Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Shortsightedness of the 18 to 20 Year Old

I'm concerned about one of the posts on Anna's blog, concerned enough to write about that post. I think that the post has something to say about Interpersonal Communication, so I'm including it here.

What bothers me is the line: "If this is how it is going to be, it is going to be a long season…especially with Cantrell. Most of the Ju-Co players are looking at transferring next year so they do not waste it on this program. I do not blame them. We went from the best in conference to the worst…great move Bethany College…"

Now, it may be that my reading of this is clouded by the fact that I am feeling exceptionally stressed out. But I have to take exception to the assertion that the college, qua institution, made a big mistake by hiring Cantrell. I do that in my response to the post.

It also seems to me that this cheap shot at Cantrell is motivated by feelings, strong feelings, colored by the fact that the poster has a BF on the BB team. She's hearing disgruntled players - who are labeling themselves as losers on the lookout only for themselves - in other words, very negative people who aren't seeing very far into their own future.

The result, of course, is to blame the coach, the institution, all the places except where the blame in fact belongs - on the players. Neither the coach, nor the institution was out on the ball field during that game.

Moreover, while the baseball team was winning last year, it came at a tremendous price. Faculty were highly distrustful of the coach last year (and had good reason to be so) and that mistrust spilled over into other athletic areas where it was not quite as justified.

But - and this is my big but coming in here - when you're 18 - 22 years old you don't know or don't care about the history. Your communication tends to be driven by the emotions you feel right at the moment you're writing. I know. I was that way.

I was easily excited to shout "injustice!" at every turn.

The first issue of the Augustana Observer I edited had one such shout. A dorm mother inspected a student's closet. We cried "racism!" and "facism!" It was nothing of the case, but I was sure we were speaking up for justice, and that the student, of whom I was very fond, had been abused.

We were almost sued for libel. I learned about slander. I learned about my emotions and my need to keep my emotions in check when trying to deal rationally with the world.

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