Saturday, April 23, 2022

It wouldn’t kill you to be nice

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Why is it so hard for some people to be a good sport?

Sometimes, I’m playing a game of cards online, and one of the people at the table starts in. Their partner can’t do anything right. Maybe it’s me that they have it in for, or else it’s their partner on the opposing team.

I wonder what they think they’re accomplishing by being so rude? Surely, they’re aware that sometimes one has no choice but to make a bad play due to the constraints of the rules. For example, in the card game Spades, a player might bid nil. The opponent leads a 2 of clubs, their partner plays the 3, and the other opponent plays a 4, and oops the nil got set. The nil bidder then proceeds to throw a tantrum. “How dare you, p, you’re incompetent and come from a long line of incompetent Spades players!!!”. You get the idea — it’s usually much worse than this. And then the next time clubs are played, it’s clear that their partner had exactly one club, the 3. All is forgiven, if only briefly, before they start going at it again.

Yep, I know that it’s more often the case that someone actually did make a dunderheaded play. Maybe they were distracted or tired or not feeling well. Or, perhaps, their tactics are just different. They might be learning the game — or maybe they’re really pretty experienced, and the ranter doesn’t understand what they were trying to accomplish.

I don’t believe that any words on my part are going to change the behavior of someone who behaves poorly online. I suspect that in some cases, hefty amounts of a mind-altering substance are involved in their commentary. Other times, I just wonder why people think it’s okay to be so uncivil because they’re hidden behind a veil of anonymity. Overall, I have to think that if they can’t get through a game without blowing their top, they might be in for some serious problems in other, more consequential parts of their lives.

If you run into someone who behaves like this, I suggest that you don’t use their behavior as a license to respond in kind. Doing that doesn’t help you, and probably does more damage to yourself than good. If you find they’re getting your goat, turn off their chats. And remember that you never know what someone is going through. Try to find it in your heart to be patient with them. We could all use more civility, online and off.