Blasting, the dark art of using communication to attack, tear down and discourage another individual on your team in the interest modifying their behavior, changing the opinion of others and puffing ourselves up at their expense is one of the most destructive tendencies we lean toward as humans and fishermen. The results of this type of communication usually serve even the person delivering the blast in the same manner. Everyone affected by the explosion is blown further apart, torn down, discouraged and sometimes destroyed. It’s happened to me and I’ve done it myself. It never feels good in the end and it is never constructive.
While complainers and criticizers (which we all do to some degree) have moments of apparent closeness and friendship, there is in the back of every participant’s mind, the knowledge that when they are apart in all likelihood, they spend a fair amount of time bad-mouthing one another. Though both miserable parties put up with one another, their only real common bond is their passion for complaining and they really don’t like each other.
Truth be told, we really are no better than the next fellow. I’m no better than my wife and really no worse, no better than the next fisherman and really no worse. I’m capable of making the same mistakes and do so, as has been clearly pointed out (particularly by my wife) and by some fishermen. I have complained and will do so in the future. My apologies to all and I strive to improve and criticize and complain less. Bear with me. You probably only have to put up with me for another 30 or 40 years.
That said some of the most successful, constructive and positive changes on any team come from players who are willing to support each other and listen attentively to each other and their coaches. There exists an attitude of coming along side and helping, rather than adding additional weight to an already heavy load. Players try to correct each other gently, without embarrassing one another. Correction should be as delicately performed as an eye surgery. This builds trust and people who trust each other can accomplish great things together, as less energy is spent protecting ourselves and more energy is devoted to the success of the team.
Regarding the influence we possess in life, we are like a drop of water hitting a pool. The ripples go out in every direction and affect everything they touch. Similarly we affect everyone we communicate with and have some affect on them. The question each of us should ask when we communicate publicly in this forum or on the radio is what kind of legacy am I leaving? How many years do I have left to construct it? What does my choice of communication and correction really accomplish? Does it prompt others to participate in the game? What kind of participation does it encourage? What kind of tone does it set in a discussion?
Some folks go through life experiencing so many explosions that they twitch a bit any time they are close to another human being. It takes a long time and a lot of trustworthy behavior on the part of another person to win them over and to get them to interact in depth with anyone. They have great ideas, but they’ve been treated so poorly by others, that they’ll keep them to themselves or they value themselves so little that their whole lives are spent in shallow relationships trying to win the approval of others through shallow conversation. Others set off so many explosions themselves that they simply reap what they’ve sown.
With the knowledge that the strongest teams are the winning teams and winning teams are cohesive, how does the trolling team stack up against our competitors? Are we strong? Do we have a history of strength? Are we modifying our behavior to become the strongest team or do we expect different results while we maintain old habits? Are we a most encouraging, constructive group of ladies and gentlemen with differences that are easily or at least civilly overcome or are we just blasters and more interested in the temporary thrill and self-satisfaction of the explosion?
Usually, people who come under attack the most are the people who do the most, take the most risk, step out and have some backbone. They are people who are admired or more likely people who have taken a high road, when others have chosen a low road. They are people who try and when they stumble, they get up and try again. Folks resent a person like this and treat them with resentment. They lie in wait for them to make a mistake and when they do, they blast away. They offer no encouragement, no hope and no help and that is the legacy they will leave when they depart this earth.
Take some comfort in knowing that typically, if there are no explosions going off and no shots being fired, you’re not in battle and probably not making much of a difference. When you start feeling like no one appreciates you, know this, for every attack; there are 50 who appreciate your involvement and input, even if they don’t give you good feedback or agree with what you posted. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be logging into the forum every day reading your posts. If you want to know how much you’re appreciated, even unrepentant blasters secretly appreciate you, as your occasional misstep provides them the opportunity to do their thing.
Participants in this forum sometimes feel a little like they are at a trap range, their post is a little orange clay birdie they’ve just placed in the trap and they are just waiting for the dreaded command, ”PULL!” Don’t get discouraged by trigger happy gunners and …..Do your best not to blast away yourself. Make it right if you’ve made a mistake and forgive others quickly if they do the same. One might argue that this post is a blast in itself in that it apparently publicly points out some errors. I might agree, were I not guilty of the same things.
This is not to imply that strong language is unnecessary. Debate can be constructive and correction is necessary for everyone, but the wounds of a friend are faithful. More like surgery and less like a shrapnel wound. It is very apparent that as the tone the forum tends toward negativity, participation decreases. Cultivate an attitude of appreciation and cooperation within our ranks and leave a powerful trolling legacy for our children.
Thanks for the consideration,