Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Early in the game, the Fox cameras zoomed in on a sign from an Astros fan that said simply: WALK PUJOLS. Had they listened, the Astros would be resting up for the Series. Now they're headed back to St. Louis, staving off the demolition of Busch Stadium a bit longer. Baseball's greatest hitter popped a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for a 5-4 win. - - - - Someone told me this week that he'd read an article about how men, while often conversationally challenged, often have an advantage in starting conversations. Since most guys like sports (though certainly not all), men can walk into a room full of strangers and count on a default conversation about sports. Even if it's about a sport you don't get (NASCAR), you understand the passion. Women, on the other hand, have to search for a topic that works. Is that right? (And if it's right, why do you often see women so deeply engaged in conversations while guys are checking their watches?) - - - - Did others read the stuff that George Will has written about Harriet Miers? It was brutal. I would think after a few blasts from the left and lots of blasts from the right she'd be thinking, "It can't be worth this."


  • Unfortunately, and with all honesty, I think women use comparison to start conversations. It usually is a 1-upmanship as to who had the worst day, whose husband did the stupidest thing, etc. When we're DEEP in conversation, we're probably talking about YOU! (That means husbands!) I really believe some women have a hard time forming friendships because we're too busy comparing ourselves to each other all the time. I, for one, would love to stop that practice altogether! I commit myself to trying.

    As for baseball....I'm a Cubs fan, although I grew up on the south-side of Chicago, so all my family roots for the Sox. I live in central IL now, which is divided between Cubs & Cardinals fans. So...who do I root for if it's a Sox-Cards Series????? I have to go with the home team, I guess!!!

    By Blogger Beaner, at 10/18/2005 05:47:00 AM  

  • What a ninth inning! It was absolutely thrilling, from a pure baseball sense. I'll be you jumped through the ceiling!

    By Blogger Ed Harrell, at 10/18/2005 05:48:00 AM  

  • We have a lot of words. Just be thankful it's not always YOU (men) who have to be the recipients.

    I agree about poor Harriet Miers. What did she do to deserve all this!

    By Blogger Amy, at 10/18/2005 05:54:00 AM  

  • What is it about men and baseball?

    By Blogger Emily, at 10/18/2005 05:58:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Mike, at 10/18/2005 06:11:00 AM  

  • I just visited the sight for Mark and Laura Stewart and their son Tyler. They left instructions in the comments a couple days ago. Go to carepages.com. You'll need to enter Tyler99 when it asks for the patient you're wanting.

    Mark and Laura, Diane and I have spent many anxious days in children's hospitals. If you'd like to visit, please sent a phone # to my assistant at gina@highlandchurch.org and one of us will call you.


    By Blogger Mike, at 10/18/2005 06:12:00 AM  

  • The theological implications of the Angel's fall from grace and last night's dramatic deus ex machina should be apparent to all!

    By Blogger mike the eyeguy, at 10/18/2005 06:34:00 AM  

  • Talk about an incredible woman - check out this article in the NYT today


    By Blogger J A Pierpont, at 10/18/2005 07:12:00 AM  

  • What a game. I'm still trembling a bit this morning. That's gotta be up there with Gibson's shot in 88. It's almost scary that Albert is only 25 years old.

    (At least Berkman won Fox's Chevy Player of the Game... sorry that was mean.)

    Go Cards!

    By Blogger Glenn, at 10/18/2005 07:26:00 AM  

  • I agree with beaner - it's like we women are always playing Queen for a Day. I find the best way to start a conversation with a woman is with a compliment (I like your shoes!).

    Baseball - the evil empire will rule once more (just not this year).

    By Blogger Little Light, at 10/18/2005 07:41:00 AM  

  • Women generally are just hate that uncomfortable silence more than men. Men seem to not mind jiggling the change in their pockets and looking at the ceiling or the floor for longer periods of time.
    Perhaps women would talk less about random things if they carried their change in their pockets instead of their purse. Jiggling your purse looks too weird. (There's a scientific experiment for some middle school kid!)

    By Blogger Snapshot, at 10/18/2005 07:53:00 AM  

  • Women are at an advantage because of childbirth. I can walk into a room full of women I've never seen before and, within minutes, we'll be in an earnest discussion about our episiotomies. You don't see guys sitting around talking about their vasectomies. It's because men don't like to get as intimate as we do in our conversations. Sports is a safe subject for them. I, on the other hand, find it quite liberating to discuss mucous plugs with a stranger.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 10/18/2005 08:06:00 AM  

  • Oh -- and the only problem I have with Harriet Miers so far is her eyeliner. Somebody stop that woman!

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 10/18/2005 08:07:00 AM  

  • Seriously....my observations are limited mostly to two people--my wife and myself, but there are very distinct differences in conversational styles. I have been waiting in line at the grocery with her and have overheard the greatest discussions. Recent loss of a spouse, troubles with children, addictions, and on and on. How do women move from "I really like those shoes" to "I lost my husband a month ago and I am struggling" in only about 20 seconds? When she has traveled by herself, she always meets the most interesting people sitting beside her on the plane. When I travel frequently on business, I don't ever meet anyone, but I do routinely catch up on my reading (I guess it is not the airline computer that doesn't put interesting people next to me).
    At times I think it is just a manifestation of her training as a counselor, but then I remember that she talked deeply with strangers before she ever started grad school. We come home on Sunday afternoon, and she says, "didn't you think xyz seemed a little down this morning?", and my response is usually, "nope, didn't notice."
    I have observed very few deep conversations that were simply two or more women talking about their problem spouses. On the other hand, that does seem to be a frequent discussion among men.
    I think I have much to learn. Maybe this is why I am beginning to love hearing women pray in public; they seem to have open hearts to others and much to talk to God about. Our tradition has missed out for so long.

    By Blogger Leland & Jackie, at 10/18/2005 08:25:00 AM  

  • One of the oldest rules in baseball – Never, never let the other team’s best hitter have a chance to win the game with one swing! I had insomnia last night so I was sitting up watching the game. Between the two teams I was rooting for the Astros. I live in Cocoa, Florida which for years was the Astros spring training home. Nevertheless, when the Astros’ reliever walked the 2nd (Larry Walker had an outstanding at bat that resulted in the first walk) batter I knew something was afoot when Pujols came to bat.

    As far as conversation with men and women, let’s remember our basic ancient history. Guys, what are we in the tribe? The hunters. We don’t have time for long conversations. We’re trying to hunt down that wooly mammoth while looking out for the saber-tooth tiger stalking us. We’ll engage in a cave drawing or two but that’s about all the down time we get.

    Ladies, what is your function in the tribe? You’re back at the camp taking care of the kids and the crops. An environment conducive for long conversations about corn growing and child rearing.

    I would write more but I’m tired of “gathering” information.
    Hey, how about them “Bears?”

    By Blogger cwinwc, at 10/18/2005 08:54:00 AM  

  • You all can talk about conversational styles of the different genders...I don't have time, in my home town of St. Louis we are talking about Sir Albert (alias THE NATURAL). I was in Abilene this weekend and didn't see many Cardinal fans, are they having to hide in the closet? We'll see what Oswalt and Clements have for us. What an exciting 9th inning!

    By Blogger steve awtrey, at 10/18/2005 08:55:00 AM  

  • I tend to agree with Deanna about Harriet's eyeliner. I have looked closely and my take is she has had it tatooed on.

    Also, I want to take a comb and brush and fluff her hair just a tad.

    Who says us women only talk about our husbands?

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 10/18/2005 11:34:00 AM  

  • I don't mean to be argumentative, but really don't you know men who can talk to anyone about anything and women who struggle to have a deep conversation?

    I am the woman who struggles, I don't open up easily and I do talk a lot about sports. I get tired of everything coming down to gender. Not that I am not proud to be a woman, but hey, I am NOT just like every other woman.

    **I was so glad I stayed up to see that homerun, as I said somewhere else, that was deafening silence**

    By Blogger DJG, at 10/18/2005 11:41:00 AM  

  • Pujols came through when he was supposed to but without that spunky littl guy who gives it his ALL every play he would not have had the chance.

    We could all learn a lot from David Eckstein.

    By Blogger TCS, at 10/18/2005 11:44:00 AM  

  • I'm speechless, tearful and hopeful.
    'nuff said.

    How's that for a short atypical womanly conversation?? ;o)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 10/18/2005 04:08:00 PM  

  • Deanna, guys do sit around talking about their vasectomies (the experienced guy advising the going under the knife guy), but not around women, of course. Why? Because women will make some shaming wise crack about it not being as bad as giving birth (which of course she would be 100% correct, but then again, be adding nothing beneficial to the conversation), and then the men are silent. What are you going to say to that? Beaner's oneups(wo)manship, methinks.

    Sports is a safe topic. Two guys talking: If I think the Pacer's stink and you like the Pacers, I am free to rail against the Pacers and you with a significant amount of agression and it will not be taken personal. Try that with the conversation topic being your kids. On the other hand, if we both like the Pacers, we're brothers. Either way, it establishes the confidence of future conversations.

    Furthermore, men connect in different, not inferior or superior, ways than women. I could talk for an hour about getting my hands on Kirby Puckett's foul ball in 1988 to a guy. Wouldn't even mention it to a woman unless I knew in advance she was a fan - even then I am a little suspect. This is not a risk with a man, but with a woman it is a risk. (Can you hear the change jingling?) Again why? Because I would have to explain why that foul ball means something. That's about as fun as explaining the punchline to a joke and then getting the laugh of obligation when it is over. Just shoot me.

    When guys talk sports and women don't connect, that is how guys feel when they are asked their opinion about the trinket or floral arrangement in Hobby Lobby, a store he would likely never have known about had they not fallen in love.

    I have the terrible feeling this whole comment section is going to be used against me.

    Hey, how 'bout them Packers?

    By Blogger Fajita, at 10/18/2005 05:11:00 PM  

  • I take George Will with a grain of salt.

    Which gives his columns the value of a grain of salt, at least.


    I can talk to anyone about anything. What I don't know, I make up. What I know, I'm not certain of. What I'm certain of is that everyone seems to enjoy illuminating my dark little cranial cavity, and I always enjoy seeing things in a different light.

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 10/18/2005 06:19:00 PM  

  • Today at work was depressing. We were supposed to where Astros shirts, but after last night I thought twice at my disappointment. The steadfast fan I went ahead and wore it proud only to find that most people opted out. Pansies!

    This is the Astros year, baby! Gotta Believe!

    By Blogger Kyle, at 10/18/2005 07:26:00 PM  

  • Mike, thanks for your encouraging words regarding our son Tyler. We are scared but know that God is with us.

    If anyone wants to see what is up with Tyler, go to www.carepages.com to register, then enter "tyler99" as the patient you want to view.

    God be with us!
    Mark and Laura Stewart

    By Blogger slipperycatsanddogs, at 10/18/2005 07:28:00 PM  

  • I'm with Deana on this one. We have so many thousands of words we need to get out during an average day, and our husbands, if they are honest, are really glad we have other women to share this with. It's o.k. that we tend to be more relational than you guys.

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/18/2005 08:11:00 PM  

  • Personally I just hate stupid, meaningless conversations about sports, cars, women, etc. Call it "guy talk" or whatever, why would I want to invest my time and energy talking to someone about something that ultimatly means nothing. Sure I enjoy sports just as much as the next guy, I play fantasy football even. But what does talking about it do for anyone? If you're a Cardinals fan, enjoy last night for what it was, a great win. If you're an Astros fan, get over it. There's always a next game or if not next season. I'd much rather talk to someone about someting that I can do something about.

    Maybe this is why I'm just not a "small group" kind of guy. All this small talk just seems so... well.. small.

    By Blogger Joel Maners, at 10/18/2005 09:03:00 PM  

  • Well, this is my first post here, but I will venture out on a limb...

    Sports are a very surface conversation, but I think we are missing a golden opportunity if we leave it at that.

    I.e., those of us who are of Christ can use a worldly interest that is shared by most in our culture to talk to people about Jesus.

    Two really simple examples off the top of my head:

    - Watching the Angels win was almost as thrilling as how I feel when I... (Fill in the blank with a spiritual comment).

    - Did you see the game last night? Wow. Those guys sure played with heart - they played for one another and gave it their all. I wonder how much better the world might be if we all acted that way toward one another? (This easily transitions to a deep conversation from a surface topic and can go the spiritual route in moments).

    Why do I say this?

    I'm a part time sports writer though my education is in Bible from Harding and Harding Grad school. When I preach and visitors find out I am a sports writer? The men (who are generally more difficult to get to attend services according to statistics) come up to me and are generally overwhelmed that a minister would be 'normal' and want to talk about sports. They tell me straight out that they want to come back the next week (and usually do return).

    So, perhaps if we viewed this as a way to reach the lost - a surface, worldly conversation could become something of eternal significance.

    Jesus did it with a conversation over water. Why not do it with a comment about football or baseball?

    By Blogger Charles, at 10/19/2005 05:38:00 PM  

  • I'm reading a book, You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in Conversation, by Deborah Tannen.

    This is taking the discussion beyond how men and women start conversations, but that's definitely a part of it . . .

    Here's a paragraph from page 17

    The desire to affirm that women are equal has made some scholars reluctant to show they are different, because differences can be used to justify unequal treatment and opportunity. Much as I understand and am in sympathy with those who wish there were no differences between women and men - only reparable social injustice - my research, others' research, and my own and others' experience tell me it simply isn't so. There are gender differences in ways of speaking, and we need to identify and understand them. Without such understanding, we are doomed to blame others or ourselves - or the relationship - for the otherwise mystifying and damaging effects of our contrasting conversational styles.

    The book promises to give readers the tools to find a common language in which to strengthen relationships at work at at home (and we might add, at church).

    Good book.


    By Blogger Sara Barton, at 10/22/2005 07:12:00 AM  

  • People who discount George Will so blithely need to take a look under their hoods. Will's take on Miers' qualification for the Court may have been "brutal," but not because it was mean-spirited...that's not his style. It was simply a clear-eyed look at how she stacks up among the possibilities.

    We've just got to jettison this silly notion that straightforward talk (especially that which is grounded in rational thought) is equivalent to rudeness. That is especially true when the subject bears on something significant. There is not a mean-spirited bone in George Will's body, just an intellect fondly to be desired.

    BTW, as of this hour, Miers has taken your advice and has withdrawn her nomination.


    By Blogger qb, at 10/27/2005 11:44:00 AM  

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