Talkin’ Trash

There is a brouhaha brewing over some trash talk attributed to the Celtics’ Kevin Garnet. Former Raptor and current Detroit Piston, Charlie Villanueva, who suffers from alopecia universalis, a skin disorder, claims that Garnet called him “a cancer patient” during a recent game. While the Celtics star denies the charge, he did release this statement: “I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night. My comment to Charlie Villaneueva was in fact, ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league’.”

You can make your own judgment on this, but if I were a betting man, my money would be on the guy with the shorter sentence. Beyond this, though I’ve never understood the impulse to talk trash; it just seems so completely counter-productive. Surely calling someone a name or questioning his manhood does nothing other than rile him up, and that would seem to be the last thing a competitor would want to do.

I cringe when fans chant “scoreboard” or “over-rated” at the opposition for the very same reason.

There are, of course, more important reasons for refraining from this kind of behaviour – whether it’s the Golden Rule, the Code of the Gentleman, or the basic human impulse towards decency. But if these, more lofty rationales don’t resonate, you’d think we’d all just agree that taunting is beyond bad manners.

The next time your team wins a big game, you might be tempted to join in on a rousing chorus of “Kiss Him Good Bye.” But I’d think twice before stretching my vocal chords. That team getting on the bus will be back some day. And on that great day, there may be a different song to be sung.


4 thoughts on “Talkin’ Trash

  1. Trash talking can also discourage audiences from wanting to attend sporting events. With grandparents and parents attending the recent Varsity Volleyball finals, I was cringing to hear the verbally abusive and bullying comments from the home team supporters. Rather than cheering for their own team on a point well played, chanted comments directed to ours such as “it’s your fault” , or “where’s the meat?” (to a slightly built player), greatly diminished the whole audience experience.
    I would never bring a grandparent to a game at that school again.

  2. Jim your trash talking blog brought to mind a memory that sticks with me to this day. I had been a non-violent believer since childhood pretty much stemming I think from the stoic experience of tolerating my brother’s abuse after I had to join his bedroom, following my sister’s entry into the family in 1967. Once when I fought back, my usuaully gentle Dad came up with his belt and laid into my brother who had the look after, like he he hated me. After that I decided to ingore his angry outbursts, not wanting a repeat of the monster coming out in our Dad. Anyway, looking back, I think I started then developing my philosophy that fighting doesn’t bring on positive conequences, though some of the students I counsel in school disagree.

    There was a Prep-O’Hara football game at Villanova’s stadium in 75 or 76. I was getting ito my car with Sean Buckley, and I heard these 2 guys in the distance yelling, “Prep faggots!” to no one in particular after the loss of their team. So I called back,” Hey pal, who won the game?” Evidence of the lack of wisdom in throwing gasoline on the start of a verbal “fire.” So sure enough, they came running toward my car. Responding ito the flight or flight instinct, I decided to get the heck outa there, avoiding this stupid physical conflict that would be surely ensuing. So we did, and it’s one of those incidents from my youth that is mixed with a lttle macho shame, and the reflecting back of, that was the probably the wisest thing to do. For as I think what might have happened, if we stood and took on these angry fans, it could have been real ugly. I heard of an incident with 2 hockey dads in a parking lot in Massachusetts, where one of them was killed in the fight after the game. So one lesson here really is, if I hadn’t responded to the “trash talkiing”, there would have been no potential fight. I say all the time in my work, if we don’t fuel the fire it will go out.

  3. Trash-talking is part of the mental side of the game. An athlete has to be perceptive enough to know when it will 1) work in his favor and cause an opponent to break down and second guess himself or 2) work against him and only serve to wake the proverbial sleeping giant.

    It’s definitely not in all cases something that’s going to come back to bite you in a rematch. It can rattle and create a lack of belief etc.

    Obviously Garnett crossed the line with his choice of words in this instance of trash-talking. But to a certain extent, trash-talking is part of the Code of the Sportsman.

  4. I love your blog!…you need to write a book on your ‘Best Advice’..every week I am inspired by your words. I read it to my son, Brodey(who is in SK) then explain what it is about.. I will be excited when he tells me not to explain it one day because he gets it.. you are clearly insightful and a great communicator. What an amazing role model you are for the boys!

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