As a member of the SSC discipline team, I deal with a lot of “problem players.” You know… the ones who feel the need to body check their opponents to get to the ball.
One of the challenges of being the league disciplinarian is the fact that I’m 27 years old. I also sound like I’m 20 years old, and look like I’m 17 years old. Believe it or not, grown men (and women) hate to be scolded. Especially by someone who appears half their age.
So how do I do it? I just follow these six simple steps for disciplining a child, and adjust them into adult language.
Step 1: Identify the Culprit
That’s an easy one. He’s the 40 year old acting like a 4 year old, yelling “It wasn’t me!”
Step 2: Get Both Sides of the Story
Grown men like to be heard. It makes them feel important. Take the time to listen to them like they may possibly be able to justify throwing their opponent’s floor hockey stick across the gym.
Often during this step you’ll get the argument that the other team is a bunch of tattletales. Ignore that, there’s no such thing as tattletales after you’ve hit 20. Unless of course you’re dealing with the mafia and then they have another term for that. (*Side note: hopefully said man is not part of any mafia. If he is then skip the remaining steps and try this approach instead. )
Step 3: Communicate the difference between right and wrong.
Once you’ve figured out how exactly a mild mannered game turned into a scene from West Side Story be sure to take the time to explain that what the culprit did was wrong. They probably don’t know yet that offering to take the other team out back is not, in our opinion, being chivalrous. This stage usually comes with some push back along the lines of “But he started it.” At this point, move on to explain the difference between playing with passion and two hand shoving a guy and then dropping an elbow on him. This will likely go over their head, best to move on to the next step.
Step 4: The Punishment
This is where things get tricky. Unfortunately I don’t have the manpower to take away TV for a week or send this guy to his room. Depending on the severity, I usually take away a game or two. Men love running around after balls, especially when their team is vying for a playoff spot. Taking away their game is basically the same as taking away their favourite matchbox car.
Step 5: Expect Temper Tantrums
Ok the punishment has been assigned and Jimmy is pissed. Now your inbox is tainted with a 1000 word email with a few choice language decisions. This too is to be expected. Respond nicely but firmly. If necessary, you may need to revisit step 3 in an effort to explain again why what they did was wrong.
Step 6: The Passive Aggressive Phase
You survived! You got through the crying and howling about how life’s not fair. Jimmy has learned a valuable lesson that will help him to become a functioning member of society, everyone has moved on, and this matter need never be spoken of again!
Except that the problem with grown ass men is they have the memory of an adult and adults are not keen on being scolded. Now they’re out for vengeance.
For the next 4-6 months you can expect multiple emails from Jimmy every time his opponent lifts a hand. Take the time to follow up with these reports, if Jimmy cannot get away with poor sportsmanship you better ensure no one else does either. Consistency makes the world go round.
And here I thought my babysitting days ended 10 years ago. But unfortunately there seems to be an inner child inside all of us.
~Written by Fiona Geddes