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Trash talk: It doesn’t win games or effect change

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POSTED January 30, 2018 1:30 a.m.

Trash talking doesn’t win games.
And about the only thing it inspires is more trash talk.
So why do we do it?
Some athletes and even coaches tell you it us to throw off the other team to get them out of their game.
What wins games is not flapping your gums or turning your mind on to auto primal mode. It’s commitment. That means conditioning, practice, drilling, putting team above yourself, dealing with setbacks, learning from your mistakes, and controlling your urge to let anger fly when you are frustrated or ticked off. Anyone who thinks taunting is needed to win is delusional.
LaVar Ball obviously raised three sons that hard work helped sharpen their talents as basketball players — Lonzo, LiMello, and LiAngelo. Ball should be proud of his sons and their No. 1 supporter. But when he brags and drifts over the line to taunting it doesn’t make his sons better players. Instead it belittles them when he feels he has to tear down greats like Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley to brag about them or even market his sons.
That said, what happened to the rest of us?
Why are we letting trash talk set the tone for everyday life and what does it accomplish?
It would be a cop out to say Donald Trump took trash talking to the highest pinnacle in the land simply because it isn’t true. He’s taken it to the next level, no doubt about it. But trash talking has been around in politics for centuries as it has been on playing fields. But at some point in the past 20 or so years in places like the NFL and politics it has become the main event. The buzz isn’t about winning as much as it is about who laid down the best insult or exchanges from “in-your-face” celebrations to verbal altercations.
Whether you are a fan of the New England Patriots, rarely do they engage in trash talk. Arguments about deflated footballs aside, explain why a team needs to trash talk against a team now going for their sixth Super Bowl win under the leadership of an “old guy” quarterbacking them?
Rest assured Tom Brady gets mad like the rest of us and that he is passionate about what he does. But he’s never slipped into the twilight zone of believing trash talking wins games.
The question you have to ask yourself especially if you trash talk is just how effective is it? Has trash talking got this country a reasonable immigration policy that most of us can buy into? Has taunting via blogs, cable news shows, during protests, and such brought about lasting change or improved anyone’s life? I get that a lot of people eat it up. It’s no longer anecdotal thanks to social media “likes” and website clicks that reward who can come up with the most outlandish insults or tirades
We eat up the titillating and give ourselves high fives over cheap shots that leaders of “our” teams slam on our common opponent, but where does that get us?
It matters because we can’t have it both ways. We bemoan the fact nothing from our perspective gets done in Washington, D.C., yet we reward those on our team or side that engage in trash talking or take the bait and slash back. Instead of returning people to office who actually accomplish things we supposedly want them to do, we essentially award put down artists to keep taking the three-ring circus to the next level.
Governing requires listening just as much as talking. It can’t be a winner take all approach or you will end up either in stalemates or veering to the left and then careening back to the right instead of staying a steady course that gets you closer to your destination.
Empires, nations, teams, and even families collapse when we take short cuts.
Eschewing compromise and talking trash to secure an objective simply weaves a cancerous component into the victory making it fleeting at best. By doing it your way or the highway the opposition never really buys in so all it does is take time to reduce your perceived victory to rubble. Poking someone constantly with verbal sticks doesn’t make them see the supposed err of their ways as much as it inspires them to seek revenge by finding an even bigger stick and poking back.
We are all to blame for what is going on. We award trash talking by making all the clicks possible that verifies the 10 minutes of fame theory. We engage in political discourse not by staying within accepted lines of engagement by discussing the ramifications of issues and policies but by veering off into personal insults and sweeping put downs.
It may appeal to our lowest common denominator or human smugness but where does it get us?
We find our talented sons on a short cut to perceived NBA greatness scoring zilch in their debut as European basketball players. We find that the government we keep slamming for not moving closer to solutions on immigration policy isn’t — surprise, surprise — moving closer to solutions on immigration policies.
It’s been said we get the government we deserve.
Remember that the next time that — depending on your point of view — you trash talk Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, moderates or whoever happens to hold views contrary to yours or thinks differently than you do.
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This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209.249.3519.

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