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To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

(Is there really any question?)

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports


The answer is no.

Just don’t do it. (Sorry, Nike)

One of the singular blessings and simultaneous curses from the discovery of the Internet was the advent of social media.

On the plus side, we can stay connected to family and friends from around the corner or around the globe with the mere click of a button. We can do video calls or texts through Facebook Messenger or even have a Facebook room where we can gather en masse to keep in touch or have a monthly book club meeting. With Instagram we can flood our friends’ feeds with pictures of all our pups or what we ate for lunch that day or cute poses ofour children dressed in their Halloween costumes or Sunday finest. With Twitter we can impart as much wisdom as possible about anything we want as long as it can be said with only 140 characters or less. (Twitter makes you get creative about how to make your statements. Lots of U & b4 w/ and emojis, etc.)

Besides just staying connected to family and friends, social media also gives us something else - access. Access to almost anyone that has an account. And, let’s be honest, most people do – whether or not they actually use them. And, certainaccounts have little blue checkmarks or some other indicator that the account has been verified to be THE Coach Sam Pittman or THE The Weeknd so you would know you were connected to the right Coach Courtney Deifel and not some imposter one state over.

No teenager today would understand the feeling of sitting down at the kitchen table, pen in hand, stationery with matching envelopes laid out before you just waiting for you to pour your heart out in a fan letter to your favorite star or athlete. There was nothing like it! I could put on my purple socks and write to Donny Osmond while “Puppy Love” played on the record player behind me.

It was all about setting the mood.

Then walking that letter to the mailbox and watching it drop into the box to be picked up later and whisked across the country.

Now all they have to do is open an app and @ somebody.

And while you knew that you would never get an actualresponse from Roger Staubach or Mean Joe Green or Shaun Cassidy or Steve Perry of Journey, you could just imagine them sitting there, holding YOUR letter, and reading all the wonderful things you were saying about them. It gave you just a little thrill to make a connection, albeit a long distance and one-sided one.

Now, on the downside of social media, it gives us access. Access to almost anyone who has an account.

Because there are no boundaries, really, with social media, keyboard warriors and trolls believe it is okay to say anything to anyone about anything at any time. The whole “everyone is entitled to my opinion” mentality.

And they exercise it with great regularity.

Now, I will be the first to say that one day Coach Musselman tweeted out something (shocker, I know – Coach Muss on Twitter…) and someone commented on it. I chimed in on that comment with something to the effect of “I don’t know how he does it all” and I got a response “Diet Pepsi and energy bars” (or something very similar) from THE driver of the Muss Buss himself! I grinned for hours after that! Someone I have admired from afar saw what I wrote and commented back! It was such a kick to see “Eric Musselman liked your comment.” (And it’s not just me – when Lenny Dykstra liked something my husband said once, his face had that same look on it like when you take a child to Disney World for the first time. Childhood icon making contact.)

But all too often what we find are Sunday morning coaches telling the actual coaches what they did wrong or calling out the players for dropping a ball or missing a tackle or not guarding the 3-point arc efficiently. And you can do that. It is totally within your rights to do so, but don’t @ or tag the players and coaches you’re talking about.

Just don’t do it.

No one feels worse about a loss or a missed opportunity than the team and its members. No one.


And no one needs your input at that time either. If they want your opinion, they’ll ask. But don’t hold your breath.

And I’ll draw the line even further. All of the Razorback coaches are grown up adults. And they will respond as such. They will read your nonsense for what it’s worth – nothing – and ignore you. And Kendal Briles will block you quicker thanyou can click a mouse if you’re coming at him.

But our student athletes don’t always take it the same. They don’t have decades of developing a thick skin to ward off all those Negative Nancys that can’t wait to tell them what a terrible player they are and how they don’t even deserve to be on a Division 1 team. They still, sometimes, take all that very personally and let it get into their heads, and hearts. Several in recent years have admitted it.

And, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, once that seed of doubt gets planted inside, it grows.

A player can’t grow and improve if someone is always cutting them off at the knees. They will start to believe the BS being spouted from “fans” and then, like I said, their results on the field/court/diamond/pitch/track will reflect their inner belief.

YOU are setting them up to fail by not being one of the legs of the stool that holds them up.

It’s like I learned growing up, if you can’t say something nice, keep quiet. I also learned that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. A 98 year old man can wear a Speedo to the beach, but should he? Probably not.

If you want to reach out directly to a coach or player do so, but with words of encouragement or praise or support. Let them know that you’re behind them, no matter what. If they lost or had a bad game, have their backs and let them hear it from you. But don’t allow yourself to be that person who can’t find a kind word for a kid that had a bad day.

A lot of us use social media to unwind at the end of the day. It’s relaxing. We can see news or funny memes or whatever. But if our players are trying to unwind and their timelines and DMs are full of hateful, nasty comments, you are taking away a small pleasure in their day – one that you yourself are enjoying. They need a break just like you do.

There is no easy answer to this. Someone will also overstep that line every time.

Many someones.

Similar to don’t drink and drive, don’t drink and tweet. And just like a designated driver, if you can stop someone from doing something stupid on social media and potentially causing a bigger issue, please do so. We will all thank you.

And if you do decide to tweet, don’t @ the student athletes.

Can I get a #WPS #HogTwitter