Are You Kidding Me? Again?

Okay, this is another of those posts which I’m not supposed to write, social media “experts” tell me I should stay on topic, which would be leadership. But I could make a case that this post IS about leadership although it could also expose me as politically incorrect to those who don’t know me. For those who do know me, well, they won’t be surprised at all. I’ve long thought we (both Americans and most of the rest of the world) have gone over the cliff with political correctness and now we have further proof that my thoughts are correct.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has sent an email to athletic directors with a list of “cheers” that have been deemed contrary to good sportsmanship.

Now I’m all for good sportsmanship. I think youth sports can teach kids a lot about life. It teaches them the importance of teamwork and it demonstrates that passion and commitment can lead to success. Perhaps most importantly, it teaches them that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. They learn that there are usually rewards for extra effort and that lack of effort leads directly to failure. 

Apparently the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has some other lessons in mind. I can’t imagine what those lessons are but I’m sure their intentions are good, no matter how misguided they are.

So what cheers have they decided to ban in the name of sportsmanship? Here’s the list from the email: 

“Fundamentals”

“Sieve”

“We can’t hear you”

“Air ball”

“You can’t do that”

“There’s a net there”

“Season’s over”

Now to be fair, “season’s over” is only banned during the playoffs of whatever sport you might be cheering for. 

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association stated in their email that these chants, when directed at the opposing teams and their students were meant to “taunt or disrespect.”

Ya think? My answer to that would be “so what.” 

If you’re a basketball player and you don’t want people yelling “air ball” at you then I’d suggest that you don’t throw up an air ball. I was a goalie on my high school hockey team (for a very short time) and I heard “sieve” yelled in my direction often (why it was a short time) and yet I somehow survived. I never figured they were supposed to respect me just because I was on the ice, I assumed that I needed to earn their respect by not letting them slap rubber past me all night. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if next we heard that beating the opposing team is the ultimate in disrespect so scores should no longer be kept and we’ll just give everyone a trophy for participating….. oh wait, never mind on that last point, I’m too late.

In my not so humble opinion, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association is looking to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. They are making babies, perhaps permanent babies, out of kids who will one day not have well-meaning adults protecting them from vile chants like “you can’t do that.” 

Parents who protect their kids from every consequence of life had better be prepared to live a long time because their kids will always need protecting. 

Can we just apply some common sense and let kids be kids. Punish them when required (and I understand that it often is) but don’t punish them for learning to live life. Don’t punish kids by over-protecting them, their peers and “former” friends will do a fine job of showing them what they can say and what they can’t. 

Why, I’ll bet they will learn right from wrong just like us old folks did.

Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?

Like many Americans I watched the first Republican Presidential Debate. Also like many Americans I watched it to see what kind of outlandish things Donald Trump would say.

He did not disappoint. 

Whatever you think of Donald Trump you have to give him this…. he knows how to get the attention of people. In a particularly testy exchange with one of the moderators Mr. Trump stated that “frankly, he didn’t have time for political correctness. He said that our (the American people) concern with never offending anyone is limiting our progress, or something to that effect.

On that singular point he may be right!

I have long said that if you’re speaking to a large enough group of people that virtually anything you say can and will offend somebody. I now have proof.

First let me acknowledge that I have indeed said some stuff in front of groups that I wish I could take back. I suppose I should also acknowledge that I have also said some clearly politically incorrect things simply because they were funny. If people were offended I just figured they needed to get over themselves because it wasn’t meant to offend, it was meant to be funny.

Which brings me to a recent presentation. I told I joke that could not, that could absolutely NOT offend anyone. 

I told a joke about the rancher who came out one morning to discover that someone had cut the tails off of all his cattle. He knew immediately that he would have to wholesale the cattle because there was no way to retail them. 

That’s it. That’s the whole joke. It’s like third grade humor. It’s just dumb, the fact that it’s so bad a joke is what makes it funny. People groan about the joke and then share it the first chance they get. (Yes, you’re going to share it too, you just can’t help it) 

The group I was speaking with was not especially large, maybe 100-120 people. There was just no way that dumb joke could offend anyone…. Except it did.

At the end of the presentation I was approached by an individual who actually had tears in their eyes. They were very emotional in telling me that animal cruelty was nothing to joke about. They couldn’t believe how insensitive I was to animal lovers in the group. They told me that even though they were the only one complaining there were many others in the group who were equally offended. (Nope, I wasn’t at a PETA convention) They told me that cows have feelings too. 

I may now try to find a way to insert that joke into every presentation that I do. I just want to see if there is another person on this planet who is offended by the joke. (being offended because the joke is so bad doesn’t count) 

I agree 100% that we should show respect in all of our interactions with people. There is nothing wrong about being sensitive to the views and opinions of other people…. but that’s a two-way street. 

Maybe EVERYONE needs to lighten up a bit. Maybe we have “over-corrected” with all the politically correct stuff. Maybe, just maybe, something can be funny… just because it is.

Maybe, just maybe, we need to stop sacrificing the truth in the name of political correctness. 

This much is certain, no matter what anyone says to me it can only offend me if I let it. I don’t need protection from the politically correct police. If I’m tempted to be offended by something someone said I just need to consider the source and the context and then I can CHOOSE to ignore it. 

I’m wondering if we can apply some common sense here but I suppose I’m going to get ripped because this whole post is politically incorrect.