A Lesson in Compassion and Empathy
A few days ago, I attended a meeting preparing for the start of our upcoming bowling season next month. In retrospect, this gathering was a lesson in understanding, compassion and empathy. I have seriously reflected on the conversation of this meeting since then, and it continues to weigh heavily on me.
In the fall and winter, I bowl with a diverse group of ladies who, for the most part, are a great group of gals. Undoubtedly in most, if not all groups of people, you will observe the whole spectrum of personalities, opinions and behavior. A few nights ago, I perceived just that more than ever. Some wore masks, some didn’t. Admittedly, I was among those who foolishly didn’t, although I carried one in with me. Great protection, huh?
Our discussion included sponsors, sanction fees, weekly bowling payments, pin money; all pertinent topics for our ladies’ bowling league. Also discussed was our chronic problem of the lack of filling all our teams up. We should have four ladies per team, but have struggled for years to do so. Some teams are complete with four ladies and some, as my own, have only three. In fact, in prior years my partner and I had played with only the two of us, the other two positions were “vacant” and had assigned handicaps. All this is to clarify the lack of players in our league.
Perhaps the most important topic was wearing masks during bowling…or not. Undeniably, it would be difficult to socially distance during bowling. Think about it. One member, representing her team, explained that one woman on the team was at increased risk, and requested that everyone wear a mask as protection and out of respect for her health issues. I certainly understood and gladly planned to comply with that request. However, another woman boldly (and I perceived angrily) stated, leaving no doubt regarding her position, that at her business she refused to erect a plexiglass screen nor did she wear a mask, and apparently had no intention to do so in the future. So sad, when you reflect on the possible consequences, not to mention the resulting resentments this has and will trigger.
So, there we were. A total lack of flexibility of one person sacrificed four additional – valuable and always precious – members. But wait just a minute! When I say “one person”, perhaps it is unwise of me to assume (that darn “a” word!). That does not take into account how many others may have been of the same opinion, however, no one spoke up to agree…or disagree.
We should be able to, as a group, have had a peaceful conversation regarding this significant issue affecting the entire group. Observing an interesting conversation between some of the gals outside the building following the meeting, there appeared to be varied and conflicting stated opinions there also with some scenarios being questioned and discussed. Shame on us for originally being too intimidated to stand up with confidence and state our opinions!
I was saddened that the day after this meeting, we received an email informing us that the “at risk” team was compelled to drop out, at least for this year. There was no reason given. I am only assuming (again, with that “a” word) that I know the cause, but I do have to say that I rely on those strong intuitive “nudges”. My intuition also tells me that it would have been a difficult task to maintain a rational, quiet discussion. We’ll see how our first night of play goes, along with the continued discussion. <sigh>