Take a look at this 90 secondvideo in the link as it sets the context for this blog. https://www.littlethings.com/soccer-momzilla-gets-confronted. Unfortunately, this scene is not out of the ordinary. It has become the unacceptable behaviour that is accepted. Many of you involved in youth team sports have been a witness to a similar occurrence. Perhaps a little more intense, or even a softer version of the same type of conversation. Or perhaps you have even been the one who has attempted to deal with the yeller as the gentleman in the video did.
But for this blog, let’s take a bit of a different spin from the logical or natural approach of trying to change a Mr. or Mrs. Yelly-Pants behaviours. (I have attempted this more than once and even in the successful attempts, it raises my stress hormones much higher than I like). Let’s look at the situation from this equation:
Courage + Compassion = Candor
I think it’s fair to say that the gentleman trying to intervene demonstrated candor for the most part. He had the courage to speak up and did it in such a way that was not threatening or highly defensive. Could there have been a bit more compassion or even empathy? Perhaps. When we let go of our ego, agendas and put ourselves in the other persons shoes for even a moment, we can look at the situation with more empathy. When you anchor in to where they are at and then make your request is seems to let the other person know that you are really on their side. It may sound something like this…. “I can hear that you are getting frustrated that the players are doing what they are suppose to do, and it is frustrating especially when they should know what to do”. Allow space for a response – it could be something like…. “Ya I know!! Drives me crazy!!”.
It is the “especially when” that is telling them that you are demonstrated empathy towards them. You are building and acknowledging on their frustration. “You get me” is what their subconscious talk is telling them and the brain will determine you as a friend vs a foe and decrease the fight or flight response from the autonomic nervous system. This will set you up to be able to state your case on why it would be best if she didn’t say anything.
From a Mr. or Ms. Yelly-Pants perspective (whether it is this video or the many others found on the air waves), she had the courage to be her authentic self and “cheer” in a way that she wanted to, which can sometimes take courage – not to be so concerned about what other people will think of them.
Where she could have demonstrated more compassion was to herself. Think of it this way. What we express on the outside is really a projection of what is going on in the inside. If we are angry or frustrated with someone, it is because we are more angry or frustrated with ourselves. Most of us are not even conscious of this or even slightly aware. It takes a lot of self-reflection and a mindfulness practice to be able to see our internal world more clearly.
It’s like what the Zen Master say – “Why can you see the stick in my eye, but you can’t see the log in your own?”. Perhaps she needs to show a little more self love. Be kinder to herself and the high demands and expectations she puts on herself. Or even give herself permission to fall down and learn from her mistakes. We are often our own worst critics, can belittle ourselves in a nano second and cut much more deeply then anyone else.
The next time you come across a Mr. or Ms. Yelly-Pants and this type of behaviour in your travels from arena to arena (or field to field) and see someone yelling on the outside, muster up some compassion for them and what is really going happening for them on the inside.
Melanie Wanless if the Chief Yeller at What Not To Yell and still working managing her own internal Ms. Yelly-Pants. It’s a journey!
Cartoon Character by Robert Given, 2016