6 Responses to “Are You an Encouraging Inspiration or a Discouraging Dumbass?”


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  1. I ran a youth baseball organization for a couple years, and was a district commissioner for Babe Ruth Baseball for 3 years. I ran into too many coaches like you describe. Unbelievably, many of them identify the “athletes” at 6 & 7 years old, and mentally write off the others. I watched many of the unchosen kids grow to be not only good athletes, but better sports and leaders among their peer groups. I have no doubt that some of them will end up hiring the chosen few, later in life.

    The great coaches developed the talent of all the kids. The same way, great organizations and leaders develop the talent around them.

  2. avishp

    Marty, thanks for the comment and for sharing your experience. 6 or 7 years old? That’s crazy! And doesn’t that defeat the purpose of some of those leagues? It can be kind of sad sometimes. It is nice to know that there are some great coaches out there too

  3. I have several ripe stories on this topic from when I was a kid. One was when I was in elementary school, if I recall correctly. We had a school baseball ‘team’ which was really just for fun at that age, or at least, it should have been. I remember at batting practice one day I was hitting ball after ball. Now, maybe the coach had a kid on the team who felt bad, or maybe he just wanted to “bring me down a peg” for doing so well. Regardless of his motivations, he intentionally threw a much faster ball – and I don’t mean he just gradually incremented his speed a bit, he really threw it, and there’s no way it was accidental.

    Of course, he hit me straight in the groin. Even as a little kid it hurt like hell and after that I was so scared of the ball that I couldn’t hit properly again. I still can’t. All because one asshole thought I was doing too well.

    Years later, in middle school, we had a typing and computer skills class. I blazed ahead of everyone else to the point where I would finish our assignments (which bored me, since I did them so fast) and then worked on whatever it was I wanted to do at the time. Now, I didn’t exactly use the standard technique – I had my own technique which was incredibly effective (still is, I type 150+ WPM). Our computer teacher, a nasty older woman who is apparently now the superintendent for the school system in my old hometown, refused to believe that I could type properly using my unorthodox technique and, instead of encouraging me given the success of my results, tried to knock me down a peg by sitting me in front of a computer with a keyboard that had no key letters on it.

    Of course, I nailed the test and shut her up in doing so. But keep in mind I was maybe in 6th grade here. How many kids at that age LIKE the experience of being singled out as if they did something wrong? That experience didn’t scar me, but I remember it like it was yesterday. A prime example of discouraging dumbassery.

  4. avishp

    Wow, thanks for sharing the stories. You really do understand the point of the post, don’t you? I can’t believe that about your baseball coach. Some people just defy all logic. And that typing teacher is just a sad, sad example of how some people just beat others down by desiring order and conformity. I’m glad you nailed the test, at least!

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