If your arrest is seen on social media

This was posted on the Village of Fredonia Police Department’s Facebook page yesterday:

In anticipation of the possibility of illegal activities within the Village of Fredonia on the weekend of April 27 through the 29th, the Fredonia Police Department wants to make the community aware that Officers are now wearing body cameras to assist in documenting the events as they are occurring and we will be posting all arrests on our Facebook page for public viewing.

In addition, the judges are going to hold court throughout the evening and into the night so that all subjects arrested can be arraigned and subsequently held for bail. Anyone arrested who cannot post bail will be transported to Chautauqua County Jail in Mayville until they can secure bail.

If you are intending to attend a social event in the Village of Fredonia this weekend, we encourage you to obey the law. It would be unfortunate for future employers to see your arrest on social media.


Bradley C. Meyers
Chief of Police

Naturally, a press release like this generates a lot of buzz. I just don’t think it matters that much.

I do think we’re missing the bigger picture.

Two days ago I found out that an athlete I coach wants to be an equipment manager in a college athletic department when he graduates. He never misses a training session. He works hard. He does everything I ask. He’s a kind person. I encouraged him to go see Fredonia’s equipment manager to ask about an internship.

Before he went I stopped by the equipment room to talk to the manager. I raved about this athlete, telling the manager what a great person he his. He now has a good shot at getting the internship.

Here’s the bigger picture: reputations are always built slowly over time. Every interaction and every small choice can make you someone to hire. Or not.

Rarely does anyone build a reputation from one post to social media.

Yes, it would be unfortunate for future employers to see your arrest on social media. It’s much more unfortunate if you can’t see the bigger picture.


When you should quit your sport

I know athletes who’ve quit and come to regret it. I know athletes who’ve quit and knew immediately it was the right decision.

I’ve never been able to provide concrete advice for such a personal decision, but a story might help. This is a passage from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love:

“Many years ago, my uncle Nick went to see the eminent American writer Richard Ford give a talk at a bookstore in Washington, DC. During the Q&A after the reading, a middle-aged man in the audience stood up and said something like this:

‘Mr. Ford, you and I have much in common. Just like you, I have been writing short stories and novels my whole life. You and I are about the same age, from the same background, and we write about the same themes. The only difference is that you have become a celebrated man of letters, and I — despite decades of effort — have never been published. This is heartbreaking to me. My spirit has been crushed by all the rejection and disappointment. I wonder if you have any advice for me. But please, sir, whatever you do, don’t just tell me to persevere, because that’s the only thing people ever tell me to do, and hearing that only makes me feel worse.”

Now, I wasn’t there. And I don’t know Richard Ford personally. But according to my uncle, who is a good reporter, Ford replied, ‘Sir, I am sorry for your disappointment. Please believe me, I would never insult you by simply telling you to persevere. I can’t even imagine how discouraging that would be to hear, after all these years of rejection. In fact, I will tell you something else — something that may surprise you. I’m going to tell you to quit.’

The audience froze: What kind of encouragement was this?

Ford went on: ‘I say this to you only because writing is clearly bringing you no pleasure. It is only bringing you pain. Our time on earth is short and should be enjoyed. You should leave this dream behind and go find something else to do with your life. Travel, take up new hobbies, spend time with your family and friends, relax. But don’t write anymore, because it’s obviously killing you.’

There was a long silence.

Then Ford smiled and added, almost as an afterthought: ‘However, I will say this. If you happen to discover, after a few years away from writing, that you have found nothing that takes it’s place in your life — nothing that fascinates you, or moves you, or inspires you to the same degree that writing once did … well, then, sir, I’m afraid you will have no choice but to persevere.'”

The athletes I don’t like

There are no athletes I don’t like.

There are some that can be difficult. There are some that I don’t connect with naturally. If I were magically a 21-year-old college student again, there are some I wouldn’t be friends with. But no, there isn’t a single one I don’t like.

“Not likable” is a label the mind applies to another person. Has the label ever been helpful to completing the task at hand?

Here’s the point that’s often missed: you don’t need to be a coach to have this perspective.

The person next to you

“I was floored — I remember I was actually reading it on the subway on my smartphone — it was an article about a body of research that was showing how college students, because of their devices, had showed — I think it was almost a 40 percent drop in empathy. And it was because of just this simple thing. I mean, I’m sure there was more to it, but the most vivid example I saw that really resonated with me was, before you had the world at your fingertips, in your pocket, if you were sitting at a lunch table or waiting in line, and there was a pause in your conversation, you couldn’t just retreat into something that was deeply distracting and interesting. You would actually have to re-engage with the person next to you, look them in the eye and find something else to say, as awkward as that is.” ~ Heather McGhee, in conversation with Krista Tippett and Matt Kibbe

There’s a split-second delay after you open the Twitter app on your phone before you can see how many notifications you have. That delay is there on purpose.

It’s the same delay casinos program into slot machines. It’s the same delay that Facebook uses before you click on your notifications. It’s the same delay this blog uses when it makes me wait an extra second before my stats refresh.

It’s the same reason Netflix and Youtube automatically start loading the next video after you’ve watched the last one.

Making you wait creates a rush of anticipation, and that rush makes you want more of it. Every media company is in an arms race for your attention.

But the person sitting next to you may very well need your attention.

When you don’t get a text back

A good friend recently took two days to return my text message. It did not occur to me that he might be mad at me, that he doesn’t like me, or that he doesn’t care about me. He simply took a while to respond. Centuries ago, two days would have been considered rapid.

Last week a teenager told me she was frustrated because her friend didn’t return her text message for seven hours.

The need for immediate gratification is nearly ubiquitous today. Every app on your phone was made by a company trying to exploit it.

There’s just no evidence that it’s made your life any better.