It sounded familiar… Hollywood and football

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As you probably already know, this week Terry Dresbach and her husband Ron Moore sat down for a live tweet with fans. They were ready to celebrate the monumental task of bringing Outlander to life and they wanted to share their joy in accomplishment with the fans.  Many fans were ready to share in their joy and accomplishment, but some…not so much. There were folks who evidently saw this as their opportunity to air grievances.  And,…they did. I didn’t know this was happening until hours afterward. A Twitter friend told me to go check it out. The complaining I saw there was at the least opportunistic (I’d never seen some of these folks tweet Terry before and I’ve been around awhile) and most certainly rude in tone.  I’m not sure how anyone male or female could be expecting their opinions to be taken seriously when couched in such a way.  It is tough to have respectful discourse when you are being attacked.

Terry has gone on record saying that she is fine and it is to be expected, but she hadn’t really seen this behavior in this particular fandom before. She said she was aware there was some grumbling about certain issues with the show and cast, but none of it had been expressed directly to her.

I’m told what started in the live tweet didn’t stop once the session ended. The door was cracked open and then flung wide by fans who seemingly smelled blood in the water. Terry got tweets all day, night and into the next day.

Upon reflection, I realized this felt familiar to me. I’d been there. My husband wasn’t a Hollywood writer/producer, but he was a football coach. Now, don’t laugh, but I saw some real similarities between these two professions and what it was like to be a spouse to a man in a profession like Ron’s!  Like I said, it felt familiar.

The time, dedication and sacrifice

First, let’s talk about what it takes to be a football coach. Hours and hours and hours. Time spent recruiting. Time spent meeting. Time spent planning. Time spent practicing. Time spent promoting.Time spent mentoring his staff.  Time spent with academic administrators who truly didn’t understand what it took to run a quality program and then trying to convince them to give you what you needed to do the job right. Time spent making sure everyone has what they need to do their jobs and nurturing the program, so that the folks you brought with you continue to have jobs and opportunities to better themselves. Time spent with the players ( I swear at times I thought he was a counselor not a coach).  Time spent directing what happened on the field on game day and then… doing it all over again the next day. And, somewhere in all this find time to have a wife and family.

It wasn’t easy and I got pretty creative at finding ways to make the most of the time we had together. Looking in at our chosen lifestyle, an outsider might have thought the sacrifice wasn’t worth it, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  It was the price I paid for loving a special man. He was good at what he did and was truly making a difference in some young men’s lives. He was a role model in a world that sorely needed them. I’ve always been so proud of his passion, compassion and integrity.  He always did what was best for his athletes even when it wasn’t the most popular or easy thing to do.  He truly cared about the young men in his programs. So, when his talent, dedication and sacrifice wasn’t acknowledged or recognized it hurt.

Everybody is a critic and the misconceptions

My husband didn’t have millions of people watching how he coached and ran his program (but Ron does), but what he did have were stadiums full of people, very vocal FANS. People who saw the team as THEIR team. (sounding familiar yet?)

Despite years as a coach’s wife, I would still find myself caught off guard at times. I would be baffled that people couldn’t see what my husband was about and how lucky they were to have him coaching their kids. They just didn’t get it!  It seems everyone had their own ideas of how things should be done and they were convinced my husband wasn’t doing things right. Everyone knew better and everyone THOUGHT they knew what was going on. Several stories come to mind that illustrate my point.

For instance, in a particularly close game we were on the goal line and it was fourth down.  We needed a touchdown, not a field goal, to put us in the position to win.  It was a now or never situation. My husband called a time-out and gathered the boys on the sideline. From the stands, we all could see him yelling, pointing, getting up in the kids’ faces. The crowd began to boo, yell names at my husband, threaten to “kick his ass”, etc…  The boys went back on the the field and scored the needed touchdown.  We won and all seemed to be forgiven. Later that night, I asked him what he was saying to the boys on that sideline. “I was telling them I believed in them and pointing out how hard they had worked and how much they deserved to win. I told them them to go out there and do what I knew they could do”, he explained.

I often laugh that I would have loved to give some of these vocal FANS a taste of their own medicine!  There was one particularly vocal gentleman who stands out in my mind.  He was a local dairy farmer by profession.  I had created this little dream scenario where I would show up at his barn with a bullhorn, pull up a stool, and critique his milking. “You call that milking!? My 85 year-old grandmother could milk better than that!”  ” Can’t you see that the stream keeps hitting the pail in the same place?  My God! Tweak the teet on the left.”  etc.  I would then write about it in the paper the next day!  The headline would read FARMER BROWN CAN’T MILK! COMMUNITY WILL HAVE TO EAT THEIR CEREAL WITH WATER!  The article of course would contain unflattering pictures of him with his head near the cow’s butt and be full of comments taken out of context!

For the most part, I dealt with what I saw as unfair attacks on my husband with the grace he expected. In fact, I can really only remember saying something to  a fan one time and even then I thought I handled it pretty well.  Directly after a game, I had a parent come up to me and say she had a terrible time trying to enjoy the game because of a fan sitting beside her that just couldn’t keep from bad mouthing everyone! and she said she thought he might actually work for the college. She pointed him out in the stands and sure enough, it was one of the professors. Tamping down my need to rip him a new one, I climbed the stairs to confront him. “Hi!”, I said in the cheeriest voice I could manage.  ” I just had a parent tell me that a fan had ruined the game for them because that were talking so badly about the players and coaches. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be you!”  “I paid my five bucks” was his eloquent reply.  Over the years, I learned that this behavior was indeed to be expected.

My husband has retired from coaching, but the memories linger and I feel for Terry and the price she is paying for loving a special man.  She’s a hell of a lot tougher than I was and I applaud her efforts to continue to interact with and fully engage the fans. I don’t want to lecture, but just gently remind folks that these are real people with real feelings and just because you paid your “five bucks” it doesn’t mean you can’t be kind or respectful when you disagree.

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47 thoughts on “It sounded familiar… Hollywood and football

  1. Eleanor

    Beth, I was embarrassed by the behavior of so called fans….I sent a tweet to T and R expressing my appreciation for their hard work….and added that, of course, “everyone’s an expert”! Thank you for this post.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. This is great! I’d be willing to bet big money that all the nasty crabs out there have never had anything to do with a television production. They are criticizing something they know nothing about. The delicate balance of bringing a book (or book series) to life while producing a show that will ‘make it’ through several season in the current market. GoT is one of the most popular shows right now on television – even people that don’t watch it KNOW it. If Ron were to focus solely on the ‘love story’ of Jamie and Claire – which is what most of these people seem to want – it won’t last past the next book. While Jamie & Claire have a ‘romance’ and ‘love’ for the ages – just that isn’t enough to engage a viewing audience. Should it be? Maybe…..but even Romeo and Juliette had blood, gore and heartache.

  3. Lynne

    I am appalled that “so called” fans would fall on this production like a pack of wolves. This series has, by far, been the best book to TV adaptation I have seen in years. The casting, locations, costume design, screenplay adaptations, the directing and the overall “vision” of this whole production has brought exquisitely to life the full flavor of Diana Gabaldon’s novels. It is so sad that people just don’t understand the adaptation process and nit pick about this that or the other thing that was left out from the books, different from the books or whatever else they can find to be cruelly critical and complain about. I don’t have a twitter account, but I hope that all the positive comments make it back to Terry, Ron, the cast & full production. Kudos to you all for this masterpiece of artistic presentation.

  4. Susan Van Hoven

    Great analogy Beth. Sometimes I think that people go to the spouse to complain because they are intimidated by the person they are angry with. Maybe they imagine she or he will lobby for them which is implausible. At the very least they might think the spouse will ask the other to rectify the complaints so they’ll stop being bothered, equally implausible. Very immature thinking.

    Also I’ve never understood why people think that because they pay a user fee for a service, they have a say in what happens. There are shareholders investing so much more money who don’ t have that power. I used to work for a city and had residents tell me all the time that because they paid taxes they were my employers. I have an idea where this behavior comes from, but the end result is that the person threatening embarrasses themselves.

    I hope Terry knows how much the majority of fans love her and Ron, and support them.

    Human nature, ain’t it grand.

    • I have been known to have my issues with the production, but I HOPE my issues were never perceived as an attack or presented in a way meant to cause drama. I always TRY to be respectful.

  5. Once more, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Beth. It reminds me of something I heard not long ago in an interview with Brene Brown, author of “Daring Greatly”. She was horribly upset at criticism she was receiving for her work until someone pointed out that criticism from those who aren’t standing in the arena with you has no weight, it’s merely noise.
    I applaud Ron and Terry for daring to produce excellent work and remain true to the material in spite of the negative noise.

  6. Lisa Edwards

    Ya know what? To me everything in life comes down to this: Treat others as you would want to be treated. Just because these people are “different” in their way of life than we are, (meaning we fans that aren’t in the “business”) does not give anyone the authority to trash talk, be rude to, humiliate them, etc. Coming late to this Outlander party (I just started the books in March of this year and am on #5), I feel just so very lucky to be able to see the series and all of the people that are working so very hard to produce this for all of us. It is sad when people have to be reminded to treat each other w/respect and the Golden Rule. Very sad.

  7. Patricia Hare

    Bravo Beth! I too read some of those comments and was appalled! And, yep I have sat next to some of those know- it – alls from high school football games to the Buckeye games. I have even apologized to folks from visiting schools for those big- mouthed so-called fans. If you cannot say something nice or constructive, do not say anything at all. ( BTW, my husband has been a school superintendent and we have seen this too many times too.)
    Love the books which I am rereading now, loved the T V adaptation and appreciate the actors and crew for bringing another perspective to the story.
    As always, love to read your voice of reason amid the chaos.
    Patricia

      • Patricia

        Amazing isn’t it! Mine is retired and was elected to school board here. Same group of big- mouths,makes a lot of noise but you never see them working on a levy or showing up at a car wash. ( I guess we saw them at the ear pinning for the little boy and at the witch trial in the series.) good luck to you 🍀

  8. MarshaS

    Wow Beth, I had no idea this was going on towards Ron & Terry…I like you am shocked that Outlander fans are such experts in television and have better ways to present this wonderful set of stories from the books we have come to love!! I loved your own story presenting the crudeness with which people treat one another and it saddens me. I can only say that if Herself is happy about the presentation of her stories – and they are Her stories, then we as fans need to be ok with it..Someone else could have tried this with a movie and we all should now know how that would have turned out!! Bravo to you for bringing this ugly behavior into the light, shame on the so called fans and there should be some “major blocking” going on from Terry and Ron with their social media accounts…If you can call that “social “!!…Thanks again Beth😊

  9. Harriet Weber

    Beth, once again “spot on” and I appreciate your timely blog! Anyone who has ever been in leadership or own a business knows how difficult it is, and I am dismayed by our current culture in many ways – everyone has a “right” to do whatever they want to do, without the corresponding responsibility for their behavior. We are living in a very loud and uncivil world right now. I am sorry this happened for them and for all of us, as they are gracious and giving people. Their willingness to be open (such as Terry’s blogs) unfortunately puts them in a position of being targets. Let’s hope that many will listen to your message and think twice about how they express themselves. The comment about the Golden Rule above is one thing that would help in all aspects of life. Thank you for reminding us all of this!
    Harriet Weber

  10. Peigi

    Well put, as always, Beth. I cherish Ron and Terry as artists and as people, and I love all of the divergent opinions in the FanClan. But if you cant be civil, have a nice day …. somewhere else!

  11. L Mittan

    Well said!! I happen to be on Twitter at the time this was going on, and could not believe what I was seeing. Sad that something that should have been so special was turned into such a downer for them and others. Terry and Ron deserve our respect and thanks. Thank you Beth😊

  12. Absolutely well said!! I didn’t see the Twitter thing, but I heard about it. I’m sorry Terry and Ron had to go through that. I appreciate that they’re going to the trouble to bring some of my favorite books to life. I can’t expect everything to be the same as the book-what they have done is captured the magic Herself started with and have enhanced it.
    I appreciate and respect everything Ron and Terry have done and are doing!

  13. Karen Smiley

    Beth, Do you perhaps have an email address where I could share some thoughts on your marvelous blog, without it being in the comment section?

    Best regards Karen

  14. Katie

    Fantastic! There’s nothing wrong with respectful, healthy discussion that includes questions and criticism and Ron/Terry have both publicly stated many many times they support such discussions. But this was anything but healthy and respectful. No one has to agree with every decision made, but respect is always needed.

  15. Shelley Shackelford

    Thank you, from one football coach’s wife to another! How sad that T & R have poured their hearts into this production and so many have chosen to nit-pick and complain. I love the books, but I love the adaptation as well and appreciate how difficult it must be to do what they have done (and amazingly, I might add!) I look at the TV series as a bonus, and if DG is happy with what they’ve done with her “baby,” then we need to sit back and enjoy the ride!

  16. Denise

    A little late in reading this, but I agree with other comments! You are spot on…I caught wind of some of the Twitter comments as their session was ending, but I did chime in how much most of us appreciate their labor of love. The comments, and attitudes behind them, are sooo unnecessary! None of us knows what goes into producing a show on this level, and we have no right to question their decisions. I’m a fan of the books (since 1991) AND the show!! I’ve waited almost 25 years to SEE Jamie & Claire – and all the other characters that are a part of this epic story…. I’m beyond pleased with the series! BUT… if I didn’t like it, my option is to stop tuning in. This is just another form of online bullying (IMO). After pouring their heart, soul, and all waking hours into the show, it would be awesome if they could feel the love from all the fans – enough that it gives them all a reason to get out of bed and do it again! 💕💕💕

  17. Thank you Beth for something that had to be said. Unfortunately we mostly live in a “I want”society….and the way “I want”. We need to stop and think before running off with nasty actions which are extremely hurtful and unfortunately ….the moving finger writes and having written …..etc. etc. Please Beth do not forget us during Droughtlander. Your moving finger can keep on moving on.

  18. The saying you can only please half the people some of the time is too true…. Listening to loved ones get RAKED over the coals or myself getting praise & they get flack is HARD! You do your job, you take your hits, and yet it isn’t enough… Beth & Terry, you both deserve praise for being the better person and it is a tribute to you as women that you can stay lady-like (though I’m sure you want to scream!) Keep it up! You all have my support. 👏👍❤️😊

  19. Lovely show

    You nailed it with this post! The entitlement and the need to dictate, to hurt and put people down to feel high, mighty and pleased with themselves are the dark side of the fandoms. The personal nature of the creative process is ignored entirely. I come from another fandom, where the bullying by and between fans went very far. The people, who created the books and movies, had to withdraw entirely from the social media. Haters spread nasty rumors and send these to the celebrity sites. They troll, hack and even post personal details on Twitter, when they don’t like someone and want them to disappear from some boards. There are most amazing and most awful people in that fandom.

  20. chazak

    Well put! Simple graciousness, manners and empathy….it seems many do not practice these “virtues” on a day-to-day basis. Quite sad. Feel badly for those who create and then have it stepped on, so-to-speak. I’m sure that Terry and Ron know how to handle it, but that callous and rude behavior, whether in person or online, is just simply unacceptable! Whether you’ve “paid your five bucks” or not, how does anyone think that that type of behavior is allowable? A great and timely post, Beth…whether you’re a football coach, a co-producer, a counselor, HECK! just a HUMAN! Be nice or go home!

  21. Lesley Ferguson

    Beth, I’ve followed your blogs for sometime now and have always enjoyed them. I’ve never been compelled to comment before, but this is so distressing I felt obligated to do so. I’m a long time fan of the books (since 1991) My joy on learning of the TV series is matched by my absolute delight in the quality of the production and finally seeing my favorite characters come to life. At the age of 69, I became a “fan girl” for the first time in my life! Unfortunately it came at a time when bullying is made so much easier because of the anonymous nature of our social media. Thank you for your post and.the wonderful comments of your followers. It helps restore my faith in human kind.

  22. Elizabeth Wilson

    Thank you Beth for such an amazing blog and for bringing this to light to those of us who aren’t following Ron and Terry on social media. It is such a shame that so called fans of the show are behaving with such a lack of class!
    I personally thoroughly enjoyed the season (and your blogs). Granted that there were portions of the book that we might like to have been given more importance or portrayed in a different way, but this is the vision of the producers and writers within the constraints placed on them by Sony and Starz. The social media backlash shows no understanding of the difficulties that they face.
    Ron, Terry and Beth, you are appreciated and please keep on doing what you do best!

  23. I was saddened to read about the Twitter attacks. I don’t have a Twitter account so it was all second hand. The people involved in Outlander have been very generous with access to many areas of the production and they don’t really have to be so free.
    Someone, I don’t know who, said, all you owe the public is your best performance. We the fans of Outlander are getting a lot more.
    Thank you for your continued good will towards everyone. I can’t be easy sometimes.

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