Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Miserable Old Codgers

Perhaps my favorite quote of all-time was uttered by George Will, author and Pulitzer Prize winning political commentator: “The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.”

I feel this quote sums up my attitude for the first 30-plus years of my life. This is exactly how I lived. I always expected the worst and hoped for the best. This mentality always allowed me to say, “See, I told you so.” And, at worst, if I was wrong, then any positive outcome was just a bonus.

Always having a negative outlook on life may be an easier way to live, but it’s certainly not a better way to live. If you’ve spent any time around miserable old codgers, you know how widespread the claws of pessimism can reach. I had to put up with one recently myself, and it truly opened my eyes to how it can adversely affect people around you.

Amy and I, and our two boys, went out to Boulder, Colorado last month for the UGA-Colorado football game. Now, I am the first to say that this season has been a huge disappointment for Dawg fans. Nevertheless, most Dawg fans are loyal, and will stick with the team through thick and thin. But, every fan base has “those” kinds of fans – the ones that get under your skin. The ones who cannot find anything to cheer about. The ones who make the game miserable for everyone around them. That is who I had the misfortune of sitting in front of in Boulder.

Despite the fact that we were actually leading the game at halftime, this guy – probably around 65 years of age – insisted on complaining about everything. “Grantham is a $2.5 million dollar mistake,” he shouted at the top of his lungs. “Bobo needs to go! I hope they leave him here in Colorado!” He booed the officials after every single call. He even booed Bill McCartney, the coach of Colorado’s 1990 National Football team, when he was introduced during a ceremony. And, for me, that was the last straw. I couldn’t take it anymore.
I turned to this guy, and as politely and as under control as I could, I asked, “Can you find anything at all positive to say? Because I am really getting tired of hearing nothing but negative. I’m just wondering if you can find something good to say.”

The man had his arms folded, and had a smirk on his face. “Maybe,” he said. “I might. We’ll see.”

And, while he wasn’t as outspoken about his disdain for all things except A.J. Green, the guy continued to focus on the negative aspects of the game. At one point, we were up by three points, and were on the 10-yard line, 3rd Down and Goal to go. A.J. Green wasn’t on the field, and the guy started screaming about how bad our offense was, and how the Offensive Coordinator only knew five plays he could call. Well, on the very next play, Aaron Murray hit Marlon Brown across the middle for a touchdown! I caught the guy out of the corner of my eye, and he had his arms still crossed, and wasn’t high-fiving like the rest of us.

I turned to Amy and said sarcastically, “I’m sure Bobo probably didn’t call that play. He must only call the plays that don’t work.”

That poor guy’s wife sat there quietly for most of the game. She was embarrassed and ashamed. And, the one time she spoke up to ask him to stop “being that way,” he scolded her and said, “Don’t you talk to me that way.”

Hopefully, this story doesn’t describe you. If it does, I encourage you to do your very best to keep your negativity to yourself, and try – just TRY – to find some silver lining in the situation. You might even turn your scowl into a smile, and multiply that positive attitude into a winning result!