About five years ago, I played league tennis for a “private” club. The league included three other private clubs and four public teams who played out of the various parks. I put the word “private” in quotations because anybody can join. If you are under 30, your $500 initiation fee is waved. Meanwhile, you didn’t need letters of recommendations from existing members to vouch for you. If you are willing to pay $150 a month you were in!
Folks who love tennis and make more than $35,000+ a year will likely find $150 a month to be a palatable expense. Tennis is a way of life for many. The club has 10+ courts, a gym, a pool, and a hot tub. Being part of the tennis club was really no big deal, especially since plenty of people blow much more than $150 a month on a car payment, food, entertainment or alcohol! It’s all about your individual priorities.
We hosted a public team at our club one sunny Saturday afternoon. One of the opposing team’s spectators was a heckler who insulted our player’s outfits and told the women in the stands to shut up.
“Nice vest you got there,” and “Stop yapping away,” were repetitive phrases the heckler would blurt out during and between points. He was annoying as hell.
During one particular point, my team called a close ball out. The opposing team started screaming, “No way!” and of course, the heckler joined in the fray.
“You guys are a bunch of liars!” he said.
One opponent then added, “Can’t you just be honest? I thought this was a respectful establishment?”
The jabs and insults kept coming like the wild screams of chickens evading a butcher.
READY TO RUMBLE FOR OUR HONOR
At one point, the majority of their 25 person crew started to shout insults back at each other until the heckler started physically threatening a 62 year old woman spectator of ours. I had enough and got my racket and began to charge with my doubles partner who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and 230 pounds. The heckler immediately started to back off after I raised my racket and told him to get the hell out of the club before I smash his face in with my racket for threatening my 62 year old friend.
The heckler continued to jabber at us as he walked away, hurling one last insult. “I’m a lawyer and I will sue you!” to which someone replied, “Go ahead you prick, we have a team of lawyers right here who will bury you.” Now that’s arrogance!
Because we were a private club, and because they had lost the match 0-5, our opponents viewed us as arrogant tennis players who weren’t true fans of the game. It was amazing how they didn’t even give us a chance to get to know them. We even provided food and beverages for them so we could all chat afterward.
A year later, I decided to drop my membership because I could never get a court after work. It got to the point where members would form court booking teams and alternate logging onto the system at 7am to get a 5:15pm or 6:30pm court time. Frustrated, I joined another club where the initiation fee costs $10,000, but courts were always available to play for hours at a time. Besides, the club had tons of free parking, a nice restaurant, great members, and is closer to my house.
I went to play a match at my old club when a couple of the members started giving me snide remarks for why I dropped them to join another club. They said things such as, “Thanks for gracing us with your presence, Sam!“, “How’s the high life treating you?” and so forth.
Funny how this very attitude by the public park players was frowned upon and now being displayed by the same club members a year later. I knew they were joking, but every joke has a meaning.
THERE IS NO ESCAPE
If you have more money or more success in any aspect of your life, you will always be viewed as arrogant by others who have less. No matter what comes out of your mouth or what you write, there is no escape from the bitterness of some people. Your detractors don’t see the countless hours you’ve put into your business, craft, or hobby. All they see is the end product that looks so easy to them, yet somehow they can’t replicate your work. Instead they complain.
Why do you think people with a lot of money end up just hanging out with each other? They just want to be themselves. When they talk about which car to buy, they don’t want to be viewed as snobs just because they prefer to drive a Mercedes Benz S-Class over a Toyota Avalon. To the rich, it’s just car that provides solid performance and ultimate safety for their family! But to those who cannot afford a $100,000 automobile, speaking of S-Class Mercedes smells of pompous arrogance.
Think about it. When was the last time you saw the rich protest against the poor? It’s always the poor, the unemployed, the underemployed, and students who rail against the rich. I’m empathetic to their causes, however their issues are a discussion for another post. The point is that the anger and contempt always seem to be one way – to those who have more.
Envy is a sad fact about human nature, which is why it’s always good to be the underdog. The people who take the easiest offense are the ones who are the most insecure. It’s better to walk in the shadows and do your own thing. Eventually, you’ll come to a point where you’re fed up with the criticism. You’ll no longer feel like you have to hide your successes. That is when the battle begins.
Readers, do you ever feel that you are unfairly cast as arrogant because you have more than others? If so, what is your response, and how do you go about fixing the situation if at all? Why can’t people stop stereotyping others and just give people a chance first? Is being viewed as arrogant and inevitability if you have more?
Note: I just finished up the regular season playing for a public park team. In competitive spirit, we enjoyed making fun of the private clubs and almost named ourselves, “No Club Dues”!