Don’t read the comments. It’s a rule that I’ve applied every time that I read an article that I really enjoy. I have slowly shook my head so many times after reading the comments that I think I’m to the point of involuntarily slowly shaking my head during live interactions any time someone starts to speak. I assume that everyone behind the comments of the stories that I enjoy are now standing in front of me and now it’s my responsibility to silently judge them. It’s always easier to start with a slow head shake and assume the person is about to disappoint you. If they turn out to be great then it’s a pleasant surprise and it feels like a big win.
Of course, there are certain stories where you don’t even need to finish reading the article because you just can’t wait to get to the comments. You run and grab a bowl of popcorn, maybe mix a quick drink, take a deep breath, and sit back and enjoy the circus. In most cases I’ve found that the stories that create the best comments originate out of Florida or the deep south. You know which stories I’m talking about. All of the commenters are on the same page and feeding off of each other to create a comments feed of humor that has you in tears from laughing so hard. Moments like that give me hope for humanity.
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of what I’m getting at today. The picture that is featured above is from a high school baseball game. The team celebrating is on their way to the state championship tournament. The two guys hugging are childhood friends. One was pitching, the other hitting, and the pitcher just struck out his friend to end the game. Rather than celebrate with his teammates right away the pitcher immediately ran to his friend to let him know that their friendship is far more important than a win or a loss. I learned all this from the article I read and the interview with the pitcher that the article provided. I felt pretty good about this story. Then I went to the comments.
I would estimate the first 10 comments that I read were negative. I saw things like “everybody doesn’t get a trophy” and “welcome to the pussification of America” and “we’re raising a bunch of sissies” or “if I were the hitter that just struck out and my friend tried to hug me I would punch him straight in the face”. It’s commenters like these that make me lose my faith in humanity. This wasn’t about being manly. This isn’t about bubble wrapping children, or giving everyone a trophy, or “the pussification of America”. This is just good sportsmanship. Really. That’s all this is. You have a young man who was raised well enough to know that there are things bigger than that particular game. The friendship between the two will hold more significance in the long run than who won or lost that day.
What these keyboard tough guys fail to realize is that good sportsmanship makes you a better human which will pay off dearly in the long run. The commenter that claimed he would punch his friend in the face was probably never a good athlete anyway and I definitely question him as a person overall. I always love looking to hockey as my favorite example for these scenarios. Hockey can be a brutal sport. Hockey players lose teeth, get stitches, get bones set, and then go back out and play in the same game. They get in fist fights during the game and trash talk. Then after the final buzzer goes off they all line up and shake hands. It’s a fantastic tradition. I would love to see someone go up to one of those guys and tell them they’re contributing to the “pussification” of America. Of course that would never happen because then they would have to confront someone without the safety net of a keyboard and computer screen.
We’ll chalk this one up to another lesson learned. I knew better than to read the comments. From now on I’m going to skip the comments when I read an article that I really like. At least I probably will.