The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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I Was Wr..rr..rr…

on October 1, 2012

I loved “Happy Days” when I was growing up.  I loved the Fonz and  that he was so cool that he had trouble even saying the word “wrong”.  It was funny. It has become less funny to me recently because I’ve noticed that there are fewer and fewer people who are willing to admit when they are wrong.  Even a little bit.  As Fonzie said, it appears the word just gets stuck in the throat.

Last Thursday night we attended a home football game for the local high school.  The “theme” of the game that night was being driven by a local radio station and was “Team Jack”.  Team Jack is a great cause centered around a young boy with pediatric brain cancer, a Nebraska football player, the  relationship they formed and now a drive to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research. It’s a great story which you can find here or for more information about the cause you can check out the Facebook page here.  The goal before the Nebraska/Wisconsin game was to sell 10,000 “Team Jack” t-shirts for what had been declared “Team Jack Night” by the Huskers.  One of our local radio stations jumped on board and asked the student body to join the cause, buy t-shirts and wear them during the game, dedicating the night to Team Jack.  It was a great idea and I for one loved it.  It is what happened during Team Jack night about which I’m not so impressed .

There has probably been a small bubble of animosity between the “cool kids” and the “band nerds” from the beginning of time at every high school every where in the world.  It may just be that Cain was a cool kid and Abel was in the band and that’s where the trouble started.  Okay maybe not, but you get my point.  There’s usually at least some tension there.  Our kids’ school has never been an exception to that rule but we have noticed in the past few years that the tension seems to be bubbling bigger.  This may have something to do with the fact that somehow in the last few years it seems that student sections are competing not to be the most supportive of their team and show good sportsmanship but to have the loudest most obnoxious student section possible.  The goal is to see who can be crudest and “out-diss” the other.  (Not a really lofty goal in my mind but no one asked me.) Unfortunately the band will on occasion start to play something which means they have interrupted the student section from yelling whatever it is they wanted to yell.  Of course most of the time the band didn’t know the student section wanted to yell something but that doesn’t matter.  Those nerd band kids have spoiled the fun of the cool kids.  That in itself is enough to start a war.  It hasn’t always been this way at our local school.  When our oldest son was a senior it was his “job” during basketball games as a member of the “Panther Posse” to go over and find out what the band was planning to do so that everyone could work together.  Novel concept.  Evidently no one has thought of that lately because it doesn’t happen any longer: the working together I mean. In the  last few years there has been increasing animosity between the two groups.  Enter Team Jack Night.

 The night started off a little tense in that the band kids couldn’t wear the Team Jack shirts underneath their band uniforms.  The t-shirts are red.  The jackets have white collars.  They took some flack from “The Posse” for not being supportive of the theme OR the cause.  Of course several band members bought t-shirts, they just didn’t wear them that evening.  I’m pretty sure none of the football players were wearing them under their uniforms that night but that didn’t seem to be as big of a deal as the band kids not wearing them.  During the course of the game things deteriorated to the point that when the band filed out of the stands to get in line for their halftime show the student section began the chant “Thanks for leaving” – a very classy thing to do to your fellow classmates. Also classy was standing up and turning their backs to the band as they marched on the field.  In the midst of the halftime show one of the DJ’s from the radio station unwittingly upped the tension. He was standing in the student section awarding the “Fan of The Game” award when he decided it would be a great time to start a chant for team Jack.  As the band was performing there was an eruption of “Jack…Jack…JACK” from the student section.  Let me insert here that no one was offended about cheering for a young boy with cancer.  What caused the problem was the TIMING of that cheer.  The band, who arrives before school to practice and spent months this summer working on the show, was in the middle of their performance. It’s kind of like starting that chant when it’s 3rd and 2 and the quarterback is under center.  It’s distracting. It’s disrespectful. It could have waited.  It added fuel to a smoldering fire.  By the time our girls arrived home from the game that evening there had been tears of frustration and hurt feelings.  My husband, being a dad, sent an email to the radio station manager and owner expressing his concern over the DJ’s actions and the message that it sent. He was quickly assured the matter would be addressed.

The next day I noticed on Twitter that one of the Drum Majors (not the one who lives in my house) had expressed her annoyance to the DJ on his account. “Mookie”, the DJ, responded with something to the effect of :”I’m sorry you think that cheering for a boy with CANCER disrupted your performance.”  How typical.  It’s the first thing we do when someone expresses displeasure with our actions isn’t it?  We try to deflect it by making the other person look petty. We belittle them and change the subject.  That is only borderline acceptable when you are a teenager in High School but when you are an adult? Not so much.  This would have been a great place for Mr. Mookie to say, “I was wr..rr..rr…” Okay so what can we expect from a grown man who thinks he’s a big time DJ from a small town in Northeast Nebraska and goes by the moniker of “Mookie”?  The teenager responded that it had nothing to do with the chant, only the timing of it. Again the brilliant DJ, who was supposed to be the adult in this conversation, very sarcastically replied, “Thanks for your opinion. I’ll keep it in mind.”  Another missed opportunity to say, “I was wr…rrr…rrr”  I wasn’t impressed.

This morning my husband received a rather lengthy e-mail from the sports manager at the station.  It was full of information pointing out how they have always said nice things about the band on the air and how the night was just so special so in the emotion and electricity of the moment the “5 second chant” broke out. (I will add here that it was only 5 seconds because the assistant principal shut it down right away.) It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t their intention to disrespect the band.  Again, here is an opportunity to say, “It was wr…rr…rrr…” but again that didn’t happen. Instead it was another example of “typical” response: defend yourself and what you did, detracting from the affect your actions had.  If we tell people how good we’ve been and that we didn’t mean to hurt someone’s feelings then it shouldn’t count. Right?  At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter what your intentions were. What matters is what happened because of your actions.  I have had to tell countless people that I was sorry for something I’ve done because it hurt them.  My intention is never to knowingly hurt any one but it happens from time to time.  Those times I have to apologize for being “wr…rrr.rrrr…”

As parents one of the most powerful things we have ever done is admit to our children when we mess up and ask them to forgive us.  As much as I’d like to pretend I’m a perfect parent I’m not.  I make mistakes. I say things I shouldn’t say.  I do things I shouldn’t do.  Then I have to go to my children and say, “I was wr…rrr…rrrr….”  It isn’t fun and not my favorite thing to do but I believe I have a better relationship with my kids because I’ve done it.  They trust me.  They believe I have their best interests at heart because I’ve been able to admit to being “wr…rrrr….rrr…”  It really is freeing to be able to admit you are a human.  No one is as cool as Fonzie anyway. Try it with me:

“I was wr…rr…rrr…..”

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4 responses to “I Was Wr..rr..rr…

  1. I forgot all about the Fonz doing that!!! Great post!!

  2. Janelle says:

    We love Happy Days too. Sadly, I have often found myself in the position of having to say sorry. But you are right, it’s important for our kids to hear that from us.

    • wedelmom says:

      I believe that in order for them to be honest with us we have to be honest with them. Part of being honest is admitting when you make a mistake. It’s hard to do sometimes but so worth it!

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