snubbed, slighted, rackets, backroom deals, cults of personalities.... the concept of fair...

getbent

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One of the guys on my team was telling me about how in high school, his baseball coach just ignored him and never game him a chance and could only see him one way and how it still kind of bugged him. He said that when he sees things at work or in his regular life that he thinks are like that, it makes it all come back and it bugs him.

I just kind of listened. You can't salve an old wound, it is just a scar, right? And I thought back to several different episodes in my own life where I felt snubbed or there was a backroom deal to keep me out or I saw someone vilified or destroyed by comments (true or not) that were expanded to make the person an outcast.

In little league, the all star teams were always a popularity contest as was the the political process at school for kids who ran for office. The whole clique thing was so huge when I went to school. I was lucky because I played sports, but unlucky because I was good in school and genuinely enjoyed subjects, spent a lot of time in the library and... wore glasses.

My nickname in Junior High was 'poindexter'. My biggest memory of being called that was playing football in 9th grade (still junior high) and just dropping the hammer on a guy (I was a safety) and the most brutal hitter (and tough guy) Tony Cron came up and pulled me off the ground laughing and screaming 'thats the way to kick some ass POINDSY!' and just roaring.

I could see how awful it all was. Some people get a pass, some people get crushed, a lot of people got ignored.

When I became a coach, I got pretty consistent pressure about this kid or that and I just refused to listen to it. I tried really hard to be fair and do the best I could. I think in a long coaching career, I feel bad about two different kids for different reasons. About 10 years ago, I found them and apologized and both laughed and said, 'I thought you were fair!' and 'Coach, hey, I thought so and so was better than me too.' but, it still bugs me, was it cult of personality that I played into?

The don henley line always creeps in to my head
Now I look at the years gone by,
And wonder at the powers that be.
I don't know why fortune smiles on some
And lets the rest go free


The world seems so loaded with so many raw deals, I feel bad knowing so many people are walking around knowing the game is fixed against them and I cannot tell them they are wrong.

Your Thoughts?
 

Skully

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I can think of many ways I've been lucky and unlucky, but most of the luck has come in things I didn't pursue passionately, but nonetheless probably saved my butt in life's big picture. At the end of the day, outside of things like car crashes and diseases not born of bad habits, we all make our own luck -- preparation meets opportunity, and if opportunity doesn't come, try another tact.

In high school I played football and wrestled. I was good, but I was never going to be great. In football, I was a lineman. I'm 6'1", and that was fairly big for my school, but a 6'1" lineman is going to have to be exceptionally talented to get much attention from colleges. I had good coaches (my freshman and JV coach, who was really a kid at the time -- early 20s -- who went on to become the school's varsity head coach for many years) and one bad one, the varsity line coach. The head coach liked me, but the line coach got a thing in his head that I didn't like him. He thought I snubbed him when I accepted my varsity letter from him at that year's awards ceremony. Strange paranoia. And had strange favorites, like a guy who could be clearly be seen blocking our own teammates in game films. He was well-liked by many students, but I always thought there was something off and angry about him. Before my time at school, my brother told me tales of how he had gone psycho and jumped on the hood of a scab's car during a teacher's strike. And one of his sons, a year younger than me and also well-liked by many, was busted for flashing his Johnson at elementary school kids. Something weird was going on there. Both the dad and the son are dead now.

My younger daughter is 5'10", which is remarkable because my wife is only 5'4". She's a 16-year-old junior in high school who's been playing water polo for four or five years. She's played on parks & rec co-ed teams and club teams. She's worked her butt off, on her own volition (I'm not a sports stage parent). She was always a good specimen, and now the work is really paying off. It's not just potential now -- she's the star of her team. Her academics are pretty impeccable, too, so we're optimistic she'll get a scholarship. She's lucky she's so tall and strong (and left-handed, which is apparently an advantage), but she put herself in a position to succeed.
 
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ale.istotle

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Almost nothing in life is earned purely on merit. There is always an interpersonal side to it. No one in a position to judge anything is without preconceptions and preferences. If it works for you it's called networking. If it works against you it's called cronyism.
I think we have all had opportunity to vouch for someone to help them along. Part of being in society is being social.
 

Ben Harmless

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Having spent much of my life being disappointed in others, I wound up studying psychodynamic theory in social work school. The model I generally subscribe to now says that we all make rational decisions, but we base those decisions on various different qualities of data.

Some people don't really care about the quality of their data. Jerks exist. Cruel and selfish behavior is still cruel and selfish, and we have a right to call it out - but many of the functions of miserable, exploitative people serve to make you feel like you don't. It perpetuates the cycle.

The hope is that learning about someone's perspective and data can help predict and perhaps even redirect them. Emotion makes that kind of hard though.

Fundamentally, I believe that life is just the practice of finding the signal in the noise, but it sure does feel like some people are perfectly happy with noise. My moral and spiritual framework says that it's important to look for the signal.

This has been your moment of Ben.
 

0SubSeanik0

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It's as much about relativity as it is about perspective. We all live in the same world, but each of our little worlds are bound to our own individual perceptions of it. Unfairness to one makes them stronger; to another weaker. Fairness itself, is relative. The world provides a few reference points to measure from, but the rest is just a lot of constantly moving parts in a rainbow of grey shades. I just try to be the best person I know how to be, and the rest either takes care of itself or burns down around me... definitely a little bit of both.

BTW, I also got hosed by my HS baseball coach in my senior year (he favored another set of younger players that came up through his old Little League on his side of town). He screwed me out of Legion ball, too. The next year, I walked on at the JC and became a starter by mid-season. I stopped playing after that... a combination of competing interests, and just not wanting to play college ball full time. Looking back on it now, some of that may also have been that I didn't want to ever ride the pine for a season again. I got to end it on my terms (sort of).
 
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boxocrap

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One of the guys on my team was telling me about how in high school, his baseball coach just ignored him and never game him a chance and could only see him one way and how it still kind of bugged him. He said that when he sees things at work or in his regular life that he thinks are like that, it makes it all come back and it bugs him.

I just kind of listened. You can't salve an old wound, it is just a scar, right? And I thought back to several different episodes in my own life where I felt snubbed or there was a backroom deal to keep me out or I saw someone vilified or destroyed by comments (true or not) that were expanded to make the person an outcast.

In little league, the all star teams were always a popularity contest as was the the political process at school for kids who ran for office. The whole clique thing was so huge when I went to school. I was lucky because I played sports, but unlucky because I was good in school and genuinely enjoyed subjects, spent a lot of time in the library and... wore glasses.

My nickname in Junior High was 'poindexter'. My biggest memory of being called that was playing football in 9th grade (still junior high) and just dropping the hammer on a guy (I was a safety) and the most brutal hitter (and tough guy) Tony Cron came up and pulled me off the ground laughing and screaming 'thats the way to kick some ass POINDSY!' and just roaring.

I could see how awful it all was. Some people get a pass, some people get crushed, a lot of people got ignored.

When I became a coach, I got pretty consistent pressure about this kid or that and I just refused to listen to it. I tried really hard to be fair and do the best I could. I think in a long coaching career, I feel bad about two different kids for different reasons. About 10 years ago, I found them and apologized and both laughed and said, 'I thought you were fair!' and 'Coach, hey, I thought so and so was better than me too.' but, it still bugs me, was it cult of personality that I played into?

The don henley line always creeps in to my head
Now I look at the years gone by,
And wonder at the powers that be.
I don't know why fortune smiles on some
And lets the rest go free


The world seems so loaded with so many raw deals, I feel bad knowing so many people are walking around knowing the game is fixed against them and I cannot tell them they are wrong.

Your Thoughts?
yep..i guess you have to play the cards you have..as wisely as you can
 

getbent

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Having spent much of my life being disappointed in others, I wound up studying psychodynamic theory in social work school. The model I generally subscribe to now says that we all make rational decisions, but we base those decisions on various different qualities of data.

Some people don't really care about the quality of their data. Jerks exist. Cruel and selfish behavior is still cruel and selfish, and we have a right to call it out - but many of the functions of miserable, exploitative people serve to make you feel like you don't. It perpetuates the cycle.

The hope is that learning about someone's perspective and data can help predict and perhaps even redirect them. Emotion makes that kind of hard though.

Fundamentally, I believe that life is just the practice of finding the signal in the noise, but it sure does feel like some people are perfectly happy with noise. My moral and spiritual framework says that it's important to look for the signal.

This has been your moment of Ben.
loved it.

keep'em coming.
 

getbent

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Meh... I never had time for sports. Too many girls to chase and parties to go to ;) LOL!!
yeah, sorry I used sports as examples... it is kind of anything.....

I remember there were two good bands at our high school... they were both good... but one was 'the thing' and the other 'sucked' and it was all just because of how the cult of personality worked.

The guitar player in the 'cool' band also wrote the column in the student newspaper about music (like album reviews etc) and I liked him and he was a great guitar player, I remember they played 'rebel rebel and victim of love which had just come out and I thought that was pretty major.

But, the other band was just as cool, but their members were more insular.

or another example....

One of my brothers was a really talented athlete and handsome, but he did everything he could to alienate people. Negative, misanthropic and he was so critical of everyone and everything. He could always find fault with even the smallest thing, but if he liked something, it had no faults.

he would have gone so much farther had he not had those traits and I saw people dismiss or marginalize him because he was the way he was... and yet, he is a pretty good person and worse, he always hoped that people would pick him for things and that he would be chosen and was even more dubious about them when they passed him over... it was (and is) a tough watch.

it is kind of chicken and egg, if he'd had positive things happen, might that have primed the pump for his reactions OR was it the negative things that happened that created the self fulfilling prophecy?
 

JL_LI

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Cliques are social groups that aim to be exclusive. There are other groups that aim to be inclusive, but inclusive of whom? Society naturally self segregates into groups of likes, people of like interests, like skills. Cliques are generally small exclusionary groups. Those with even only rudimentary social skills eventually find someplace where they fit in well enough to belong.

I think humans evolved this way because it was always necessary to band together for survival. So humans banded together for protection from predators, to gather what the group needed to survive, and for defense against competing groups.

These once useful strategies can become divisive. Competition within a group can identify those with useful skills, but it can also sabotage group cohesiveness. Competition in the face of perceived scarcity or imagined threat is destructive of the group. Out experience with groups, teams, and cliques in high school should have taught us this but we know that some learn better than others.

I’ll stop at this point out of fear of driving too close to the guard rail and of admonition from the mods.
 

Skully

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I think it starts in school as a kid in the USA, I cannot speak for other countries, when kids are told they can follow their dreams and make them a reality. "Anybody can be president." And things like this. It is simply not true, not in America or any place else. It is a rude wake up call for most when they realize this. There are always the few that get past the barriers, most do not and must find option B, or C, or D, etc. I don't mean to sound jaded, but when the game is set up by the few for the many, most are on the outside looking in.

I think the primary barrier is just not being the person who has the skills and, more importantly, the will to succeed in their chosen field. In other words, the barrier is you not being able to summon the strength to push yourself over the barriers. The game isn't rigged. You just can't play the game, oftentimes because you don't want to play the game on its terms. You're going to do it your way. That's great if you can make it work, but you're drastically reducing your chance of winning at the game.

Go back through the U.S. presidents from Kennedy on forward. Almost all of them have clearly had major daddy issues, with the possible exception of Biden and Carter, but I could very well be missing something with those two. (It's like with former child stars: if you don't think the experience screwed them up in a big way, you don't know enough about them.) If you're a successful politician, actor, comedian or pop star, you not only had the desire to pursue the love of the country or the entire world as a career, you had the psycho drive to make it happen. It helps if you're a user, it helps if you're a sociopath, as long as you have the velvet charm in which to wrap the hammer. There was a study back in 2010 that found that 1 in 5 corporate CEOs are psychopaths, and I think that's a bit conservative. Then again, I don't think it's fair to let yourself off the hook and think, "I didn't succeed because I'm not a psychopath; I failed because I'm a good person."
 

Cali Dude

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The idea that life is "fair" is nonsense. Having been born with congenital cataracts, I was legally blind by the age of 3. I was lucky that surgery was available by my 8th birthday. Still, 5 surgeries in 5 years left real scars, psychological and physical. Life is what you do with it. Some problems are too great to overcome. I will say that my early challenges lead me to my career in the psych field. I don't know any rational person who believes that fairness is real. Do your best with what you have.
 




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