Teachable Moments 2012: Ragequitting

Some know this, others don't. I'm secretly a teacher at a public high school that shall remain nameless. (If only to protect myself from principals who wonder why they hired a guy who thinks that beards are sentient.)

 My job is great actually. When the baseball season starts it's a sign that the school year is rapidly winding down. As the battle for first place intensifies, I have many opportunities to watch and revel in exciting games. And by the time I get back to work I know whether or not I should assign essays early in the year, or if I should go easy on students so I can watch the games.*

 This year, with the Twins out of contention, I don't need to worry about missing critical late season games. But as one season winds down and another warms up, I've started thinking about valuable lessons from baseball for fans, and for life. Starting with the consequences of rage quitting.

 One Friday night, Stinky and I went to the game with her parents and watched as the Twins squandered an early lead as only they have been able to do this year. Liam Hendricks looked good just long enough to surprise us all when he imploded in 5th. Our solid offensive outburst seemed flukish when David Huff shut down the bats for three innings. And then Alex Burnett struggled and struggled and finally stunk fumbling a weak comebacker with the bases loaded to let in the 6th run of the game.  

Disappointing as that was, it was the fans reaction that I found noteworthy. We didn't boo. We didn't jeer. But a solid 10-20% of fans that I could see stood and left (either for beer or for good). Dispirited, dejected and otherwise done with watching the debacle on the field. It wasn't any kind of organized protest, or meaningful event, it was just a clear sign that fans were tired of wasting their time and ready to move on with life.

 The internet (which you may have heard of) might refer to this as an act of "RageQuitting, meaning simply: "To quit because you are losing, failing or just plain suck" Sure enough the Twins were losing, the players were failing to make an easy play and all season long they have seemed to just plain suck. There are many ways to ragequit, standing up and walking out of a bad game (despite your expensive tickets), clicking off the tv in disgust, avoiding most ESPN/FOX related content because you think they'll glorify the Yankees/Red Sox and denigrate "those hapless Twins" comment, posting "if-they-don't-fix-this-#%@#ing-team-I'm-done" posts in the forum section, even deleting a Twins Daily account...just because you can't take it any more.

This season has taught us all about ragequitting, as even the most ardent supporters may have at least considered the possibility once or twice. So, what happens when you do ragequit? Let's explore: The benefits of the "ragequit" are simple: you don't have to deal with the source of your frustration any more. You can move on to other things, happier things, better things.

Meanwhile the costs of the "ragequit" are less apparent: you lose credibility with fellow fans, and appear petulant in the eyes of those around you (fans and others alike) for letting a group of 25 guys in blue uniforms affect your whole emotional welfare. Most of all, should you choose to return when the team begins to succeed again you risk that most hated of labels "fair weather fan".

 Clearly, I'm not going to ragequit any time soon. Frustrated though I might be, I enjoy little parts of the game and the team too much to be put off by simple bad play. But that's not to say that you can't ragequit if you want to. You, gentle reader are an independent human being capable of free will (or a super-smart extra-terrestrial monitoring electronic blather about Earth sports for signs of intelligent life in our galaxy...in which case better luck next time). You can do what you like, throw down the remote, slam your lap top shut, call Burnett a loser and Plouffe a hack and Gardy a has been.

 But whatever you choose, understand the consequences. If you ragequit, you gain freedom, but risk social-stigma. If you don't...well...you writhe in agony when Alex Burnett boots a slow roller to the mound. The choice is yours. 

 *Note: I don't really alter assignments based on baseball standings. I'm too scrupulous for that...stupid scruples.

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