Friday, March 15, 2013

Should Rejection be Personal?

Tell me what you think, because frankly, I think there was a better way to go about this.

My son tried out for the middle school baseball team. He didn’t make it. That’s okay. Disappointment is part of life. 

The tryouts lasted seven days. Yes, you read that correctly. No one is getting paid to be on this team. I don’t think, anyway. I’m not sure why it takes seven days to figure out who can hit, run, and catch, but that’s not the point here.

The point is he was told he didn’t make the team in a boiler plate rejection letter that was handed out at the end of the last day. I know the sting of receiving an impersonal rejection letter from editors and agents. Letters that start, Dear Author, thanks, but no thanks. I put my blood sweat and tears into my work and it hurts to get a rejection letter that a cold blooded zombie could’ve written. These boys put their backs into those tryouts. Didn’t their effort afford them a little more than a form letter from teachers that walk the halls of the school amongst the rejected everyday?

Have we become a society void of personal contact? Has the land of Twitter and Facebook enticed us to believe the impersonal is appropriate no matter the message? Have we lost all sense of kindness because it is easier to type the message than look someone in the eye and have to feel uncomfortable delivering bad news? Or are we just plain lazy? It’s too much work to talk, to muster up a smile when you don’t feel like it, to shake the hand of a young boy and say, good try, but here’s where you need to improve. What’s next? Rejection via text message?

I say shame on those coaches for taking the easy way out. They would have taught the boys who didn’t make it far more about life by looking them in the eye and delivering the news than what they will ever teach on the baseball field.


  1. Interesting situation, Stacey. Not sure how many boys tried out for the team--a school team, I gather, as opposed to a merchant-sponsored little league team? All the kids make it to those, right? I don't remember any more. :(

    At the risk of playing a devil's advocate, I'm wondering what the time constraints are of the coach(es) involved. I suppose he/they could have gotten the group of boys not chosen and give them a supportive talk. And since they tried out for seven days, I'm thinking the coaches took their time looking at the individual skills and could have commented on strengths/weaknesses, especially if the group of hopefuls wasn't terribly big.

    IDK, many factors to consider I guess. (Maybe that's why I never get anything done, lol.)

    Always a pleasure seeing you! Happy writing and ttys!

  2. Thanks, Joanne! Its always great to hear from you and see you too! You are right, many factors to consider. How many boys didn't make it? I happen to know, 12. In this case, it wouldn't have killed the coaches to take a few extra minutes to say the words, sorry, you didn't make it. They didn't have to give a 15 minute critique. After 7 days of hard work, I think the boys deserved a personal response.Just my opinion. Not worth much! ha!