, this same attitude, this same defensive and negative approach to youth sports that causes all the drama. It is this same inability of adults to communicate clearly and RESPECTFULLY, that causes problems on the field. It is this same REACTION, this same OMG I AM BEING ATTACKED, THIS IS PERSONAL, I AM OFFENDED,MY OPINION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT – line of thinking – that takes the joy away from children’s sports. Why do ADULTS resort to name calling?
Why do so many people think everything is about them? Why do so many parents WANT to be angry and take a defensive approach to everything that goes on? Why are adults always thinking that people, coaches, other parents, apparently Facebook pages too – spend a zillion hours conniving plans that are designed to make them a victim? And what happened to clear, concise conversation – without threats, or yelling.
This is why GREAT coaches quit, and why some players quit, and why people are left with such a bad taste in their mouth. This is WHY many pages and companies DO NOT EXIST, because no matter how hard they try to be un-offensive, SOMEONE will be offended and ugly anyways.
Today’s thoughts for Thursday….What happened to not thinking that everyone was out to get you, that your daughter is in the outfield because she’s a DARN GOOD, like, the best the coach has – outfielder – and not because the coach wants to punish her or you. This is softball peeps. It’s not personal!
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