I know I was majorly late in reporting the results, but I had no idea I would upset anyone in doing so. Last night, I emailed everyone in the pool a gentle reminder: "Hey, you forgot to congratulate the winner of the "March Madness 2009: In It to Win It" pool. Let's not forget our manners! (Yes, I realize I'm superlate with the trash-talking. What can I say? I've been busy.)"
My friend (and former boss), Bob, replied to all: "Seriously. This crosses a line even for you, Lisa. Trash talking a month late is definitely out of bounds. It's like putting your MVP award for little league on your college application." Bob, I should mention, is the director of undergraduate admission at a major university.
So I checked in with Bob, via IM, to see what was up and why he was being so cranky:
me: way to put an admission-relat
Bob: you deserved at least that much
me: come on
i didn't have a chance to say anything sooner
Bob: W [Editor's note: This is Bob's shorthand for "whatever"]
me: don't hate
Bob: if you truly believe in the trash you're talking, you make the chance
me: wow, you should sell that to someone
After my exchange with Bob, a few other friends chimed into the email thread. To all of them, I say, "Don't hate the player, hate the game." As Urban Dictionary explains, "Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization which allows or encourages the behavior that has provoked your displeasure."
It's lonely at the top. Everyone wants to bring you down.