My husband Damon and I were very lucky and had a fantastic opportunity to go to Toronto and watch games three, four, and five of the ALCS! I love watching baseball and I grew up cheering for the Jays with my family. My husband grew up not only watching, but playing baseball all his life. He still is playing baseball for a senior team in Kenosee and has been a Jays fan since he was a little boy. We had a blast cheering on the Toronto Blue Jays and watching the games live in the stadium as the atmosphere was electric! It was fun getting a chance to sit in the stands together and getting a chance to spend time together since we both have been busy with work.
Before I left for Toronto last Sunday I was trying to piece all of my thoughts together from the readings and viewings. I wanted to finish my blog post before I left, but it did not feel finished so I decided to wait and put the finishing touches on it when I returned home from Toronto. I also do not like feeling rushed and I wanted to have time to look over my thoughts to make sure my ideas were clear. While I was in Toronto I was thinking about my unfinished post. I was focusing my post a lot around the topic of online shaming especially after watching Monica Lewinsky’s video The Price of Shame. I was talking with my husband about this topic on the plane. Since we had baseball was on our mind we talked about the young women that were at an MLB game in Arizona and how the sports announcers were talking about the young women taking photos of themselves during the game. I was surprised by how long the announcers talked about the ladies and how unprofessional their comments were. Soon after there were people posting and tweeting on Facebook and Twitter about the young women taking selfies at the baseball game. I still can not understand why people would post negative comments about other people! My parents always told me if you do not have nothing nice to say then keep the negative comments to yourself. I do give people credit who stood up for the young women in a positive way online. It was discussed in an CBC News article online that “Many others, however, took up issue with the commentators themselves, calling their remarks inappropriate — especially in light of the fact that fans had actually been encouraged to take selfies in the stadium as part of a T-Mobile promotion right before the sorority girls appeared on camera” (Lauren O’Neill CBC News). I have found many times that people begin to post comments online without knowing the other side of the story or the whole story. I often wonder if people think about other people’s feelings before they post comments??
Since arriving home from Toronto this post has evolved a lot over the last couple of days. On Friday evening I was multitasking by tweaking my blog post while watching game six of the ALCS with my husband and later couple of friends stopped by to watch the end of the game. At the bottom of the second inning a Kansas City Royals fan caught a homerun ball that was hit by Mike Moustakas. As a Toronto Blue Jays fan I thought it was important for the umpires to relook at the play incase the fan, Caleb Humphreys, did interfere with the play.
The umpire ruled that there was no interference so the homerun still counted. There were so many Blue Jay fans that were outraged and began to lash out with negative comments all over social media. Later in the game my friend received a text with the following picture:
I could see that he was excited to catch a home run at a Major League Baseball game from watching the game and an interview that I saw. It would be pretty awesome to catch a homerun ball during an important game of your favourite team. Throughout this weekend I have been reading a variety of articles from USA Today, The Kansas City Star, and CBS Sports. The CBS Sports article written by David Brown was called Reaching Royals fan: I didn’t want to be Jeffrey Mier or Steve Bartman. I could not recall the stories of the names that were mentioned in the title so I searched for articles about each of them. I found an interesting article about Jeffrey Maier that he wrote himself. The column was called How Catching a Derek Jeter ‘Home Run’ Changed My Life. I appreciated reading Maier’s thoughts about that day and how that moment has changed his life. Reading Mier’s words reminded me of what Brittany commented in her blog post. She discussed “How long can we hold youth accountable for decisions they make when they are young?” and that “The internet will remember for ever- the change needs to be in what we, as consumers of the information, do with it. ” We need to be teaching our students about how to be good digital citizens. We need to educate students on what to do or how to respond when they view and read articles from different sources of media. Our decisions can impact us and stay with us for the rest of our lives in a positive or negative way. We need to choose wisely when making choices.
I found an article on the Chicago Tribune about Steve just a few days ago and another article written a few years ago. After reading the articles I started to reflect about how it would feel to be in Caleb’s or in his families shoes. What will be written about him and about game six in the years to come? People need to remember that you never know what curve ball may come your way in life! Many times people think that it they are invincible and nothing would happen to them, but you just never know. While I was reading all the different articles it made me think of my husband Damon. In August during our honeymoon in New York we went to watch the New York Yankees play against the Minnesota Twins. We decided not to wear our Toronto Blue Jays jerseys and hats to the game because we wanted to enjoy the game instead of being heckled throughout the whole game. We made that decision because when we were wearing our Blue Jay hats downtown in Time Square we were often approached by many Yankee fans since both teams were so close in the standings. Most of the comments were made in a fun rivalry spirit, but we had a people say some off side comments. During the game in the 7th inning Sano from the Twins hits a homerun and my husband caught the homerun ball!
It was pretty exciting to watch my husband’s eyes light up! Here we did not wear our Jays gear so we would not get heckled, but boy did Damon and I get heckled for not throwing the ball game back since it was an opposing teams home run. I read an article on ESPN about fans throwing the opponents home runs back onto the field and where that tradition came from. The Yankees were screaming and chatting “throw it back” and “you’re not Yankee fans!” I was going to take Damon’s picture with the home run ball after the game was over, but we did not want to be bugged more about not throwing the ball back so I took his picture in a different area in the stadium. What would have been said about him if he interfered with the play? Since Damon is a huge ball fan and player I do not think I would ever have to worry about him interfering with a player because he would not want a fan to interfere when he makes a catch in center field. But, if the adrenaline is high and it is close to being on the fans side you never know if raw emotion will take over and a person might possibly jump in sooner than what you would have normally.
We were lucky because once we left that section no one knew who we were and we were able to walk away from people heckling us. Damon and I did not have to worry about reading negative comments about his catch, videos online, tweets, Facebook posts. There are no rude memes created about him and that moment will not become apart of his digital footprint in a negative way. When we returned home we did see some posts about Damon’s catch. Our families and friends posted and shared the video of Damon’s catch and we had people even texting us that they were excited to see his catch on TV. I could not imagine if Damon was in the same shoes as the people I talked about in this post. People need to stop being cruel and they need to think before they post! Remember that when you post something negative and make inappropriate comments about others that person is someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, grandchild, or friend. We are human beings with feelings! I think sometimes people need to breathe and remember it is fun to cheer on sports, but not to let it get so heated in a negative way. It is also exciting to have some rivalry if it is all in good fun and remains positive. Mistakes will happen during a game because we all are human and are not perfect. All of the articles and videos that I have read reminded me of a scene from Fever Pitch. The main character Ben has an obsession with the Boston Red Sox and after the Red Sox lost a big game Ben and his friends are very upset. Then they noticed players from the team at the same place eating while they could not eat because the Red Sox lost the game. I know some fans who take longer to get over a lose than I bet some of the players. Although it maybe tough, but people need to remember that it is just a game and there is always next year!
So…Do You Think Before You Post or Share Online? I know I sure do! Not only because of I want to protect my online identity as a teacher, but I want to be a good role model and do the right thing. The Globe and Mail Wency Leung wrote an article called Why do some people take delight in online shaming? This article even discusses Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk that I mentioned at the beginning of my post. I also encourage you to read Danielle’s blog post A Digital Citizenship Lesson At It’s Finest; Watch Out For Online Shaming. She reminded me about Jimmy Kimmel’s segment that had celebrity’s read mean tweets that people wrote about them. At the end of her post she talks about the YouTube comments that people left on her grade one and two’s students video that they created for school. I was appalled that people would ever say horrible comments about Danielle as a teacher and her young six and seven year old students! The people who leave nasty comments and pollute the online world with negativity are the reasons why so many teachers and so many other people are afraid to give social media a chance, to try having a classroom blog, creating a classroom Twitter account, or creating their first video to share with others. I believe that we need to teach our students to be mindful of what they post and be critical of what they read and view. Students do not need to be scared of social media! Online spaces can be an excellent place to promote learning, share opinions in a constructive way, you can meet new people, make connections, get help from others, and you can help support others in return. What can be done to stop people from shaming others online?