Ladies and gentlemen, today's topic is a little something I like to call
Etiquette (pronounced [,eti'ket])- a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.
Internetiquette- doing that on the internet.
Seriously. What is it about big meets that just brings the freakshow out of gym fans? Things tend to calm down a bit, and become more civil between meets. But then you have a weekend with both Euros and Pac, and it's like, people lose their shiz over it!
Message boards, in general, can be a scary place. In theory, they are places to gather, and politely discuss common interests.
In reality, they're terrifying. I remember being thrilled when I first found a gym board, back in 2005. None of my real life friends gave a crap about gymnastics, so the idea of discussing my favorite sport with other fans was really enticing to me.
Until I realized how MEAN PEOPLE ARE.
Holy balls, you guys, it's gymnastics! On what planet can you justify just tearing other people apart for daring to like a gymnast? You're not 100% up to speed with the current code and all of its rules and deductions? You're fucking stupid. You happen to like a B-team gymnast who doesn't win medals every day? Good luck with those D-scores, chump.
Just the veracity and hate that some people write with blows my mind. I always thought you were a fan of something because you LIKED that thing. These people seem to ultimately hate gymnastics. Focus is solely on deductions, lack of artistry, and fugly toes. No one ever says anything good about anyone.
I think it's cool to share your opinion. You likes what you likes. No one's going to change that. But it is not a DISCUSSION when you instantly shoot down other people's opinions.
Message boards are a hotbed for this kind of behavior. These posters, and I have to believe that they are not entirely socially adjusted, hide behind their computer screens and just trash what anyone else has to say. Trashing opinions. If I'm wrong about a score or deduction, then by all means, correct me. I'll be the first to admit that I am no code guru. But I am not "wrong" for liking a gymnast that you don't care for.
I thank Madonna every day that I wasn't active on any boards during 2008. I was blissfully unaware that there was anything known as "Nastia vs. Shawn."
I happily rooted for both girls, appreciating them both for their fine gymnastics. It wasn't until later, when I joined a new board, that I realized that I had committed a cardinal sin: I liked both Shawn AND Nastia.
Since then, I have realized that the internet is full of HATE. We seemingly exist just to criticize gymnastics. Bent knees, flexed wrists, too posey, dead hangs, flingy layout, low chest, fat butt. Yes, all of these things are bad, but why don't we ever stop and point out "WOW. That was really nice to watch. Good job."
I'm not suggesting we get all Stick It and pretend that deductions don't exist. This sport is meant to be judged. But it is exhausting to read over and over all of these horrible, negative things about a sport that we're supposed to like.
So you disagree with another poster on the internet. I'm cool with that. However, it is the way that difference is expressed that grinds my gears.
Have some fucking common courtesy. Do not berate, or talk down to someone just because they have different tastes. If it is a technical issue, such as a code score, do not flip your shit if someone else gets it wrong. Calmly explain to them the correction. And then, who knows, someone might actually learn something.
This goes back to my rant about Youtube judges. Don't watch three videos, read the comments, and then go online and freak out at everyone who doesn't know what bonus D+D+C gets.
I don't know why I'm ranting about this. I feel as though this weekend has really brought out the worst in people. Like, is it not OK just to enjoy the gymnasts? Watch a routine without writing a 6 page dissertation about ALLLLLLLL of the deductions? Compliment a certain gymnast without having to fight to the death with everyone else?
If I'm a coach, or a parent of a gymnast, I FORBID my girls to ever get on these boards.
So people, can we act as if we're actually FANS of the sport? Or are we doomed to forever use the internet as some douchey mask for our deep, severely troubled personal issues?