To Like or Dislike, That is the Question


I might be old-school, but I don’t care if someone “dislikes” what I write in a text. I don’t care if they “like” it either. It means nothing to me. If they dislike my point, tell me why? I write an opinion, and their obligation should be to either write an opinion that is contrary to mine or tell me why I’m wrong. Within that chain, someone will eventually write, “Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one,” and we’ll move onto discuss whatever trivialities make us friends. How is it that all we have to do now is “dislike” a point? I don’t find “dislike” a quality refutation, but I concede that that I might be old-school. 

If I tried to “dislike” my 8th grade teacher, she’d stop the class and drop the 25th alphabet on me: “Why?” 

“What?”

“Why do you dislike my point?” she would ask. “Why do you disagree with it? Saying that you dislike something someone says, or them for saying it, is not enough. You have to refute their opinion.”  

I understand that some think they’re saving time and space by texting back, “Dislike,” but if I’m going to invest my time and resources into providing a detailed, well-thought-out opinion, the least they could do is invest some time and effort into refuting what I write. 

The modern “dislike” is so narcissistic that it’s almost the imperial equivalent of a king saying, “I am not pleased.” Who gives a crud if you’re not happy with what I wrote? Am I right or wrong? Disprove me. 

“So, you’re telling me that you don’t want to hear my opinion?” they ask if we tell them to drop the dislikes.

“Have you ever told me your opinion?” we ask. “If not, bring it brother. If you need an instrument to help me help you trumpet an opinion, let me know. Right now, all I’m getting is a “dislike” button.”

“Have I offended you?” 

“I’d have to check my log book, but I think the last time someone offended me was about 37 years ago.”

“What did they say?”

“I have a rule,” I said. “Never tell anyone what offends you most, because they will be fixated on that, until they accidentally bring it up. It’s the “don’t think pink” principle. If I tell you to avoid thinking pink, pink will be the only thing on your mind.”

“Well, if I want to avoid offending you, shouldn’t I know what to avoid?”

“Again, I’d have to check my log book, but I think it involved the great Almond Joy/Mounds debate. Some fool stepped up on me telling me that sometimes he feels like a nut and sometimes he don’t. I’ll spare you the profanity that flowed from my mouth, but I will say that I was so out of control that I couldn’t control the spittle that followed it.”

“Really?”

“Like I said, I’m not going to tell you what offends me the most.”

Sports Romance

I love sports, but I no longer I’m no longer in love with sports. We’ve agreed to maintain an amicable relationship for the children, but the unconditional love we once had is gone. 

I can’t remember being so passionate about my team that I dropped all rational thinking, but I’m pretty sure I did, way way back to a time I can’t remember.

A friend of mine remains trapped in the irrational throes of love. “[That player, who committed the infraction,] should be suspended for this season, the next one, and beyond. He basically committed a felony on the ice. That play should be banned from hockey, sports, and life in general.”

“Would your feelings on such a hit be just as intense if one of the players from your favorite franchise committed it?” I asked him. “10 years ago, a cross-check was a cross-check. Everyone was real sad when a player got hurt, but they said, “Unfortunately, it’s part of the game. You’ve gotta keep your head on a swivel.”

“And don’t listen to modern analysts and announcers,” I added. “They’re comparing the cross checker to John Wilkes Booth, as one of the worst villains in human history for a reason. They’re corporate shills following the corporate policy on hits in hockey and football. 

“And I know you’re going to “dislike” my opinion. Save it. I don’t care, unless you want to offer me solid refutation to my point save it.”

The Sports Marriage

At some point in our courtship, we develop unconditional love with our team, its players, and the sport in general. We vow to have and to hold, from this day forward, until death do us part. After we certify that union, we want to know everything we can about our players, and our team. Our passion is no longer limited to plays, stats, and wins and losses. We now want to know if they’re getting along with their wife, and if not, we want to know why? We want to know if he loved his mother, how he played with friends on the playground, in grade school, and what his teammates think of him. I may be old school, but I don’t care about any of the plotlines of the soap opera brought to us by every sports channel on the web, and on TV. I don’t care if his mom cheers him on in the stands, and I don’t care if his parents never attend a game. I don’t care if the cornerback on the other team is a bad guy, or if the long snapper on my team is one hell of a good feller. I understand that the leagues, as good corporate stewards, want to promote and punish their own, for goodwill, but I don’t understand why we the fans care so much about the personal lives of these people. Perhaps we don’t. Perhaps it’s all about filling three hours of pregame shows that I haven’t watched for over a decade now. 

“The NFL analysts are saying that your left guard is so talented he might go in the first round of the NFL draft,” I told a friend of mine, regarding a player on her favorite college football team.

“He’s made over thirty visits to our local Children’s Hospital in just the last year,” she said. 

Now, there aren’t many stats for a left guard in football, so I understand how a pseudo fan would know nothing about them. The left guard never touches the ball, and obviously doesn’t score. His best games are those in which no one ever hears his name (no penalties), when a quarterback is allowed time to pass the ball, and when a running back gets extra yards. When the QB and RB look good, he looks good, but very few fans will ever know his name. Those in the know track how many pressures, hurries, and sacks they allow, and they keep track of how many pancake blocks an offensive lineman makes. They also track how successful a team is running to one side versus the other. She didn’t know any of that. She only knew he was a good fella. 

My prescription for anyone who cares too much about sports, to the point that it affects their relationship with their family, their dogs, and their sanity is to try cheering on a losing franchise for the next forty years. The one great thing about cheering on a team that doesn’t seem to care if they win or lose is that they teach you that unconditional love for a sports’ franchise is pointless and it will inevitably lead to pain. It might take forty years, but everyone has a threshold. Cheering on a losing franchise your whole life can also teach you to invest emotions in the other things life has to offer. You can treat your favorite franchise right by buying up any memorabilia you can find, then wearing it; you watch every game they play in, and scream at the TV; and you can defend their honor when some gob of goo at the end of bar forsakes them with a “dislike”, and it won’t do one damned thing to effect the outcome of their season. If you treat your wife right, however, play with your dog, and spend as much time as you can with the kid, it can pay such huge dividends that it might help offset the unending pain your favorite franchise inflicts on you just about every Sunday in your life.   

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