Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Context Dependent Behavior

Growing up on a baseball field, I wasn't always exposed (or exposing others) to the cleanest of language. Spending up to 5 days a week between practices and games, baseball, and the language that came with it, became part of my daily routine. Of course, there came a time when those "glory days" of spending many days a week on the diamond had to come to an end, and it was time to move past the "on-field" lifestyle I had grown accustomed to; it was time to grow up.

As I moved past my baseball prime (about my sophomore year of college), I knew it was time to distance myself from where I was coming from and bring myself closer to where I wanted to be heading. I became more outwardly religious, I focused more on my studies (don't worry, not that much), and it was now time to make myself into the person my wife would've wanted to marry. This process was, of course, sped up by the fact that I was now removed from my baseball lifestyle.

A couple of years back I joined a somewhat-competitive Sunday morning softball league. After playing in the league I have come to acquaint myself with a lot of the players in the league - well enough to know that they're decent guys. What I find interesting, however, is that a lot of these guys (I am not excluding myself) are saying things and doing things on the field that they would not do if they were off the field. Men who don't use vulgar language any other time scream profanities when getting under one and popping out to center; men who claim to have quit using tobacco products "dipping" when offered (I am excluding myself from this one); men showing tempers otherwise non-existent off the field.

Am I saying these people are bad people? Of course, not - I'm the same way. Sure, I've replaced the profanities themselves with their first letter (ie, F, S) but I still wonder if I would want my wife to come see what goes on on the field (luckily for me, she sleeps in). It's the same reason an alcoholic should avoid bars - they may be a changed person, but the moment you throw them back in to the scene they revert back to their old ways. I would hope that most of us in the league are more refined individuals now in our 20's and 30's (and 1 guy in his 60's) than we were in our high school/college years, however, throw us back on that diamond and we're the same old jock idiots.

Clearly, when one is becoming a more refined individual, they first become more refined in situations in which they spend most of their time (ie, in public, at work, etc.). The next step to becoming more refined is applying those refined qualities shown at work to all facets of ones life - something that for those who grow up on a baseball diamond and continue to play into their adulthood, is easier said than done.


Anonymous Greg said...

I also used to swear up a red streak. Everyone needs their outlet. Mine is while doing home improvement.

9:11 AM, April 25, 2006

Anonymous DM said...

How bad is RDF in this department?

9:27 AM, April 25, 2006

Blogger Jewboy said...

How true this is. I also grew up playing a lot of competitive sports and while I like to think
I've refined myself, when I get out on the field again I feel the old juices flowing. In the camp I worked at for a couple years there was a highly intense sports league competition that lasted the entire camp session. Maintaining the balance between the middos I hoped I'd acquired and my old competitive fire wasn't always easy. It's an avodah.

2:38 PM, April 25, 2006

Blogger aishel said...

I too, used to swear, esspecially when I was in 9th grade. I think it was considered cool (or at least I thought it was). Anyway, one day I slipped. And we'll leave it at that. Now, even under stress, I'm proud to say that I hold my own and I don't swear.

5:25 PM, April 25, 2006

Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

mea culpa. i'll sometimes use swear words in a game of literati online (as part of the game, not when my opponent scores a triple word).
and my kids have expanded their vocabularies from sitting in traffic with me (but that's more of the 'jerk', 'idiot', 'moron' variety; still doesn't impress the rebbetzin).

and i'll never take up golf.

7:09 PM, April 25, 2006

Anonymous Cursing IS cool said...

Two brief points:

1) Saying 'F' or 'S' not only sounds stupid, but is basically the same thing as saying the real words

2) I didn't curse for about a year and I feel like I lost that year of my life.

4:06 PM, April 26, 2006

Blogger Jewboy said...

CIC-If not cursing is what put a damper on a year of your life, I feel bad for you.

9:08 PM, April 26, 2006

Anonymous Cursing IS Cool said...


1:22 AM, April 27, 2006

Anonymous cursing IS cool said...

I knew someone would say that, I just knew it. Thank you for your sympathies, but it was a crappy year without cursing. Couldn't express myself. Oh damn, is 'crap' a curse? Shoot, is 'damn' a curse? Curses, is 'shoot' a curse? I think you get the idea- Howard Stern, Shlita, said it best when he said "they're just words."

1:25 AM, April 27, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home