Author: Campbell, Bruce

Tis the Season (soon)

Well, it’s almost here. I’m speaking of baseball season, of course. PItchers and catchers report to camp next month. “Hey!”, you may yell. “Where’s the bluegrass connection here?”

Baseball and bluegrass are inextricably linked. First of all, it’s well known that Bill Monroe was a huge baseball fan, and often challenged baseball teams in towns to games against his team - his band. I wouldn’t be surprised if an interview for prospective Bluegrass Boys contained a few questions about baseball prowess…

There’s another important link between bluegrass and baseball: arguing. Fans of both pastimes enjoy hours of spirited arguing about who was the best at one thing or another. And I think the bluegrass and baseball arguments can be a noble intellectual endeavor.

Some arguments are just fact-finding missions. A quick check of the internet will reveal who played bass on the original version of “Can’t You Hear Me Callin’”, or who led theNational League in home runs in the year 1939. No a REAL argument is a lively intellectual give and take over something that can never be settled definitively. The goal of a really good argument is to change someone’s mind, or failing that, sharpen your own point of view.

Sadly, some folks lack good arguing skills. If an argument makes you mad, or devolves into endless exchanges of “Oh yeah?”, then the participants are missing some sparring chops. Here are a couple of tips for fun arguing that won’t create a feud, or leave you red faced and out of breath.

Don’t Make it Personal
Reasonable people can, when presented with the exact same evidence, come to different, reasonable conclusions. Failure to sway your arguing opponent is not proof of a thick skull or a shallow gene pool. Everyone’s entitled their opinion.

Be Willing to Listen
We all want to persuade, and we want to impress with our depth of thought and our knowledge. But it takes two to tango, so you can’t argue all alone. Let others present their opinions and listen and consider their points of view. Even if they don’t convince you, exposure to varying points of view is enriching, or at the very least, interesting.

Agree to Disagree
Sometimes, after some back and forth, minds are changed. When it comes to bluegrass or baseball, that doesn’t happen all that often. The joys of both are so visceral and personal, when we decide what we like best, we just can’t change our minds. Whether it’s Monroe vs, Stanley, or Buster Posey’s swing vs. Will Clark’s swing, the heart wants what it wants. When you’ve pleaded your case thoroughly and affably, and you’ve heard everyone else’s point of view, it’s time to put it to bed.

Leave Politics Out of It
Don't go there. Just don't.

Often, you’re left with the impression that your friends have heads full of wet hay, but they probably think the same thing about you. It’s fun to defend the things you’re passionate about, and jawing over a cool beverage on a nice day is one of the life’s little pleasures.. Let’s see, first pitchers and catchers report, then spring training, then the Sonoma Bluegrass Festival, the baseball season, then Father’s Day...oh yeah - it’s gonna be a great season alright!

Posted:  1/29/2014

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