As a relative newcomer to BTSC, I have hung back and strictly stuck to posting comments with two fan shots mixed in, knowing that when I arrived that I had a limited knowledge of football (still do I am sure). It is more complex and nuanced than ever realized, even though I was aware that there was a lot of preparation which leads up to the opening kick on sunday. I have learned a lot since first joining, and probably have learned the most between mid-January til now. Reading all the draft posts and conversation attached to them has really expanded my knowledge and understanding of personnel and how they might or might not fit in to the team's success next year and the years beyond. It also helped me understand more about the different positions, especially the non-skill positions which are not obvious to the causal fan. So many thanks to all those who really share their dedication and knowledge in a constructive way here even as you disagree with each other. There are too many to list. So, here's my first fan post.
What I want to really write about is attention. Every aspect of the players and the team is scrutinized both on the field and off. That's what being a dedicated fan is about to some degree. We pay respect to those who are outstanding in what they do, and we sometimes acknowledge their positive off field contributions as well. An inordinate amount of attention is paid to negative off field activities such as making it rain and then getting into a little gun play, or being caught blowing off steam and having a good time drinking, smoking and driving. Or somebody was trying to get a little 'love' and it turns into accusations of assault. The bad behavior is really about getting a little 'love' maybe, getting some attention.
Getting attention fulfills a human need, and our ability to know how to get attention starts with when we are children. If the only time we get attention is when we misbehave, act socially unacceptable, then as a child that's what we will do. Mom and Dad don't notice me when I am good, lets see what I can get by being bad. And then it carries over to adolescent and adult life. Wherever they go, they either consciously or unconsciously know that if act well socialized, nobody cares, or don't seem to. There is no reward for that other than the occasional kudos, and the training is already there for how to get attention: cause trouble and get people riled up. The kid who metaphorically poked the ants or threw rocks at the bees nest to stir up some excitement and recognition is now flashing their money, playing loose and easy with the girls, rolling with guns in sweatpants waste bands or going onto discussion boards and blogs and antagonizing those they disagree with belligerently, or just antagonizing for the sake of antagonizing. They don't care about who they offend or disrespect, its about the attention.
And its sad, because more often than not, there is a really quality person in there deep inside. Somewhere in there is someone who can really contribute in the world and in the community. They just don't have the self-esteem and comfort in their own skin to try and live and act in ways that are a pleasure to encounter for others. The need – the hunger – for any attention, even if its bad, is too strong. And so people end up arrested, sued, unemployed, or on blog discussion threads. Can we help our wayward football talent or football commentator? One insight to the answer to that question is found in this article:
“When you give your child attention for misbehavior, you are giving negative attention. Negative attention typically begins when you become upset. You follow with threats, interrogation, and lectures. Negative attention is not a punishment; it is a reward. Negative attention does not punish misbehavior, but increases it.”
In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister Neil Young.