“There is no gesture more devastating than the back turning away.” – Rachel Simmons
In fairly recent years, bullying has become a hot topic in the news and in social media. I’m thankful for this because it raises awareness to the issue and can hopefully stop some unfortunate individuals from being picked on and tormented. Last season, as part of our team handbook, I related a personal story of bullying to my team, and I challenged them. What I asked them to do was stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
In the story I wrote for my team, I spoke about a time when I saw someone being bullied and didn’t do anything about it. The result of that made me feel incredibly awful, yet made me vow something to myself: I would never again participate in that kind of behavior, and I would stand up for the victim wherever humanly possible.
I loathe a bully. Pushing around someone weaker simply because you can is just about one of the weakest things you can do. It’s sad and pathetic. The bully feels a strange sense of empowerment, which is actually a reflection of the bully’s own lack of confidence and self esteem. It’s weak. It’s sad. It’s empty.
Sports provide ample opportunity for team building, positive direction and experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime. This also works in reverse. Sports also provide a breeding ground for bullying and hazing that gets disguised as bonding and rites of passage. It’s so easy to become part of the herd mentality. In reality, it’s far easier than the alternative, which is going against the grain and sticking up for someone. Standing your ground (or someone else’s, in this case) presents the probability of being ousted and ostracized by the group. Just ask yourself this: when you look back on these types of situations, which memory do you want to have; the self-loathing attached to attacking someone that’s virtually helpless, or the pride in sticking up for that person?
This is where turning your back comes in. The way I read the quote above is that turning your back on someone in need is an act of devastation as it pertains to the person that most needs your help.
Challenge yourself to step up and step in.
Have an awesome Tuesday,