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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Welcome to the Charleston Riverdogs, Robert Refsnyder!

Let me be possibly the first person in the state of South Carolina to offer a sincere and warm welcome to the Charleston Riverdogs' newest player, Robert Refsnyder. Welcome and good luck.

Robert Refsnyder, Most Outstanding Player, College World Series 2012

If you haven't followed college or minor league baseball news lately (and really, unless you or your kid or your college is playing, why would you?), the University of Arizona Wildcats beat the USC Gamecocks in the college world series last month and Refsnyder was named Most Outstanding Player (congratulations!)

Yes, emotions run high with sports, yes, people say stupid things, especially if they happen to be sore losers on the losing side. In this case, the trash talk stepped over the line of even poor sportsmanship. Some USC fans felt the need to contribute to the state's stereotype as the redneck, ignorant jerk capital of the world by not only heckling the player, Refsnyder, who was born in South Korea, adopted and raised in California, but by making threats against his family. Let me be more specific: they were making death threats against his family.

Refsnyder did what any twenty-something would do: He tweeted his reaction to the whole world. He "will never live in South Carolina because they can't accept Asians playing baseball." Not an unreasonable conclusion to jump to when someone threatens your family because of your race.

To anyone who is no more familiar with this state than what they've read in the news or seen on South Park, these USC fans (I'll call them 'Cocks rather than the synonym for what they really are) just reinforced the stereotypes. The intelligent and sensible people of this state should be furious at the USC fans for hurting the state's reputation! And at this point, some USC officials, including Ray Tanner, should have apologized profusely for these morons' stupidity, and dissociated themselves from the "fans" with some "gee, we're sorry, we're sure they aren't USC students or alums, just some out of control fans we don't have any control over," but they didn't. (Although to be fair, rumor has it that some fans and South Carolinians sent Refsnyder messages apologizing for the 'Cocks.)

Fate is a funny thing and Refsnyder was then signed by the New York Yankees. I'm sure he felt quite safe signing with a team whose home is in that bastion of northeastern, liberal elites and racial diversity, New York City, but of course it couldn't be that simple. The Charleston Riverdogs are the Yankee's Class A team and guess where Refsnyder was sent?

To quickly make amends and set a better tone for his move to the south, Refsnyder apologized publicly and profusely in the media and on Twitter for stereotyping the state based on a few bad apples. ("Generalizing the whole state was foolish on my part, just immature.")

For an "immature" twenty-something, Refsnyder took the high road. The Riverdogs are lucky to have such a talented, intelligent, and classy addition to their team. You'd think the Charleston fans would be thrilled and attempt to make up for the poor representation of our state given by USC fan. We are, according to our own myth, the "friendliest city" in the country. I was expecting to see this warm Charleston welcome at the Riverdogs game on Friday, waiting to see my city show this young man that those rude and ignorant crackers were the exception, not the rule in this state, that our reputation is ill-deserved.

I am embarrassed through and through for the City of Charleston, the Riverdogs' fans and organization, and the entire state of South Carolina. If there was any doubt in Refsnyder, or anyone's mind, that his original characterization of the people of this state as racist was incorrect, Riverdogs fans relieved them of that misconception. At his first at-bat, the Riverdogs' fans loudly and overwhelmingly booed and heckled Refsnyder. Matt and I were among the very few who cheered him on.

Way to go Riverdogs fans and Charlestonians. You gave further proof to this young man and to the country that we really are the bunch of racist rednecks everyone thinks we are.

To Robert Refsnyder, welcome to Charleston. You may find it hard to believe right now, but not everyone here is that mean. There are a lot of us "from off" who were raised better, who know what hospitality means, and who can accept and welcome others, regardless of "where your people are from." I wish you all the best in your baseball career and the strength to ignore the myopic, xenophobic and vocal minority and find some real "southern charm" in your time here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Happy Curmudgeon

Holy Crap! I'm a happy person! Who'd've guessed?

Me being happy

If you found my blog via my website, you may have read the "About Me" section, and more specifically, the part about me embracing my inner-curmudgeon. I have, and while it's made me less frustrated than keeping my irritability locked inside, I've often wondered if maybe that's a less-than-ideal strategy for maintaining some...any...positive perspective on life. By owning my grouchiness, am I dooming myself to a life of misery?

Not according to Marc and Angel's website "Practical Tips for Productive Living." (That sort of website, quite frankly, isn't my usual cup 'o tea with all its perky upbeatness, but a friend posted the link to their "30 traits" on facebook and I just had to read what a bunch of malarkey that would be!) Well, wasn't I in for a surprise! With a whopping 27 of the 30 traits they say happy people possess, I'm practically the poster child for happiness!

Here's the link to their blog where you can take an inventory of your own happiness.

I won't go through my entire self-assessment with you, but I did try to be honest. I lost a point on #6 (I LOVE to complain--it makes me happy, so I'm not sure if I should be penalized for that!) I took off 1/2 a point for #9 (I like to identify idiocy when I see it. I don't think I'm blaming anyone for my failures because I'll find a way around the obstacle despite stupid people, but when things could be easier for EVERYONE if someone would just identify the problem, by name, then I see no reason not to.) I also lost a 1/2 point for #17 because I know I'm arrogant, particularly about things that I excel at, but I didn't take off a full point because I do admit when I make mistakes and I'm humble about those things I'm not very good. Finally, I lost my 3rd point on #18. It's debatable--at least to me--whether being in control of one's emotions is such a big plus on the happiness scale. I love letting my emotions out on a rampage and think everyone would be happier if they occasionally did the same. For the rest of the questions, well, most of those I do in spades and can't fathom NOT doing them.

So, despite my inner and outer grouches having finally synched up and come to the fore of my persona as Curmudgeon-Lynne, I'm actually a pretty darn happy person. I'm happy with myself, the choices I make in life, and my actions.

It's just all the morons out there making bad decisions that impact my life in a negative way that piss me off. Thank goodness I have my curmedgeon to get me through it all!

How about you? How happy are you and what do you think of those traits?