“You’re a gossip!”
These are the words that Jesus, my ball friend said to me some time last summer, while at Devoto court. I stared at him for a couple moments, taken back by his sudden charge. We had been talking about the comings and goings of other ballers and I might have gotten a bit too enthusiastic (for his taste) at the passing of information.
I agree that females tend to get more excited over juicy gossip, in comparison to males. If I were to use my team as an example, this would hold true. But it is one thing to gossip on the outdoor courts, but within a team, these types of conversations can be like poison. In a recent practise, this issue was raised by Karina A. (our captain) in front of the team.
“I’m tired of people saying negative criticism behind others’ backs. If you have a problem with what someone does or says…say it to their face!”
I immediately gained a new found respect for Karina, and also for the legitimacy of our whole team, as a serious entity. Her addressing this issue alleviated some internal squalls that, if left sitting for long periods of time, would become stale and the stink would be pretty horrible. I believe that this was necessary and relevant for both present and future disputes within the team. It is inevitable that some gossip will occur, but limiting it is important for a healthy team.
Women aren’t the only ones who gossip; men do it too.
On the Bs.As. Courts, I’ve seen guys trash talk other ballers from afar, and when they step on the court together, they compliment them. I’m not sure if it is the competitive environment, jealousy, or another hidden factor, but what it is clear to me that this type of ‘back stabbing’ communication is just a part of human nature.
Karina’s words really resonated in me: “We need to learn how to give criticism and how to receive criticism.”