I was enjoying a pastime from my youth last weekend. I was relaxing on the couch on a beautiful spring day, watching the third round of the Masters. It’s a memory that I cherish from my own childhood. I shared it with my parents, and now I was sharing it with my own kids.
Well, kid. No. 3 was spending spring break with her friend and No. 4 was doing what 8-year-old boys like to do. No, not THAT! He was upstairs playing Minecraft.
So, there we were: the wife and I with No. 2 enjoying our city’s biggest event when my son says, “I HATE Sergio Garcia.”
So I asked “Why? What did he do to you?”
He said “He’s so rude to his fans!”
I’ll save you the rest of the back and forth, but what it boils down to is that he’s heard this somewhere and formed his opinion based on something someone else said. I saw this as a teaching moment. Well, after my wife and I enjoyed a good bit of sarcastic, over-the-top hating of Sergio every single time he was on the screen, of course: “Jeez! Just look at him smiling and waving at his fans! What a jerk that guy is!”
I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. So I, too, know what it feels like to be pre-judged by strangers. Sometimes the judgment comes from a small something that someone may have heard. Sometimes it’s based on something someone thinks they know. But it’s hardly ever based on fact.
In my questioning of my son, he never brought up the questionable comments Sergio made towards Tiger Woods, which I would have understood a little more than just the general hatred of the guy.
Even so, those comments were years ago. Still unacceptable comments, but still years ago. Sergio has since apologized for them. Maybe he’s sincere, maybe he’s not. Maybe he said it in the heat of a moment that he wishes he could take back. Or maybe he repeats those words every day of his life while reciting an old voodoo chant, vowing to destroy Tiger. I don’t know. Until we do know, there’s not really any reason to project anger at a screen to a guy we’ve never met.
So this was my lesson to my son: Know your facts before you judge someone. “You heard something about someone from someone else” is no reason to pass judgment. Now, if you’re watching a bunch of players running around wearing orange and blue with an alligator logo on it, then you can hate all you want. There’s really no better reason to hate a person than that.
He’s 15, so the jury is still out on whether he got the message. Actually, the jury is still out to whether he was even listening to me ramble. Personally, I’ll leave the burden of passing judgment to those to which it belongs: God, Allah, Jehovah, Krishna, L. Ron Hubbard and Judy.