Saturday, February 24, 2007

It’s hard to be a right-winger

Besides all the political stances that define an “American right-winger” (which are somewhat loose but basically consist of pro market/low taxes + strong military + some level of social conservatism) there are some personal characteristics that I see in common amongst all of us.

These personality traits are in many ways what makes so complicated for us to deal with lefties. Much more than it is for them to deal with us.

For example, let me talk about a mundane situation where these issues become clear: playing soccer.

1- Impractical behavior

I am not an especially talented player. For me this means that I need to run faster, tackle harder, play defense more often, etc, to compensate my flaws and consequently help the team to win. You’d think this is common sense but it’s not so. First of all, people don’t seem to be able to recognize their own capabilities. Worst, they don’t want to acknowledge what needs to be done based on that reality. So nobody wants to play defense. Nobody wants to run more than the best player in the team. When you complain and try to point out these things, you’re an ass.

Why do they do that?

When I talk to them after the game, the most usual answer is: I just want to have fun. It doesn’t matter if we lose. It doesn’t matter if we could win! When I point out that by winning we would have more play time, and that well, winning is fun, they just basically say that “winning is secondary”. How can you say that you are against having fun? Again, you are the annoying one, the one that can’t relax.

Now, let me tell you a secret: if all you really wanted to do is just to kick the ball around, you could do so! The reason people divide in two teams, put on different jerseys and keep a score is to compete. And notice that for me what really matters is not actually wining but doing everything you can to win! If you do all the right things and the other team is somehow better, good for them. Maybe you can even learn something to make you better.

I suspect that the real reason to use this “I just want to have fun” excuse is that you can always fool yourself that if you really had done your best you could have won. A classic cop out.

That’s a feeling I can’t stand.

2 – Lack of effort

When I started to play with these guys I suggested that we could meet once or twice a week for practice.

I was pretty much ignored.

Even though you know that professional players practice all week for a game, and almost everyone accepts that one needs to get some training (either college or some other type of education) to perform an intellectual job, these people think that amateur players don’t need to practice.

Not because they don’t have time or something like that. They just thought it would be boring.

One day, after a loss to a team we had defeat previously, I pointed out that I’ve seen that other team practicing several times and that it was clear that this was the reason they’ve got better.

You can guess the response I got.

3 - Be satisfied

Not being able to dribble like Ronaldinho may sound like a disability to many. For me, it’s just part of life. If everyone was special nobody would be. I am not saying it wouldn’t be nice to be able to have that ability. All I am saying is that I fully understand that I don’t.

When you tell another player that, in a certain situation, he should just kick the ball to the stands, most of them get very offended. “Are you saying I am not good enough?”

Why people get so offended when we compare certain things but not others? If a 7ft tall guy tells me he is taller, should I be offended?

I think the underlining problem is that liberals in general want to “have a dream”. Not in the sense of reaching your full potential but reaching something impossible.

They don’t think is “fair” that certain people are better (yes, Ronaldinho is not just a different player, he is better) and all the implications that come from that like hard work, smaller rewards, etc.

Leaving polls aside, my anecdotal experience is that only about 20-30% of people are “right-wingers”. About the same percentage are hard-core liberals, but from this remaining 40% more people trend to the liberal side.

This means that it is pretty hard for me to find a soccer team that thinks like I do. So I have to either shut up and put up with the libs, or go back to play tennis.