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Think Twice

An important reminder

Middlesbrough v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship - Riverside Stadium Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Life is made up of opinions, everyone has one and everyone’s is different. Everyone you know has an opinion of you, and you have an opinion of everyone you know, and in some cases, don’t know.

Everyone is different in the way in which they receive these opinions, some take them very seriously, some don’t. This can vary from it being taken with a pinch of salt to serious mental health issues, and in some devastating circumstances, suicide.

Now, with no personal history of mental health issues, nor very luckily, any direct experience of a passing, I’m perhaps not best equipped to be giving my two pence on behalf of those who do, but this is my opinion, and whilst I am entitled to it, and to some extent, have the right to speak freely on the subject, as we all do, I’m not going to be careless with it, and neither should you.

Amongst every other individual profession which is overseen in some manner by the public, there is our football club, and everyone connected to it, subject to these opinions on a weekly, if not daily basis.

These opinions are supplied by a range of individuals from those closest to them, to people who they’ve never met in their lives. Whilst the majority of supporters like me and you create thoughtful & constructive opinions, with various (alarmingly) freely available social media platforms to do so, there is a minority who feel it acceptable to say whatever they like about these players, presuming it won’t matter because they’ll never have to say it to their faces.

Its pathetic that people feel this way given that, whether these often derogatory claims come from someone as close to them as friends or family in a light-hearted manner or a mindless fan, these opinions can often be taken to heart.

I often see our players and staff in the immediate aftermath of our home fixtures in particular. Whilst the majority are able or at least, on face value, seem visibly able to shrug off these negative thoughts, I’m sure there’s others who you’d never even know what they’re going through and perhaps can’t deal with the criticism as well as others can.

This should highlight why, whilst its not always visible to you that they’re struggling, if you see a player after a game or go to message them on social media, you should say ‘well played’ or ‘unlucky today’ or similar, whatever you wish, just as long as its not of an unnecessary nature.

There is a constant reminder of the importance of mental health in the game via MIND Charity who feature on the back of every league shirt within the player’s names and numbers which we should never ignore and if anything, pay more attention to it now than ever before.

You can remind yourselves of the great work MIND do to support the vulnerable here and I urge anyone with any current negative thoughts playing on their mind or anyone who you suspect to be in such a position to contact either MIND, the samaritans suicide hotline on 116 123 or even just someone close to you who you can speak to about it.

I assure you, they will not judge you, they are there to support you, be it a family member, friend or a fellow Wanderer, we’re all here for you. Just get in touch.

So please, whether we’ve won, lost or drawn, regardless of how you think that individual’s played or contributed to that game, be nice to them.

I’m sure you’ve seen the various quotes flying around social media last night and this morning so I won’t bore you with any more of them. I also trust you all have the common sense to know what to say in such a moment, I just simply ask you to take yourself out of that ‘heat of the moment’ mindset, calm down and then chat to them, whether it’s face to face, or on social media.

Whilst some will argue that the world’s gone PC mad and that we should be able to say whatever we want, I’m not for one minute saying you can’t have an opinion, just please think it through before you deliver whatever it is that you want to say.

It’s simply a matter of not being unnecessarily aggressive towards someone, who, for all you know, may just be having a bad day or worse still, already suffering from mental health issues. All it could take is one comment in bad taste to tip them over the edge.

Although it’s desperately sad to even think this is the case, it’s the reality of today’s society and that depression and suicidal thoughts are very very real.

In summary then, whilst this is aimed at a minority, I feel it needs to be said in order to remind and make anyone else aware who’s perhaps oblivious to what may or may not be going on behind the scenes in the players and the staff’s personal lives, to simply be respectful.

Please take this message into your weeks ahead. Treat not only the football club, but also your friends, work colleagues, teachers, lecturers and even new people entering your lives with the same respect as you would like yourself and your family to be rewarded with for getting through another day where others sadly haven’t.

Life’s precious, don’t take it for granted.

Think twice and be nice, please.