D0719 T1203 Y2006Open Letter From a Fighting Irishman

Every once in a while, the Constant Readership of ‘Tied the Leader’ shouts back from the black hole that is the blogosphere. It always warms the heart of this gamerblogger to know that someone out there cares. This week, a humble request for some advice of the Ministry of Sportsmanship comes from a young man whom we will call “Fighting Irishman”.

“Fighting Irishman” writes:
I’m a longtime reader of this blog and I love the new look. I’m turning 20 next month and I’m looking forward to next year when I can be a TTL Gunslinger, hopefully right after Halo 3 drops. I won’t waste any more of your time. The question I ask is for advice. You see, I always manage to cap every win or loss with a “Good Game”, but I have that Irish Temper, and if someone starts trash talking to me I can’t help but say something back. I’m worried this will keep me out of the TTL Gunslingers and I need advice on how to stop this behavior so in a year I’ll be ready to rock out with the rest of you. Thanks for your time.

“XerxdeeJ” replies:
No, no, no… Thanks for YOUR time. I am a longtime writer of this blog, and I had nothing to do with the new look; but I will pass on your props to the responsible parties. A discussion like this is the farthest thing from a waste of my time. I am glad that you asked. It’s why we are in business around here, lad!

The consistent practice of good sportsmanship on Xbox Live is like staying sober after a lifetime as a binge drinker. First of all, it is easier to accomplish if you surround yourself with others who hold the same goal. “One Day at a Time”, they say. Second of all, your boiling Irish blood will be your highest risk factor for falling off the high-horse of that wagon. This bloggergamer has forgotten more about the Irish Temper than anyone should ever hope to know. Oh yes, my Celtic Brother! Once upon a time, all it took was two whiskey shots and a sideways glance for me to be anyone’s partner in a shouting match. I feel much better now.

When it comes to Sportsmanship, the most important thing to remember is that you [and you alone] are in control of your game. When you allow your opponents to set the tone of the dialogue that flies across the post-game NeutralZone, you surrender your control to them. Then, they win. When they pull you away from your morals, the Moral Victory is theirs.

No matter how long your career as a gamer, you will never escape the fact that most of your opponents are going to take pleasure from pissing you off. For some, it is psychological warfare. For others, it is poor parentage. Comments about your Mother are always popular in those instances. There is also the paradox in which they will mock YOU for being “gay”, and then boast that THEY “raped” you – sometimes in the same breath. I never really understood that one, but I have better conundrums to ponder. We all do.

I would have to admit that I am not above the occasional toxic retort when our opponents fall short of respectability. If a game is host to an unbearable amount of trashtalking or [God forbid] cheating, I have been known to say something in the post-game lobby like: “This is the moment in which we usually say ‘Good Game’, but I am afraid that does not apply to you.” Then I back us out before things get ugly. Some of our Gunslingers, however, know nothing but the high-road. They speak their lesson true. To them, I say “Thankya”.

What’s more, it is surprising how you really can kill someone with kindness…

US: “Good Game…”
THEM: “Whatever, you guys suck.”
US: “Good Game…”
THEM: “Did you hear me? I said you got owned!”
US: “Good Game…”
THEM: “SHUT THE [blam] UP, YOU [blam]ING N00BS!
US: “Good Game.”
THEM: “Chest, hurts. Left arm, aches. Must get, help…”
US: “Good Game…”
THEM: [labored panting, then silence]

Stick to your guns. Play your game, Irishman. Don’t play theirs. Seek out like-minded allies with whom you can form a unified front against the bullshit chatter that emanates from online multiplayer gaming in all its forms.

While you are correct in your assumption that would-be Gunlingers [of the TTL variety] need be 21 years of age, you need not be that old to play with us, or against us. Get thee to the MidWorld Forum and make some friends in the Guest Book. I even made a new board just for you. We will be expecting you. Door is open.

UPDATE: Our “Fighting Irishman” has given me release to unmask him as DeadHead88. As a further bit of advice: Play more team games. Get out of the Rumble Pit a little more often. When everyone is your enemy, you can’t expect anyone to be your friend.

This is an issue that effects us all. Perhaps some other readers can share their favorite tactics for facing down a trash-talker.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Favorite Retorts 16

  1. #LINK D0719 T1236
    Redpsycho wrote...

    Somedays keeping to the high road is like going for a ride on the hood of your friends bronco. It sounds good but sometimes you fall and when you do it hurts bad. But everyone knows that it happens so it doesn’t bother them to much.

  2. #LINK D0719 T1245
    TTL Jericho wrote...

    First of all, don’t get the impression that we gunslingers are a bunch of Ghandis. Bad comments come from our lips from time to time when we forget to check our heads. But I have found the best tonic to the potty mouth is laughter. Seriously. Laugh. Tell them that’s the funniest thing you’ve ever heard. When they get pissed, laugh more.

    My other favorite tactic when they lob a weakl insult at me (usually something about my mother) is to say one of two things:

    1. Wow, did you stay up all night thinking up that insult all by yourself? Good Game and Good Job!

    2. My Mother’s dead.

  3. #LINK D0719 T1255
    A Large Bear wrote...

    I’m one of the biggest proponents of staying the course, taking the high road. This doesn’t mean, though, that I’m going to get too angry when you flip out. I’m used to it. I rarely degenerate into trash-talk, but I understand why it happens. And when it happens. In fact, I’m more likely to lash out angrily at a team mate who started trash talking than I am an opponent ;P

  4. #LINK D0719 T1302
    Cleanbeats wrote...

    You would really be surprised how, “Killing them with Kindness” really makes a difference. I find myself in alot of post game lobbies waiting for the standard “Raped”, “gay”,”Insert cutdown here”, comments and as in all post games I simply say “Good Game”. It is funny to see reactions turn and sometimes they even give me a Good Game back. It is almost like they are shocked that you would think a gaming experience with them would be good. They are looking to make it miserable for you, just don’t let them.

    Once you walk through the doors at Tied The Leader, you will be in good company. Win or lose, good game or bad. It’s always a good game from us.

  5. #LINK D0719 T1346
    Freddy Furious wrote...

    This brings to mind a story I was told during a martial arts class. This story is about
    O-Sensei Ueshiba Morihei: The Founder of Modern Aikido.

    On day a man came to O-sensei’s dojo, he came to challenge O-sensei’s art. This happened relatively frequently during his time as many practitioners of other more violent arts looked to prove his new art form was unreliable and unrealistic.

    It was during the formalities of bowing that this man bowed to O-sensei but O-sensei did not return the bow. Now, it is custom to only return upright from your bow once the higher-ranking practitioner finishes his or her bow. O-sensei did not bow because he sensed this man was going to attack him once he was looking down, this proved to be exactly the case and after a prolonged period of waiting for O-sensei to bow he realized that he had been discovered. He finished his bow and left to dojo.

    This is how I conduct myself in the post game lobby in the face of blind hatred. They can try their best to impose their will on me but I am above and beyond those years of my life and I’m not about to let some 15 year old kid break me down.

    Lastly you should consider this:
    a) You will more than likely never see this person on live again.
    b) Even if you do talk back, they will not change and you will only have defeated yourself for the next game.

  6. #LINK D0719 T1438
    Fezzer wrote...

    Tell them you hope they enjoy life when they are 30 years old and they are the asst manager of the night shift at McDonalds.

    Seriously though, if you do get mad and really don’t want to open you mouth because your don’t trust what will come out, just don’t say anything. It’s that simple. If they get you angry, you lose your game.
    I played double team with a friend and his tatic was to get the power weapons and to talk trash endlessly to the other team until they lost control. 9 times out of 10 the opponents would flip out and they started playing very, very poorly. If they had the lead, they would lose it. And the game usually ended in at least one of the opponents quitting.
    My friend used this strategy because, sadly, it worked extremely well.

    So the moral of the story, don’t let yourself get worked up because that’s when you start losing. I know this is much easier to say then do. There are times when Matchmaking just makes my blood boil. For those times I’m glad other Gunslingers are there help fill in the gaps when I start letting my playing ability get affected.

    That is all.

  7. #LINK D0720 T0809
    Sean (DaedHead88) wrote...

    Hey thanks for answering my question, there are definetly some friends I should delete off of my list due to excessive and needless trash talk. I do have one minor complaint however, and that is that you got my Xbox live gamertag wrong, Dead is spelled backwards, its not a typo. My REAL gamertag is DaedHead88, here are my stats:DaedHead88

    So I think its time I posted in a public place the reason behind my name, in the hopes that more people would remember it better. When I first got Halo 2 and Xbox Live, I wanted a new handle. My young teenage years of playing Counter Strike and Half Life online as DisasterChild8 were over, and I felt I had outgrown the name. I needed something unique and about me. I’m slightly dyslexic which means that sometimes when I’m reading I see words backwards or I say things order out of (sic). And I love the band The Greatful Dead. So I decided DaedHead looked cool. I tacked my trusty number 8 on the end and I was set. Then my first 2 month expired and I discoverd I couldn’t add on another 2 month, which sucked. So I signed up for a full year, tacked on another 8 and DaedHead88 was born.

  8. #LINK D0720 T1000
    Neil (Sax077) wrote...

    You said:”There is also the paradox in which they will mock YOU for being “gay”, and then boast that THEY “raped” you – sometimes in the same breath. I never really understood that one, but I have better conundrums to ponder.”

    I’ll help you out then. Rape isn’t sex, its an act of violence. Thus, a man could rape another man (like in a prison) and both the attacker and the rapist probably think of themselves as being straight (and they’re probably correct). Its not about sex, its about power.

  9. #LINK D0720 T1049
    Brendan (ComradePaddy) wrote...

    Hold on, I’m Irish…I like to fight…but I don’t talk trash. Not even in self-defence! Is there something wrong with my blood? Why isn’t it boiling? I want boiling blood!

  10. #LINK D0720 T1248
    CoB Velcro wrote...

    It can be tough “staying excellent” (as we BoBs say) to yourself and your fellow online players. I have found that it definitely helps playing with other people who value good sportsmanship and fair play. As you are already considering, join a clan with stated values that match your own, and make friends in other like-minded clans. When you start to see how strong-minded, positive players handle themselves in difficult situations, it strengthens your own resolve to rise above the fray.

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with muting people on the opposing team, or even in your own party. Minimzing any aggravating factors makes it a lot easier to keep it positive.

    Party on Dudes!

    CoB Velcro – Clan of Bobs

  11. #LINK D0720 T1303
    Adam the one wrote...

    wow guys, it’s just a game. who care’s if someone talks trash. It’s not like real life or anything. If you think this much about a game, you may need to get out more.

  12. #LINK D0720 T1334
    XerxdeeJ wrote...

    Ahhh, the constant wisdom of Adam The One.

    I get out every day, lad. And I am well aware that this is a game. I just happen to think that if anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

  13. #LINK D0720 T1349
    Jim wrote...

    Quite agreed. A little good-natured trash talk among friends is one thing, but destructive trash talk that results in flared tempers is quite another. It’s always a good idea to keep that sort of thing on a short leash, for everyone’s sake.

  14. #LINK D0720 T1637
    Anton P. Nym wrote...

    Indeed, it’s “just a game”; lots of us realise this.

    I just wonder why those who talk trash get worked up enough about “just a game” that running off their mouths is worth the effort. (Perhaps they’re the ones who need to get out and run off some of that adrenaline?)

    —Steve

  15. #LINK D0721 T0013
    A Large Bear wrote...

    I’m curious about the statement “It’s not like real life or anything”. Now from what I understand of the statement, he is saying that games are not ‘real life’. Now, games are recreation, so we can infer that all recreation is not ‘real life’. Which would make pastimes like sports, going to bars, having friends, and other such things also not ‘real life’. As far as I’m concerned, if it happens in my life, it’s real. Believe it or not, recreation can become a part of my life, and a part of yours. And I don’t want you shitting all over a part of my life through your mouth. It’s just one of those things.
    -Bear

  16. #LINK D0721 T0127
    YouDigress wrote...

    I like to play with my headset off and voice disabled. Although it defeats the purpose of a social gathering within Halo 2, it does wonders for my concentration.

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