Friday, October 19, 2012

Complainers... and Our Reaction

I mentioned this before when I was a TD for the OB Cues Ladies Tour:  that people complain mostly after they lose.

I noticed that at the first Omega Billiards Tour stop on Oct 6th weekend, also.  But, I'll be honest, I notice it at every tournament!

At a weekly bar table tournament, a good player missed a shot.  As he missed, someone walked by.  Immediately he blamed the miss on the guy who walked by. If the guy hadn't walked by, who could he blame the miss on?

Last weekend someone complained about their handicap at the ACS tourney; after he almost lost his match.  If he creamed the guy, would he have complained?

I've seen people glare at fans.  Are they really bothering you?  Or did you just miss and are now embarrassed?  Admit it, we try to place blame.  FURTHER, things bother us so much more when we are losing, or unhappy with our own play. 

At the Omega Billiards tourney, someone who is a 7 lost to a 6, and he complained the guys' handicap was wrong.  It had to be, right?  (lol)  I wonder, if he won that match, would he have complained?

I don't mind complainers.  I really don't.  They sometimes bring up good points.  And of course letting off steam isn't a bad thing.

But I DO mind people who whine.

I also think that if people want to bring up an issue, do it with class:

  • think before you speak
  • think about how BEST to word your question/complaint to get a decent response
  • don't raise your voice
  • wait til you calm down to complain
  • try and see if you are really upset at what you are about to complain about, OR are you just upset because you lost?

Trust me when I say I understand that any one of the above is difficult to do.  We all have reacted badly because of how we feel at the moment.  We normally don't even complain when we are calm, lol, right?

I was verbally abused for most of my life, so I understand how it feels to be yelled at.  I also know through many leadership and mediation classes (after the verbal abuse ended, ironically), that your approach and reaction are key.

When I asked the TDs at the ACS Texas State tourney to consider an alternative for the race to 3 on the one loss side, I thought ahead of time how I would word my plea.  Therefore, because I was calm, I received a calm reply.  I didn't just BITCH to them.  I hoped for a solution, or at least for them to consider a solution.  They wouldn't have been so open to even discuss it with the board had I approached them upset.

On the other hand, someone made such a stink about their handicap at the same tourney, it upset the TD and they had words.  The TD even told him, "Then don't play!"  If the exchange was more cordial, then neither of them would have been upset.

The approach is key; how you express yourself is key; understanding how people interact and interpret things is key.  It's tough to make a point or to get people to listen when they are raising their voice, upset, or only whining.

On the flip side, it's difficult for TDs to remain calm when someone yells at them or is super upset and not containing their emotions.

And as we know, competition can easily and definitely raise our emotions.

I have been upset NUMEROUS times.  I have argued with TDs because I just lost, or blamed someone else because I lost.  If I can catch myself ahead of time, I don't do this anymore. 

But, being a TD again, this is something we MUST keep in mind - most people complain and raise their voice after they lose.  As TDs, we try to show empathy and be understanding, but being AWARE that people do this is also important and can go a long way to a successful exchange of words (communication).

Further, I MUST keep MY emotions under check when players get upset.  It's a tug of war, but as the TD, I can help control the environment by understanding that people DO get upset mostly after losses, and to try and control the situation through patience and listening.

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