In dealing with under-18 students and/or student athletes, it’s inevitable that an adult will get back talk from a kid at some point. Of course it’s natural for the adult to want to put a kid in their place. After all, they know better. They’ve had more education, experience, and can see so plainly all the wrongs that the kid cannot.
Some new teachers or coaches might have go-arounds with young people at first, arguing and trying to talk sense into them. Eventually, most come to a realization: I don’t need to waste my time going back and forth with a child. It drags me down to their level, as if I don’t know any better, like them.
It’s the same dynamic we see with the online bullies who go out of their way to insult women’s basketball, female athletes and women.
They pop up at opportune moments to throw out degrading comments about women’s basketball and its style; the women who play it and how they look; the crowd size for men’s basketball compared to women’s basketball. And as with everyone who finds themselves with a lot of “keyboard courage,” the bullies don’t hold back. The insults are usually ugly and personal.
I see some of the most intelligent women react to these fools on social media. They give them their best counter-put downs. They make obvious points, which of course fall on deaf ears and spawn more insults. Some women will highlight a bullying tweet to supposedly expose the idiocy of the tweeter, but all that does is give the bully more attention, and thus more incentive to do it again.
It’s important for women to remember that there’s no point in arguing with a child, or with someone who has a childish and immature viewpoint. They are wrong – and some might even know they’re wrong – but nothing said to them will stop them. Sometimes kids say and do things to be bratty and rebellious, and the same is true with some adults.
The reasons undoubtedly vary. There are those who need attention, those who feel threatened by strong women, those who are misogynists, and those who just like to get a rise out of people. The reasons don’t matter. What’s important to remember is that just because someone fires a shot doesn’t mean it’s always the right thing to shoot back. In our hyper-reactive world, most seem to have forgotten that ignoring is one of the most powerful tools on the planet.
Arguing or responding to a social media bully is already letting them know they’ve won. They succeeded in getting someone’s attention and getting under someone’s skin; of course they’ll continue to argue, and will escalate the insulting language. But it takes two to tango, so if someone tries to tango with me that way, I just give them the figurative Candace Parker blank stare and go back to what I was doing.
As the saying goes, I ain’t got time for that.
If someone attacks me directly, I will respond. But throwing around general insults? Responding to that costs me minutes I’ll never get back. Ignoring it will likely douse the flame.