The guilt trip player. Let’s shorten that to GTP. The GTP plays on an athlete’s sense of fairness. The GTP knows their opponent wants to be perceived as fair. GTP takes advantage of that. Phrases like “If that is the way you are going to play…” or “I can’t believe you thought that shot was good” or “Are you going to take that call?” are some examples.
GTP sets off a chain of thoughts in their opponent’s head.
“Gosh I hope they do not think I cheat.”
“Gee whilikers, I thought I got to the ball.”
“I hope the crowd likes me.”
“I respect my opponent, I do not want them to think I cheat.”
GTP knows if they can get the responses above, they can “steal” a few points while the opponent dwells on their “facebook like” mentality.
Of course it is simple to say to someone, “Don’t listen to that.” but it is all but impossible. Experienced players usually go by this rule.
1. I know it was good therefore the call stands.
2. I know it was not good, therefore we will replay it or I will overturn it.
3. I am not sure if it was good or bad so I will let the ref’s call stand.
4. I am not sure if it was good or bad but I am friends with my opponent and they have been fair to me so we will replay it.
5. I know it was not good but GTP, I am taking it because I want to win.
#5 is not only unethical, it is impervious to GTP. 1-4 elicits doubt from the fair-minded player.
So the moral of this? I tell my athletes I cannot legislate your moral compass. That is for you and your God. Do what is right in your mind. Usually I have an idea of what is right or wrong but this game moves so fast, there often is not a clear unanimous conclusion by players or refs or fans.
As Spike would say, “Do the Right Thing!”
And prepare for GTP!