Manners Are Important To Me

As I explained it to my wife, Brenda, “Their children have excellent manners.”  This comment was regarding a couple’s, both USA Level 4 Archery coaches, children if frequently shoot near during practice or tournaments.  In fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve shared my similar remarks to my wife regarding the younger people I practice and compete with or against in archery.

Good manners are important to some people.  Years ago our cycling coach told the team one of the fastest ways to get bumped from the team, regardless of how good one might be in the cycling, was to be rude or disrespectful.  The coach was a USA Cycling Coach that had been head coach for several of the National Teams.

As my parents taught us, the children, about manners and we learned.  We learned, Yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, no sir, please, thank you, opening doors for others, lending a hand, to be respectful and to help others.  We were taught to carry out good manners to everyone.  There were no exceptions. Good manners are part of good character and we should never forget it.

What I can’t abide is disrespectful behavior and poor manners.  I also can’t abide good manners to cover for disrespectful behavior.

Decades in sport have taught me that most athletes have excellent manners. Occasionally, the bully pops up that is rude or aggressive in a general sense as opposed to playful smack talk.  There is a difference.

Those folks are best ignored.  It is better to out perform to in order to put them in their place.  If you find yourself in a group where such behavior occurs you might be inclined to snap back.

One of my grandchildren has been studying martial arts for 6 years.  He’s only nine years old.  Over the course of those years he’s moved up in skill and rank.  He, also, regularly competes in martial arts competitions.

This grandson isn’t a large fellow.  He is fast and wiry.  He typically wins in competition and is frequently the smallest fighter.

There was a gang of bullies at his school that aimed their attention at my grandchild.  He reported it to his parents who in turn notified school officials. Those officials failed to remedy the problem.

Weeks past and the bully group continued to pester my grandson.  He warned them repeatledly to not bother him, stop pushing him and stop harassing him.  They failed, just as the school staff had failed, to end the harassment.

Finally, in self-defense, one against three, and with numerous warnings to stop which the bullies ignored, the little boy took action.  When he was finished and standing in the principle’s office he said, “I told them over and over to stop.  My parents told you what was happening.  They (the bullies) were pushing me and no one helped.  I defended myself and made sure not to hurt them, just to knock them all down.”  Once all three were one the ground he told them, “Stay there and don’t get up while I call a teacher.”

(His parents and his coaches instruct him to not use his skill to hurt people. I’ve heard the lecture.)

My grandson got into some trouble from the school officials.  No one bothers him at school today.  He’s actually very popular, now.  I’ve seen him in practice and competition.  He is fast there is no doubt.

In archery, bullies aren’t a serious problem on a range.  Heck, everyone is armed.  As a general rule everyone is polite and have good manners.  Still, we find that occasional jerk whose got a mouth on him (I’ve not run across a rude women in the sport).  Those are the ones where I must bite my tongue and politely move away.

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