#132 - JERKS AND ASSHOLES
1) Not everything you hear about people is true.
2) Jerks and assholes have redeeming features.
I went to a jousting tournament in Texas last week. I had the opportunity to meet a great number of new people. Some of these people were completely new to me - no preconceived notions, just them. Some, however, I already knew by reputation, and by and large the reputations weren't good. Two examples come immediately to mind.
Without naming any names, such as Charlie Andrews, there was this guy who has a reputation as the "world wrestling champion" of jousting. By that I mean that it is all about kicking asses, all about smack talk, all about putting people in the dirt. It was not about medieval sport. I met this guy prepared to hate him. He was there to be a loud mouth attention seeking bruiser, and if I met him in the lists, I was going to end up damaged. It didn't turn out that way.
Don't get me wrong - he is an attention seeking loud mouth. But that's his character. And his brash American upbringing. Canadian's are more polite, something that Jeffrey Hedgecock confuses with passive/aggressive behaviour. But I digress... This unnamed Charlie is brash and loud, but he is also supportive of his peers, and those who hope one day to be his peers. He stood at the end of the list giving advice, and urging people on to do better. He rode someone else's horse in the list - to help train that horse - something which could have damaged his own placing in the tournament. One on one, he was polite and easy to get along with. He hit hard, but only hard enough to smash the lance tip - the requirement of the tournament. As there were no points for knocking people off, he just didn't do it - though I'm sure he could have.
I doubt we will ever be best buddies - we don't share enough personality traits for me to feel easy around him - but I like the guy.
The second example, without naming names, such as Matt Daniel, was this hothead. Things don't always go your way in the lists - such is our luck and circumstance. After one pass, the judge pointed out that this guy had actually hurt his opponent. His response was "good". That alone would earn him the boot from any competition that I ran.
Then two things happened. The guy sought out his opponent and apologized, the heat of the tournament getting the better of him, he said. Second, the guy called out on to the field a young girl suffering from cancer. This girl, he said, with her courage and fighting spirit had inspired him more than anyone else in his life. He gave her his spurs.
I doubt I will be best buddies with this guy either, for the same reason. But I see good sides in both of them now, as well as bad. I urge them to better themselves, as I too know I need to better myself.
And I salute them for all the good that they do.
16 May 2012 AD