Along with some great compliments and positive e-mails, I do get my share on dumb replies from people. The latest came from a gentlemen from Pittsburgh named John. Here’s the printable part of what he had to say to me:
“You been chickified bro. Go back to sports. You did a great job there and acquire some guts.”
Normally, I would just read and ignore it, but believe it or not, Mr. Bednar brings up an interesting point. The gist of his e-mail is basically saying that somehow being open and honest about your feelings and emotions is a “chick” thing and makes you less of a man. That somehow by moving to news and covering stories that aren’t about on-field conquests by athletes has taken away my “guts”.
I think you can guess what my response to this premise is.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, be able to express your feelings makes you more of a man than hiding them. For years, men were always taught never to cry and never to show that you do have emotions. I subscribed to that for years and during my high school years, believe it or not, I was a bully. I used to beat up kids if I thought they looked at me the wrong way. I would never cry if someone said something to upset me. Instead, I would answer with my fists.
But that all changed when I got to be a senior in high school .. and wouldn’t you know it was a woman who got me to change my evil ways. My first real high school girlfriend caused to begin to look at myself very differently. We broke up before my senior prom, but the lessons I learned from her stay with me.
Today, I’m very proud that personality covers a range of emotions — from being a tough guy to being a more sensitive person. If anything, I think that is what being a man is all about. Knowing that if the moment calls for it I could drop the gloves and fight or, if the situation dictates, being a caring and concerned person.
John, I would ask you to acquire “some guts” and open yourself up to a world where you don’t have to hide who you are. Hey bro, you can be a man without having to be “macho”. I managed to do it in sports for years .. and now, I’m doing it in news.