Something came up after last week’s fencing practice that is still bothering me. I’m going to try and talk about this as politely as possible, without mentioning names and such. Everyone involved had valid points, but I’m going to try to give my perspective.
Apparently someone was in town visiting for the week, and was able to make it out to fencing practice. While there, they were apparently largely ignored by the other fencers there, and thus made to feel unwelcome. And the sad part is, I can see where they were coming from with their complaints, and don’t really have anything to say to make it better. I too have been in a situation where I felt like an outsider, and it can be terrifying to stay there, let alone approach and attempt to integrate into what may already seem like a well-knit group.
While it won’t erase past events, I’d like to try to give some perspective from the other side, that of the “hardcore regular” crowd. A lot of us are ourselves painfully shy; we have issues approaching unfamiliar people at the best of times, and that practice night was not the best of times. I know I myself wasn’t feeling that excited to be there, as were a few others. It was the first practice after a whirlwind week of war after event after war for a lot of people, so attendance was low, and the people there were likely already exhausted. As such, I imagine a lot of us (at least myself) just wanted a relatively low-key night to see and catch up with friends. I had had a busy and tiring day at work, which only exacerbated my malaise. I ended up only fighting one person that night, but otherwise had a good time talking with people.
It also really bothered me that people who weren’t even there commented on how there was “no excuse” for lack of courtesy. To me it felt dismissive of one side, not even considering that there might have been extrenuating circumstances. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m am NOT trying to imply in any way that the original person’s comments or feelings were not valid. I guess what bothers me most is they very well might be right on the money.
The group of people I hang out with have in the past had a reputation for being standoffish, so issues like this are a bit sensitive. Could we have been more welcoming? Yes, probably. But as a group of largely introverts, that can be tough for us on the best of days. And last practice was defintely not that. It makes me sad that I might have in any way contributed to someone feeling left out; being something of a social outcast myself, I know that pain all too well.
I know (or at least hope) the comments about that practice weren’t directed at me personally. But I can’t help but take them slightly personally, as I’m sure there was something I could have done at the time to make it better. And if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s beating myself up over “I should have…” But it sounds like it ended up a perfect storm of neglect, awkwardness, and not feeling social.
EDIT: I just realized I went through all that without apologizing about my role in the incident. Anyway, I’m sorry. I truly am.