“Do you have any Taylor Swift?!”
It’s a daunting question for a bearded 22-year-old, especially when shouted in the dark, point blank, while DJing a Georgetown party. It becomes an almost existential query, really: Do I want to play a Taylor Swift song at this party, or am I willing to hurt this stranger’s feelings? Let’s call it a “crisis of party aesthetics” with more at stake than you may initially realize.
In a certain sense, DJing a house party can be a lot like coaching a Little League team. Ultimately, the point of the activity is for the players, coaches and parents to have a good time, make some new friends, and hopefully learn a lesson or two about life (it’s a slippery conceit, so bear with me). But more often than not, parents will get a little too caught up in the heat of the game and decide that they would like to share a few words with the coach. We all know that the appropriate occasions to share such concerns are not during game-time situations (especially heated ones), but a few polite requests can be acceptable. It’s when people get pushy that problems arise.
It’s no secret that many people live vicariously through music, like some parents live through their children—if you have an interest in music, chances are that you would ascribe a bit of your identity to, say, Taylor Swift. Trust me, the DJ—or in our analogy, the coach—knows this, as he likely has children himself (and if not, probably shouldn’t be coaching Little League). If he’s a good coach, he has watched your kid play carefully, and he knows what she can do. Even if he doesn’t feel your child is particularly talented, he would never insult your affection for her, nor deny her the opportunity to play if she’s fit to do so.
But if it’s the bottom of the seventh, tie-game, with a runner on third, it is definitely not the time to be telling the coach that your child should be pinch-hitting. For starters, you should respect the fact that the coach has dedicated far more time to sculpting the team than you have. Not only has he given his own time to help you out, but chances are that the only reason the team is in a position to win is due to his preparation and decision making.
More importantly, however, have respect for the other parents: this has clearly become an exciting game, and while you may mean well, the collective enjoyment of the participants should not be overshadowed by your desire to see your baby succeed. Even if your daughter is the most popular kid at school right now (ahem), it doesn’t mean she can pull off a squeeze bunt.
Lord knows, coaches are not infallible (there are a lot of bad coaches out there), but take a good look around before you decide to assert your agenda. This isn’t the majors—no one is paying the coach—so let’s just extend as much mutual respect and courtesy as possible and just let the songs play.
Help Daniel rub the pine tar off of his iPad at firstname.lastname@example.org.