Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hopeful Fool

I posted this in response to a post by Otis over on Up for Poker about his concern with the next generation and what that means to all of us in general and also what it means to the poker world:

"I work for a local YMCA and deal with kids of all ages and some days I worry. I worry because I also get to know the parents and I realize it is more than the next generation, it's every one. It's the level of entitlement that concerns me most.

I also get to meet some great kids that I actually enjoy their company and am happy to have made their acquaintance and seen them grow in to decent young adults. They are out there and it gives me hope, it keeps me coming back to work every day."

There are good and bad people in any field of work and you can become an angry old man and shake you fist at the young whippersnappers out there and dream of days gone past when everyone tip their hats and said good day to you as they past you on the street. Then again you can realize that there has been assholes in every generation that will do whatever they need to to further their cause good, bad or other. What does concern me is this sense that they deserve it just because they want it. I have kids come up to me at work and ask me for a dollar so the can get a snack from the vending machine. This isn't because they are poor, it's just because they want it and want it now and when I tell them to get over it I am the one in the wrong because I didn't just give them what they wanted. This is just one of the hundred of examples of what I encounter. Then I meet the parents of these kids and it all becomes very clear. I could get into the sociology and psychology of all this, I am sure there are others out there who can explain it better than me, but my theory has to do with the Boomer generation, infertility treatments, nannies and McMansions (but that is post for another day).

I also have met some amazing kids that I have had the honor of seeing growing into very nice young adults. It gives me hope and if I really think about it there are more of them out there. They go unnoticed because they don't need the attention, they're getting it elsewhere and in a positive way. We all do focus on the negative because it is usually the most obvious but we all should take the time and give the attention that the good deserves.

In poker you have to have a certain amount of arrogance to be successful at the tables. You have to, at some point, make people believe that you are better than them. There is a way to do that with respect and dignity that allows players you have felted retain some self respect and have them still want to play with you because you are a decent person not because they want to seek revenge. I tend to give respect to people at the table and away from the table that don't ask or demand but deserve. Every person deserves a certain level of respect until they prove otherwise. Even if someone doesn't deserve respect I tend to be the type that will give them more than they deserve and that is what being a decent human being,even when you are surrounded by a bunch of animals, is all about.

We can all feel that there is no hope for all of us because the next generation doesn't understand what it is all about. This has been going on as long as there has been more than one generation on this planet. What really disturbs me is seeing grow adults acting this way. I feel most of this "me" attitude goes away what with age but the ones that still persist into middle age scare me the most. We all went through fazes in life that we can look back at an say we were assholes and it's the fact that we can is a sign that we have grown and learned what was needed. I think most of these young guns that are at the table disrespecting the game and the people that play it will go away, go broke or give up. Some will learn and be complaining about the young guys coming up a decade after them. Then again some will be successful and become Phil Hellmuth and will be booed when after winning a record setting 11 bracelets at the WSOP. Just like there is only one Hellmuth out there and many other players that give and receive respect, there are more regular people out there that are give more than don't. So I guess I may be perceived as a hopeful fool but so be it I can live with it and it allows me to face each day instead of becoming a hermit living in a cave.

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