Abby's Road: Playing offense and defense

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I am so angry at you.

I want to know who you think you are. I want to know where you work, and whether you live in your parents’ basement, and why you don’t know the basic rules of grammar.

I wonder why you make time in your life for being callous and inflammatory. I wonder what you would do if I forced you to put down your phone and say out loud, staring face-to-face, what you poorly articulated in writing. I wonder how your behavior makes you feel.

I day-dream arguments with you. I have retorts drawn up in my head. I can see myself pointing my finger at you, leaning forward, my face flushed.

You have changed the way I feel about all of this. I used to love it. Now I feel tentative, like I have to be careful about how I approach. You might be there, with a biting remark or a word I know is mean even though you spelled it wrong.

I’ve felt this way because of you for a while. I don’t read certain articles or watch certain shows. I try not to look at comment threads.

That makes me even angrier. I’ve given you the upper hand. I’ve acted as though you might be right. You aren’t right, though. You’re wrong, in so many ways.

You call yourself a fan, but all I see you do is condemn. You find a target, and you unload. You don’t cheer, you hate.

And yet I suspect that if he walked by, you’d ask for his autograph. If you saw him at a restaurant, you’d take a picture of him without any subtlety. If he threw you a game ball, you’d put it on your mantelpiece.

So what are you?

Do you remember when they posted on the team website the picture of the little boy wearing the jersey? That was my son. He was wearing the jersey because the man behind it is a football player, but also because he’s his uncle. He loves the uncle first, the football player second.

You called my son ugly. I presume that was because of the jersey he was wearing. You used a 4-year-old as a vehicle for expressing your frustration at the way his uncle has been playing.

You unleashed direct criticism as well, though. You wrote that he plays like a girl, which I think you meant as an insult. You proclaimed that he is overpaid. You publicly messaged my sister and urged her to convince him to retire.

I am so glad my son is too young to know how to read. I am so sorry I made the mistake of letting myself read it instead. I spent so much time obsessing over how to make you stop.

He and my sister don’t need my help. They’re smarter, stronger and more seasoned than me, and than you. In fact, they most likely deal with you by ignoring you.

That leaves just the two of us. You and me. You’re spending energy on them, I’m spending energy on you. We’re both pretending we are of some consequence here. We aren’t. We’re completely irrelevant.

I don’t know a lot about you, but I know this: You don’t play professional football. You don’t own a football team, or coach one. You don’t know my sister or my brother-in-law.

What you say, or think, or want does not matter. He will not wake up early tomorrow morning to study a book of plays you have drafted. He will not do conditioning measured by your stopwatch. She will not base dinnertime conversation on your suggestions.

And you don’t know me. You’d only want to because of my access to them. I will convince you of nothing.

We exist nowhere but on the outside. Our duel would be limited to mentions on social media. All it would take is a thumb and a scroll to dismiss us.

You can keep pretending otherwise. I don’t want to anymore. I’m going to let go of being angry at you by letting go of you.

If you need to find me, I’ll be with the fans, cheering.

Abby Diaz grew up in Falmouth and lives there again, because that’s how life works. She blogs at Follow Abby on Twitter: @AbbyDiaz1.