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

Tonetele

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I can relate to that . As a kid I never got into the football team cause I was small and skinny. Coaches hurt my feelings so much so that this post made me remember that as a 65 year old man. Never mind, I was a great swimmer, missed the 72 Olympics only just. Had 7 Australian records as an adult. So, be kind as a coach.
 

trev333

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I never experienced the "left on the bench" situation at the schools I went to.

most of our teams had just enough guys to field a team, let alone the reserves bench.... reserves were often guys from the lower grades after their game..

I played in the forwards, hooker or prop, I used to win a lot of ball in the scrums and tackle...I did my bit and knew my job...

our teams were no push overs...most of us had played together from earlier years/teams... always had a few guys who played club/rep footy on weekends..

there were no red faced belligerent coaches screaming at us..ever...
 

Skyhook

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Can't find the quote but I'll paraphrase:
"Auditon: to put oneself through extreme duress for the sadistic pleasure of somebody who has already made up their mind".

A choir I was in pretty much ticked this when selecting soloists.
If the conductor said "There's still time to audition for the solo in [insert song name here]" you could be sure it
meant: "The person I've selected for the solo hasn't auditioned yet".
 

Skyhook

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is everyone so dark, so conniving, so manipulative, so soulless, so bereft of any kind of sense being magnanimous?

Well, at least not you... since you ask this instead of going "Whey-hey!".
But the more outrageously conniving the characters of a show are, the more views they get and the
more "love to hate that guy" viewers will join.

People will not tune in in droves to watch people leading balanced lives and getting along.
 

teletimetx

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The longest and most satisfying home run I ever hit was off of a coach’s son. Not that there were so many to compare, but still, that long rising arc, peaking far above and long past the left fielder’s head, no fence, then rolling up to the ditch on the far side of another field.

But it wasn’t just me. This unfortunate kid got shellacked on what must have been a regular basis. Nice kid, possibly the opposite of bright, opposing teams secretly delighted to see him take the mound.

I wonder what he thinks about fairness.

To carry the home run analogy further, it’s quite incongruous that fairness is invoked by certain people born on home plate, but sniveling for lack of respect for their batting prowess - while being truly and totally devoid of respect for anyone, save a few oligarchic monsters, or anything other than money.

Is fairness sort of a playground level concept?

It’s occasionally addressed in legal systems, typically pared with equity and equitable law concepts. From what I understand, the inability of many legal systems to adequately achieve some measure of fairness became the basis for the rise of equitable law. However, equitable principles are special remedies, not always applicable.

But I digress. What horrifies me more than a lack of fairness is the absence of true justice for all.
 

Jazzcaster21

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I'd also note that i just finished watching the new ozark and it has put me in a dark place. is everyone so dark, so conniving, so manipulative, so soulless, so bereft of any kind of sense being magnanimous?
Ozark is fantastic. While it is dark and everything else you mentioned, there is a strong emphasis on family, which you wouldn't expect with that subject matter.
 

Dan German

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Is life fair? Not at all, and it’s foolish to pretend that it is.

I don’t have to just accept that as The Way It Is, though. It doesn’t even matter if there’s no hope of changing that, the act of resisting unfairness makes this a better place to be. I also disagree with the idea that “you make your own luck.” I have known too many good, kind, talented individuals who have been utterly crushed by circumstance. Are there examples of people who have overcome worse obstacles? Absolutely. But the suggestion that you “make your own luck” carries the implication of personal fault, and that is offensive to me.
 

getbent

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If getting ignored by a high school baseball coach is a low point in one's life, then one should count their blessings.

I think two things were afoot in his telling of the account. 1) he was being vulnerable and trusting and honest with me. I know this person pretty well and he has had his share of agony in life (a pancreatic cancer survivor) so, it isn't a matter of being soft or a wuss. So, for him to share it with me meant something to him that I would not want to malign by shaming him for having a low bar. 2) I think the reason it stung him was that he was vulnerable to the coach, he trusted the guy and looked to him to be a good leader and someone who manage the team in a fair way.

He probably suspected life was not fair and is often cruel, this was the 'sealing' event where it was clear that life was going to be more like what happened with that coach and less that someone would see his value and put him in the right place.

I don't think I'm pulling that from the air, in watching and guiding him over the past 10 years, he consistently expresses gratefulness to me for seeing his potential and giving him chances and pushing him to keep growing and getting better.

The smallest weirdest events in people's lives are often Keystone moments for people that they use or remember to guide them. This one would be small for a lot of people, but with a little empathy, we can at least recognize why it would matter to them... and respond accordingly.
 

getbent

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If I had to do it again, I would have played the sort of sports where if you win, you move up--like tennis, wrestling, track--and it's not left to the whim of the decision-makers. Because I'm a middle aged man whose had some modest success professionally and personally, and I'm still pissed off at perceived slights from my high school days. My wife once asked incredulously, "Can you believe that Tom Brady's supposedly still driven by the fact that he believes he was drafted too low?! At some point don't you get over that stuff?!"

"That's nuts," I said. But inside I thought, "Yeah, I completely get it. I was unfairly screwed by Coach D."

the brady documentary is really really good. it wasn't just that. (that account is more of a slogan, like get a helmet, it sticks but it isn't true) Brady is driven by much much more than that and it is much more balanced than people know. if you get a chance, watch it, it is cool.
 

catdaddy

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I realize that on reflection of my early years, I don't ever recall feeling that life was unfair. Perhaps it was, but I was so shy and had such low self-esteem that I honestly believed I didn't even deserve "fair". Whatever adversity came my way was my due, and if anything rewarding ever happened I chalked it up to luck. I wasn't the happiest kid, but I never held any resentment toward anyone and never felt slighted, and as I grew into adulthood I eventually discovered some intrinsic worth in my own being.
 

oregomike

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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?
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?
Too much to unpack for me on this list, but this conjures up many moments in my own life; being a left of center mostly, and times of pushing though a lot of that BS (and not always in a healthy way). It's alive and well in the corporate landscape, let me tell you and it's a struggle, but this topic would require a long night of beers and conversation, but great post.
 

dougstrum

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Fair, I remember as a kid complaining to my dad and him saying: Boy, what makes you think life is fair 🤔
I think we all get snubbed or singled out at times.
H.S. was when I actually noticed clique behavior. Basketball and football were the cool sports. I was a wrestler tall geeky kid who couldn't bounce a ball and walk at the same time. Gym teacher was basketball coach and used to single me out in class:
Mr Strum show us how a wrestler does pushups, jumping jacks, whatever. One time he slammed me up against the folding partition in the gym~almost 70 now and still remember that~
Found my friends in the art room, music room. The popular groups aren't necessarily where it's at. Hopefully most of us find a spot where we fit in 😎
 

drf64

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I think two things were afoot in his telling of the account. 1) he was being vulnerable and trusting and honest with me. I know this person pretty well and he has had his share of agony in life (a pancreatic cancer survivor) so, it isn't a matter of being soft or a wuss. So, for him to share it with me meant something to him that I would not want to malign by shaming him for having a low bar. 2) I think the reason it stung him was that he was vulnerable to the coach, he trusted the guy and looked to him to be a good leader and someone who manage the team in a fair way.

Man, this thread is really giving me a lot of feels. I'm not sure I've ever had one hit me like this. Let's see now...

1. @getbent, I'm glad you provided the above information. People being vulnerable to each other is powerful stuff. Judging a guy for a slight he received as a kid is unfair, especially when you know the back story as above. And also, taking GB's thoughts about coaching and cults of personality, the take home message for me is that we are often more of a mentor to some people than we will ever realize. Self and situational awareness are very important.

2. @meadwill, man, your story hits home in uncomfortable ways. I had a similar experience growing up, bullied at school, demoralized at home, but you had it worse than me, brother. Damn, isn't a great feeling to overcome some of that garbage? You're Sysiphus and you just pushed that boulder up and over the top of the mountain, and now you stand at the summit, and there's another boulder but you now know you can do it!

3. letting the slights motivate: It's healthy, just don't overdo it, and sometimes what you thought was a slight was really someone looking out for you. Michael Jordan was driven by his coach, Pop Herring, cutting him from the varsity team. It's a staple of motivational speakers who repeat this story ad nauseum, and you wonder who was this guy who would do such a thing? When you get the whole story you find out it was a guy who made the best decision possible for a talented kid who needed to grow up a little.

4. the coach's kid: I get triggers. When I first joined this site I was struck by @getbent's avatar, John Stewart, the singer, because it reminds me of my Little League coach who who wore aviator shades and chain smoked. Even looking at it now I get a flood of bad memories. It doesn't paralyze me for the day, it just makes me think, "man, I'm glad those days are over!" He was not my mentor. He was a big reason my sports career ended in Grade 5, but he was twice as hard on his own son, and would pull him from games for perceived poor play or poor decisions and then berate him on the bench. Oddly that kind of gave me a bond with his son since it was exactly how my dad treated me at home and we became friends, although not close. His son grew up to be an economist and is a VP in the Federal Reserve Bank, and I tend to think he used his painful experiences to motivate him later in life too.

Man, too many feels....
 

Engine Swap

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Even though I'm a good athlete, I was turned off by the structure of organized sports. I managed to fill my time with all kinds of weird and wonderful pursuits - Thanks sports!
 

charlie chitlin

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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?
Know anything about incel guys?
Yikes.
 

telemnemonics

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Yeah the whole my coach thing has gotta be a surrogate for the real issue and has as much bearing as a bookmark showing you the pages on which the info might reside.

But I'm speculating civilian from the perspective of 12 step community where the concept of the existence of some real issue seems more visceral.

I reckon some of us get told personal stuff because we appear trustworthy?
Which may be simply that we never talk **** about others?
Or we have kind eyes?
Or we resemble a childhood mentor?
IDK, but I've been told stuff I maybe was the wrong person to tell.

Not recently but I used to keep meeting a woman and within 15 minutes be told how she was X, Y and Z by her dad, and just wonder how in hell I got in that spot?

A good friend took a couple of years to share that his child had drowned while he was at work and the mom was home getting high.
Since then he lives (in recovery) with one or another single mom.
At least the recent arrangement is reasonably healthy, the last one she was similarly passed out on mom duties and he was seemingly trying to return to the scene of the death to save the next child, or something like that.

Again though, my perspective on humanity, based on a variety of data including learning of terrible past traumas where the subject seems well adjusted and not of the variety that ends up gnawing off their own limbs in addiction/ alcoholism/ mental illness.
Sorry, my sense is that while of course we all (???) have strong memories of past events that could be called "traumas", how high a shelf we place them on varies.

The recovery friend who's a Vietnam Vet showed no distress talking to me about bullets bouncing around inside Hueys, and really seems oddly normal all things considered, figuring substance abuse from the early '70s to the early 2000s and not long in "recovery".
I've talked with other Vets in recovery and danger to themselves is generally NOT their trauma. So there's that.
Point being we may fake being fine when actually a real mess, or others may fake being a real mess when really just fine.

And when admitting weakness, fair chance we lie a little or a lot!
 
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regularslinky

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As a plaintiff's employment discrimination lawyer, I spend hours every week explaining to good people who have been treated like dirt that Life Is Not Fair.

That said, I can often help people get justice, or some semblance thereof. And my kid just got entrance and a scholarship to his dream school (NYU) through pure talent and hard work - no deception, no inside connections, no cheating, no bribes, no funny business of any kind. So sometimes life is fair.
 

getbent

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As a plaintiff's employment discrimination lawyer, I spend hours every week explaining to good people who have been treated like dirt that Life Is Not Fair.

That said, I can often help people get justice, or some semblance thereof. And my kid just got entrance and a scholarship to his dream school (NYU) through pure talent and hard work - no deception, no inside connections, no cheating, no bribes, no funny business of any kind. So sometimes life is fair.
exactly. sometimes life works like it should. (which I know is not 'right' because life being unfair is how it too often works.)
 

Harry Styron

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I helped coach the same group of soccer players from under 8 years to under 14. What I learned is that each kid develops at his own pace. The kid who was relatively big when he was 7, who seemed to be a star, might be in the middle at age 10, while a small fast 7-yr old became a large fast 11-yr old.

Each kid needed to get to play so they would remain interested and have the opportunity to bloom.

By the teen years, the best players can gravitate to the more competitive leagues, and the rest can have fun in recreation leagues, arcades, music lessons, and the sports where they can excel.
 




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