We've all done stupid things we regret. Every single one of us. We're just human after all, none of us are perfect. But that doesn't absolve us from our mistakes.
Now, in a perfect world, when we make a mistake, we're able to say we're sorry and move on. I've made my fair share of mistakes, 95% of which come from me talking without thinking. (Irony, I wrote that last sentence three times to make sure I got the message I wanted to send across in the right way.) Anyway, Bill Watters comments the other day reminded me of a hockey story of my own.
Just a few short years ago, I was playing in a summer roller hockey league. It was a fairly competitive league, at least, as competitive as an 8 team league made of mostly early to mid 20 somethings can be. Anyway, during a post whistle scrum (there always seemed to be one, especially in front of the net) I'm shoving with with an opposing player, he calls he a pussy and respond by telling him to shut up, and "quit being a whiny homo." Now, anyone who knows me, know's I'm about 5'9 140lbs, I'm not big at all, the guy I insulted was easily 6'1 175. Anyway, one of our players grabs me by the shoulder and pulls me about 15 feet away from the crowd in front of the net. While we're the only 2 behind the net, he whispers, so only I can hear it, that our goalie, who was by far our best player, was in fact gay and he, one of our players on our team, was the goalie's boyfriend. I was crushed. I felt so stupid for saying what I did. Anyway, the next stoppage of play, I apologized to the goalie, and to the other player both of whom took it in stride. As the goalie put it, "Matt, I know you, I know your politics, and I know that Amy (who is also a cowriter to this blog) is gay too. You made a silly mistake, don't worry about it, but don't do it again." I learned my lesson that day, I still talk trash, but now, I make sure to be insanely clever about it.
Being polite and a civilized human being doesn't have to be boring, it get just stretches the creative juices a little further, or hell, go by other cliche'd stereotypes. For instance, if you want to call an opposing player "soft" or a "not-tough" do what I've started doing, use original lines like "air puts up more resistance than you." Seriously, it works just as well and you don't have to worry about getting yourself in trouble. That last line, actually worked too well, the player I used it on, told me after the game that he didn't get it at first and because of that, it was a slight distraction to him that he claimed caused him to make a bad pass and turn the puck over. If you want to insult a goalie, call him/her "worse than Toskala" or "you were 'Leighton' getting to that one." Bad puns work wonders.
Short form, people are people, regardless of skin color, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, biological gender, hair color, eye color, foot size, etc...we're all human beings. Science proves that. We're all people, and all people should be treated equally.