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I can’t let things go…

Would you consider me confrontational? I may be wrong.  I don’t think I am even argumenative, but I do have a line that cannot be crossed and in those areas I am willing to stand firm no matter the cost. Lately, I’ve been extremely unhappy with some of the people that I play Ultimate Frisbee with. When I used to play we had rules, but we followed them with a gentlemans understanding that if things are close, the tie goes to the offense – not the defense. If someone makes an amazing catch and one toe was barely inbounds – let them have it. We are out here to have fun right? Well, now I play with a different set of friends and a different set of rules, most of which I don’t mind following, but I still believe that when a call is close, sometimes for the sake of the game and the momentum it’s best just to let it go.

So after almost 6 months of keeping my mouth shut about things that I didn’t like, lately I’ve been letting those things frustrate me and I have been saying stuff. This has turned into some heated debates between myself and one of my team members who seems to enjoy confrontation.

In person conversations go from a mere questioning of a call to a near fist fight in seconds. It takes everything within me not to strangle this person or to play in an unsportsman like manner against him – but I do restrain myself because that is what mature people do.

Last week when I went to him he and said, “Hey, whenever we are talking there is no reason to get upset, we can just talk” and his response was, “It’s you, you start belittling people.” I was sort of shocked and I just went back to my side of the field and kept playing. I know that sometimes I get exasperated, but I don’t belittle, or condescend.  So I emailed him and asked him what I was doing that was bothering him and he said I was steamrolling him and that I most likely am used to getting my way because I am big and well-liked. Well, thanks for the compliment, but that isn’t the case at all.  I get my way because I’m accomadating and I try to look out for what’s best for all parties invovled. Sure we’d like to all live in this perfect world where rules always apply, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes when you are playing with varying skill levels then you need to allow for exceptions to the rules and sometimes, sometimes you need to do away with certain rules altogether.

After I sent him a response to his response to my question, his email was so heated that it didn’t warrant a response. What was the point? I apologize more than once in the email and he said I was patronizing him. My apologies were genuine and sincere.

Now you might read this and think, “Why could someone be so upset over something that happens at a Frisbee game?” The reason is because this goes way beyond a mere game, this goes to the very heart, the core of who you are. When dealing with conflict emotion comes into play quicky and once emotion becomes involved then you might as well forget about coming to a resolution.  Not being able to handle conflict maturely starts to reveal a character flaw. I know this all too well because in the past I didn’t handle things well. I passively-aggressively dealt with situations instead of facing them head on. I don’t do that anymore and it causes problems sometimes, but in the end, the outcome is much better if I deal with the problems instead of avoiding them.

In this situation I really am flabber-gasted. I no longer want to play Frisbee because the fun has been sucked out of it for me by this one individual and I rarely allow one person’s behavior to keep me from doing something I love so passionately. So I ask you readers, what do you do in these situations? When you’ve tried to be rational face-to-face and that didn’t work so you used email and that didn’t work either… what is your next approach?

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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