Let me establish from the beginning that this is not another “Let’s take Bleacher Report to the next level” article. However well-meaning those may be, that is not the intent of this article. My purpose is simply to offer some suggestions on how you can gain a hearing from your peers.
What you do with it is entirely up to you. You may want to print this off and blow your nose on it. If that is the case, I feel my duty is to warn you about the perils of a paper cut on the nostril. Not only is it painful, but it can also be a severe hindrance to any pathological nose-pickers we may have in this community. So please be careful.
I am addressing this to those of us who have two things in common: We love college football with a passion, and we also love the opportunity that Bleacher Report has afforded us to connect with people of like passion. This comfy place has become our cyber-home!
Having been blessed with six wonderful children, I am somewhat of a shade-tree psychologist, but more importantly a referee.
Rule No. 1: You are not allowed to kill each other. Rule No. 2: If you send your brother or sister to the emergency room, the hospital bill will come out of your allowance.
One of our favorite times is around the supper table. (For those of you from up North, supper is the evening meal. First breakfast, then lunch/dinner, then it's suppertime!) Long after the meal is finished, we are still sitting at the table talking.
We talk football, we talk politics, we talk Bible, we talk religion, we talk favorite movies, we talk who is the best ever at...whatever. You name it—we’ve discussed it.
It is in this setting that my children have learned (are learning) to articulate, to engage in conversation, to express feeling and conviction, to listen to another’s point of view and consider what is being said.
The rule at these table debates is simple: No yelling, no name calling, and no personal insults. Sort of like a verbal hockey game, if that rule is broken during our debates the offending party is exiled from the discussion until he, or she, cools their jets and is ready to talk civilly again.
It’s never good to run the mouth when the brain has been shut off!
That is a sure sign of someone who has been intellectually bested and now must resort to a verbal smokescreen in hopes of covering up their inability to contribute anything else of value.
For a little over two months and 13 articles, I have been a member of Bleacher Report, and in particular, the community of fans and writers who love college football.
We bring many different things to the table. We are from the North, the South, the East, and the West. We are also wired somewhat differently. Some are positive, some are negative, some are analytical, and some don’t want to be confused with facts.
We all love our teams, and those of us from the SEC even love our conference (as if you didn’t know!).
With all of these variations, how do we keep from verbally killing each other? Please don’t hurl the “Content Nazi” label at me. Remember: these are merely suggestions on how to gain a hearing from your peers here on B/R. You may write whatever you please, but we don’t have to read, or reply.
Don’t Insist on Identicalness
My Dawgs play Bama this weekend. Does that mean that Timothy Croley is a @*%#&**! No, TC is my bud. When the dust clears, I will wish him better luck next time. (Sorry Timothy, I couldn’t resist!)
His cyber-friendship means more to me than trying to best him in a verbal slugfest over which team is going to triumph this weekend. That will be settled between the hedges, not on Bleacher Report.
Debate is great, but cutthroat comments won’t add one point to your team's score. What those types of comments will do is destroy your credibility with thinking people.
Don’t Overstate Your Importance
I am a B/R peon—an officially unofficial no-body. You don’t have to read my articles, and if I decide to act like the south end of a northbound armadillo, you probably won’t.
I will give you my opinion when I comment on your articles, and I hope you will take the time to consider what I say, but I will not attempt to force my opinion down your throat. I have always despised a bully and have had my fair share of trips to the principal’s office because I stood up for someone who was getting shoved around.
A keyboard bully is no less reprehensible to me.
There is a difference between reacting and responding. Reaction requires no real thought process. You hit me, I hit you—we both deal with the consequences later. Graveyards are full of reactionaries.
Response, on the other hand, requires that we engage our gray matter—that we take the time to consider our next move.
That’s it! Take a deep breath! Feel the blood pressure dropping... Now, do they have a valid point? At least consider what they say. If you are convinced they are wrong, remember this is Bleacher Report, not a life or death forum. Keep breathing...it’s healthy.
Everyone knows something I don’t know—therefore I can learn something from everyone.
I am always amazed at people who signed up 45 minutes ago and suddenly launch an all-out verbal onslaught against a respected B/R writer. You might consider visiting their bio page before you trash them, see how long they have been in our community, how many articles they have written, and how many fans they have (a sure sign of community respect).
We are a community, and we expect to have to earn our stripes. We do not ask that anything be handed to us. We may not agree on some of the issues that arise on the various threads of this site, and we may argue from time to time, but we will have each other's back.
If you want respect, then show respect. If you want to feel accepted here, be willing to accept others—regardless of how their opinion differs from yours.
Now, go ahead and print this article, and empty both nostrils, but remember—those paper cuts hurt!