Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why I Said What I Did

With the dust from my controversial post now somewhat fallen, I will take this opportunity to give you what went through my head before I published the post, after the post, and following the apology.

Last week, several lacrosse players with whom I knew and shared many laughs and smiles with were now deeply saddened due to the loss of a meaningful coach. Being the sympathetically numb and brash person that I can be, I grew sick of their grieving behavior. All I truly wanted was for them to cheer up, so that week could again, share many laughs and smiles, just like the "good ol' days".

But this feeling of grief only persisted. Days would pass, and their dispositions remained all the same. The happy-go-lucky air many of the players once boasted looked distant and impossible. I soon grew even more tired and impatient.

I wrote a piece in Google Docs, and was sure to not share it with anyone. It exemplified my angst, which was a result from the seeming depression expressed by the players' faces.

Meaning to temper this sharp, and downright cruel writing, I unfortunately never got around to it. Whether this would have ever improved the perception of such a post is questionable. Whether it would have made me feel better is certain.

Friday morning -- Religion class, (which was essentially a free period due to the Genetics conference) after finishing an Astronomy project, I open the Google Doc, very unsure as to whether or not to post it to my blog, I gave my laptop to a friend, who, now I know is possibly one of the world's worst editors. After giving the laptop to him, I could see his smile grow. Naturally, I thought this would be a good thing, and maybe the lacrosse players themselves wouldn't take it as seriously as they ultimately did.

I copied and pasted it. Still uneasy of its perception. Then the one I asked to "edit" (for which all he did in the long run, was read it, laugh, and nod, saying 'Definitely posit it'), had told the two sitting at his table. They visited this very blog to read it, and one of them told me that he was planning to tell all of the lacrosse players themselves. How nice.

The day would go on, and the facial expressions of the players in the hallway would progressively turn from disheartened to furious. I was met with glares, confrontations, and less than friendly interactions. I became even less confident than after I posted it.

The day ended, and I had to wait for the buses for a Friday night track meet, which meant I had three hours to do God knows what. I took some friends out to what one may call a second lunch. And upon our return to the school parking lot, what do you know, some lacrosse players were waiting in the parking lot for me. As we exited the car, the five or so players all stared at me, many of them my friends. As we walked, me much more coyly than my friends, one of them, a friend talked to me. He said he didn't read the post, and didn't intend for our conversation to be a confrontation. He explained to me quite thoroughly, how much the coach meant to everyone, how I should not have said what I did at such a painful time, and what I was feeling that sparked posting such opinions. He consoled me, told me to make up for what I had done, and he has been instrumental in this PR nightmare; the earnest apology, and the attempt to mitigate the damages that have already unfortunately struck those who felt it most.

We then headed to the track meet. I wrote the apology with my iPhone on the way to the University of Chicago indoor track. Intermittently, I would receive Facebook push notifications from my iPhone, signaling the deep-seated hatred and pent up stress from the players. I would also occasionally receive friend requests from players with whom I have never spoken, and clearly just wanted to partake in the internet dogpile. Despite having a life philosophy that means being open to as many people as possible, no matter what they may say, do, or represent (race, age, gender, etc.), I did not give in to what may either have been chances for people to attack me or for friendships to be born. But from the one friend request that I did in fact accept, I witnessed an utterly prideful and narcissistic status that highlighted the fact that I was a manager for the soccer team. This almost made me reconsider the apology post. Then I thought of all the friendships I had that would be damaged and the acquaintances that would be shrunk, as well as the Ignatius school community that deserved a proper formal apology for the brash and unfounded remarks that I had made.

I then posted the apology post, urging everyone I knew who was offended to trust my words, and to read it. I notified people via Facebook private messages and status updates. I repeatedly asked people to read it. I however, didn't beg people to forgive me. I plan to give them a hefty load of time for that, and I expect this wound to heal sometime in the foreseeable future.

After all of this unnecessary controversy that could have been well prevented without a friend's Schadenfreude, or the 'pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others', I realize I should have shied away from making remarks about the coach, and could have instead been more optimistic and sympathetic, less condemning, and proactively encouraged the team more explicitly to perform well with their new coach.

If you have been tolerant enough to read this far, be aware, that I do not hate anyone on the lacrosse team. I do not want to be confronted on the issue, and I do in fact want this issue, this silly, unnecessary problem that has arisen not in any way, shape or form, interrupt in the lacrosse team's season going forward. I, with all my heart, hope that we can all forget this, my irrational, and incorrect comments, and we don't exactly have to be friends, but not be so hostile to one another. Please have sympathy for me. I had said something that I didn't intend. We all do it sometimes. I know it hurts. I now have sympathy for you, and all the lacrosse team. Please be brave, as I have tried to be in publishing the apology post. Don't demonize me. I said things I clearly shouldn't have. But all that I ever wanted to communicate through that post was for the players on the lacrosse team to cheer up, and have a successful season in spite of this tremendous loss. It is not imperative that you forgive me. It is, on the other hand, imperative that you respect me for you have no idea how pain-ridden, and regretful I feel for hurting you all so deeply without restraint nor mercy.

Please Ignatius community, forgive me for what I have done. This is my only request.

- Michael Lenoch

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