Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has dual degrees in music from Ohio State University.

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It’s become the most misused, and overused, word in modern culture, and usually because we don’t like it when we don’t get our way.  Some time with today’s feature to consider what actual ‘hate’ is, compared to a difference in opinion.

About three weeks ago I spent some time with a coach I know personally, whose team had won in surprise fashion the previous Friday.  At the time they were winless, and by his own admission most in the community didn’t have much hope for them at all.

“Yeah,”  he smiled, when I congratulated him on the win.  “That one was for all the ‘haters’.”

“Haters?”  I asked.  “You think people are haters…because they didn’t think you were going to win?”

“Well, what do you call it?”  he said.  “All I hear is a lot of negative crap.  Haters!”

“But you’re sure they’re haters – that they actually hate your team?”

He softened his stance.  His words took on a difference tone.

“Well, maybe ‘hate’ isn’t the right word.”  he relented.  “But you know what I mean.”

The problem is in this day…that a lot people don’t know what you mean when you throw the word ‘hate’ out there casually, like a catch-all when you don’t take the time, or give consideration, to better, or more accurate, expression.

Every day we’re bombarded from the media with terms like “hate crime”, “hate groups”, and other connotations relative to doing bodily harm to someone just because they’re different.  And there’s no need to be naive’.  There are people out there with legitimate hate issues…usually because someone is simply different – from a different background, culture, or political agenda.

The problem is, like the coach I talked with, the term is too often used out of context…relative to issues about which hate simply doesn’t exist.  But in this culture, with this media, and the growing mindset of people that believe that if your opinion is different you’re a ‘hater’…it’s gone too far.

If you have a Republican sign in your yard now you’re a hater.

If you write something unflattering you’re a hater.  Newspaper guys share that with me all the time.

For instance, if you use his name when Tommy drops a touchdown pass – even though a thousand other people see it in person – you’re a hater.

If you’re out of step with the progressive movement – if you believe that the country should not spend more than it has on those capable of making their own way…you’re a hater.

If you’ve spent your life working hard, saving, investing, and committing to your own personal security…and expect others to do the same…you’re a hater.

But that’s not so.  There are just others who take care of their own responsibilities because that’s how they were taught.  And there’s nothing wrong to expect that it’s normal behavior.

And it’s really not so when you apply that mindset to something as cut and dry as sports.  Repeat after me.  YOU’RE NOT A HATER WHEN YOU DON’T EXPECT SOMEONE TO WIN!

But this is the message, and the attitude we’re sharing with kids when you say things, even flippantly, “They didn’t believe we were good enough, so those people are haters.”

And if there’s another term of the day that’s as overused, and misused, as ‘hate’…it’s when we say, “We’re better than that.”  But obviously we’re not.  It’s just another convenient phrase when you don’t take the time to think.

We all condemn actual ‘hate’.  It’s ugly.  And we’re all in agreement that we should teach our young people to consider how the other half lives before we form an opinion.  So if you believe that…how inane is it to say that someone hates you because they have a different opinion?

How wrong is it to say it about a 0-3 football team?

Or when we know that true ‘hate’ might just be a minority emotion, and a small minority, at that?

Two things.

Learn to own it when your record speaks for itself.

And learn to own it when your record doesn’t reflect reality.

Those two points reflect a lot pertaining to those who view you differently.  But it has nothing to do…with ‘hate’!

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