Baseball legend Babe Ruth once said, “the loudest boos always come from the cheapest seats.” Those seats are occupied by the best of the best at critiquing others. They are miserable people whose game plan is to drag everyone else into the abyss of misery they dwell in.
I love sports, I love developing young athletes even more. The first twenty or so years of my life, I spent participating in sports. Twenty-four years of my adult life have been coaching baseball, football, basketball, and/or wrestling. All of my life, I have been a collegiate and professional sports fan. I have been booed on the playing field and booed at others from the cheapest seats.
In this post, we will explore five key characteristics of those who sit in the cheapest seats. No need to fret, there is hope in the end!
There is a newer cheapest seat, via free social media platforms. I list them first because they are all encompassing of the other characteristics we will cover. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are all inexpensive seats for Haters to plant themselves in.
These keyboard warriors filled my feeds full this past Saturday. People that I personally know had little to no athletic talent or have never coached a day in their life providing criticism of athletes in their late teens/early twenties. Athletes that are performing at the highest levels, in the most elite competition, on the biggest stages. Sadly, the emergence of social media has given these people a megaphone from the cheapest seats.
In life and leadership, check your feed, you will find keyboard warriors in the cheapest seats.
Those sitting in the cheapest seats have a distinct advantage on those of us in the game of life and leadership. They have the keen ability to evaluate a decision after knowing the outcome. They are simply…second guessers. When I called plays in football as a coach, the intent was to get positive yardage. An outcome with positive yardage was supported by those sitting in the cheapest seats, but when we lost yardage…off the bench they came!
It’s such an easy Vantage Point to operate from for second guessers. If we could peer into the future and see the results of our decision(s), it would revolutionize the decision-making process. Our decisions in life and leadership would be as flawless as those in the cheapest seats expect them to be.
The seat holders have a unique talent, they can identify each and every fault of those making the decisions. Their index finger naturally points in the direction of those they assume to be responsible. The coach, the play caller, the line up maker, etc.
In the world of life and leadership, fault finders are abundant. Finding fault supersedes solution driven. Those in the cheapest seats would much rather tear down than build up. Their chosen tool to cause destruction is faultfinding.
Mean and Nasty
In the post, Mean and Nasty People, I share the story about a seven-year-old football game. That night, I was exposed to some of the harshest people in the cheapest seats. Over a youth football game! I coached youth football for twenty-one seasons and that evening was the single worst experience of my coaching career. I was twenty-four years old, volunteering my time, no child on the team, and was seriously considering whether the effort to volunteer was worth pursuing ever again.
Cheap seaters are harsh. Their choice of weapons, words and tactics. They are negative people, who work to impose their nastiness on those sitting around them. They yell, they scream, and they demean. These people can infect our lives and organizational culture like a virus.
Those in the cheap seats have to boo the loudest, because they are the furthest away from the action. They have to resort to distracting tactics to get those on the field of play’s attention. Drawing attention to themselves gives them a platform to critique from. They are silent amongst the cheers, but loudest amongst the jeers.
It is the objective of distractors to get our minds off the gameplan and onto them. We find these people throughout life and leadership. They desire us to lose focus, take our eye off the ball, so that we swing and miss.
Honestly, I can struggle with those in the cheapest seats. These crowds can be some of the most discouraging people we will ever deal with in life and leadership. They can wear you down and want to make you throw in the towel.
We won’t find your future leaders in the cheap seats, we won’t find your friends in the cheap seats, and we certainly won’t find those who have your back there.
But…here is some good news. Leadership guru John Maxwell says, “When you are getting kicked in the rear, you know you are out front.” Dealing with the boos from the cheapest seats comes with the territory of life and leadership.
The most important people in the arena of life and leadership are in the game, not sitting in the cheapest seats. Never forget that.